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Transferential Poetics, from Poe to Warhol$
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Adam Frank

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262465

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262465.001.0001

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Maisie’s Spasms: Transferential Poetics in Henry James and Wilfred Bion

Maisie’s Spasms: Transferential Poetics in Henry James and Wilfred Bion

(p.72) 3 / Maisie’s Spasms: Transferential Poetics in Henry James and Wilfred Bion
Transferential Poetics, from Poe to Warhol

Adam Frank

Fordham University Press

This chapter offers a reading of Henry James’s What Maisie Knew as a study in group psychology, making use of Wilfred Bion’s Experiences im Groups and its Kleinian approach to the continuities and discontinuities between individual and group experience. James casts the frustrating necessity of group experience in entirely theatrical terms, figuring Maisie as a spectator to, and eventually an active participant in, the affective circuits of those around her. The transferential poetics of both James and Bion make available the affective, transindividual nature of knowing as a contingent activity that takes place between persons and other objects. The chapter concludes by unfolding some of the surprising televisual aspects of James’s late style.

Keywords:   groups, theatricality, television, Henry James, Wilfred Bion

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