Henry James: “The Real Thing”

(1329 words)
  • Mhairi Catriona Pooler (University of Aberdeen)

Henry James’s story “The Real Thing” first appeared on April 16 1892 in Black and White magazine and was later included in volume XVIII of the New York Edition (1907-09) with “Daisy Miller” and eight other short stories. One of James’s “art parables”, as Richard A. Hocks calls them (Hocks, 37), “The Real Thing” is a compact, complex tale concerning the disparity between reality and illusion in art. Suggested to James by an incident related by his friend the Punch cartoonist George Du Maurier, the “strange and striking couple” (The Art of the Novel, 283) in “The Real Thing” raise issues about the relationship between art and life that recur frequently in James’s criticism a…

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Pooler, Mhairi Catriona. "“The Real Thing”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 October 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=25288, accessed 25 September 2016.]