2019-04Thematic Section
“The Figure in the Carpet” as Theoretical Tool

Abstract:

This study is based on the assumption that literary interpretations are explicitly or implicitly influenced by some philosophical system as a general system of thought. In this way, different literary interpretations often hide more general philosophical ideas. Nevertheless, this study tries to show that the interpretation of the given work of art need not be conceived only as application of the general philosophical approach; interpretation of the work of art, as argued in this essay, can in significant ways also show the philosophical approach itself. The subject of this study is the case of Henry James’s short story “The Figure in the Carpet.” This essay includes an analysis of how Tzvetan Todorov, Joseph Hillis Miller, Wolfgang Iser and of Pascale Casanova interpret the story and how they use its dominant image of a “figure in the carpet” for illustration of their own theoretical and philosophical approach.

Keywords:

Henry James, structuralism, deconstruction, reader-response theory, Pascale Casanova

How to cite:

Kaplický, Martin. “’The Figure in the Carpet’ as Theoretical Tool.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 4(10) (2019): 21-31. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0039.

Author:

Martin Kaplický
Department of Aesthetics
Charles University in Prague
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7220-2512
Martin.Kaplicky@ff.cuni.cz

References:

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James, Henry. “The Figure in the Carpet.” In Complete Stories 1892–1898, 572-608. New York: Literary Classics of United States, 1996.

Miller, Joseph Hillis. “The Figure in the Carpet.” Poetics Today 1, no. 3 (1980): 107–118. https://doi.org/10.2307/1772414.

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Todorov, Tzvetan. “The Structural Analysis of Literature: the Tales of Henry James.” In Structuralism: an introduction, edited by David Robey. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.

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