Boring Postcards. Spaces and Places in the Photographic Frontispieces to Henry James’s New York Edition

  • Donata Meneghelli
Keywords: spaces, places, photography, scenic still, visual culture, tourism


The essay offers a new reading of the photographic frontispieces produced by Alvin Langdon Coburn for the New York Editon of Henry James’s novels and tales published between 1907 and 1909. This reading is grounded in three main moves. First, taking as a starting point the overall project of the New York Edition and the multiple textual layers with which the images interact in the material support (not only the literary texts, but also the prefaces that James specifically wrote for the edition, and even the captions that accompany each of the images). Second, considering the frontispieces as a series of images related to one another and to several texts at the same time, in an intersectional pattern that goes beyond the mere one-to-one association. Third, situating the frontispieces in the context of James’s spatial imagination, the uses of photography in late nineteenth-century visual culture, and literary tourism. Thanks to these critical moves, it is possible to reflect upon the images’ force and the multifaceted intermedial relations they trigger, within what one may call a performative framework.


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How to Cite
Meneghelli, D. (2023). Boring Postcards. Spaces and Places in the Photographic Frontispieces to Henry James’s New York Edition. Between, 13(25), 69-103.