Species Performance, or, Henry James's Beastly Sense

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This essay examines Henry James‘s “The Beast in the Jungle” through the dual lenses of feminist theory and animality studies. It argues that May Bartram slowly erodes John Marcher‘s related senses of patriarchal pride and species exceptionalism, exposing him absolutely to an environment over which he no longer exercises dominion. Conceptualizing gender and species performativity as related enterprises rooted in particular ways of seeing, the story comes to envision configurations of animality and sexuality more fluid and less violent than those espoused by the ideological distortions of Darwin that gained momentum in the early twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-483
JournalMFS: Modern Fiction Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Henry James
  • queer theory
  • performativity
  • ecocriticism


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