Introductory Post

The global and domestic spheres collide in both Howards End by E.M. Forster and The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, Edwardian novels that contextualize domestic fiction within a larger, imperial narrative. Just as objects are imported from around the world into domestic households, the global politics surrounding the objectification and domination of marginalized peoples are imported along with these displaced foreign items. Despite the apparent similarities between the gendered characters in the novels, the globally conscious male characters refuse to accept their female counterparts as equals. Instead, they insist on possessing and defining their wives, as if they too are subjects of imperial conquest. Thus, global consciousness spills into the domestic space, where object-ownership is directly related to self-ownership.

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