Parijs vijftig jaar later
: The Ambassadors gezien door de ogen van Cynthia Ozick

Translated title of the thesis: Paris Fifty Years After: the Ambassadors Seen Through the Eyes of Cynthia Ozick
  • P.H. van der Krieke

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The subject of my thesis is the novel Foreign Bodies by the well known Jewish-American author Cynthia Ozick. This novel is an adaptation of the famous novel The Ambassadors, by Henry James. The question I tried to answer is what the intertextual relations are between the two novels. Three important themes of The Ambassadors have also a major role in Foreign Bodies: the
    ‘International Theme’, time or, more precisely: lost time, and aestheticism, what Ozick calls Idolatry. Another important element is the so called double-consiousness which shows itself on a textual level as the oxymoron. Foreign Bodies is as hypertext rather easily recognized as a rewriting of its hypotext, The Ambassadors. The analogy is a result of the relations between the main characters, who, while very different qua sex and personality, have the same function as in the hypotext. But apart from the set-up of the characters almost everything else is radically different in Foreign Bodies: the personalities, the short chapters and sentences, the crude and obscene language that is used and , of course, the very recent memory of the Shoah.
    The structure of this thesis is as follows: in the Introduction I’m paying attention to intertextuality and a variety of adaptative theories . In the first chapter I describe the literary vision that Cynthia Ozick has developed, a rather original and not exactly ‘trendy’ vision, and the academic reception of Foreign Bodies. In chapter two I’m describing the main themes and characteristics of The Ambassadors. I’ve tried to reconstruct a storyline that can offer a part of an explanation of Strether’s ‘missed time’! In chapter three I tried to make a start with an interpretation of Foreign Bodies: to my surprise it appeared that title and proper names reveal a complex world that leads to the German origins of the international theme . While Henry James had, to put it mildly, an ironic and sometimes dark vision of his native country, Ozick is despite her ironic remarks of infantile americans, rather hopeful in relation to her country. My conclusion is that Foreign Bodies , while recognazible, is radically different from its hypotext while, at the same time being an hommage to the Master.
    Date of Award27 Jan 2024
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorJan Oosterholt (Supervisor) & Marieke Winkler (Supervisor)

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

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