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The Princess Casamassima: Realism and the Fantasy of Surveillance Author(s): Mark Seltzer Source: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol.

35, No. 4 (Mar., 1981), pp. 506-534 Published by: University of California Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3044622 . Accessed: 12/01/2011 08:53
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ThePrincess Casamassima: Realismand the Fantasyof Surveillance


do from VVE notsuffer thespymania here,"GeorgeR. Sims The Myson in observes his monograph the London underworld, teries ModernLondon: in this"freeland" it is "not our custom of to take violentmeasures"againstthe secretagentsof the nether fromviolence thatSims celebrates, however, world.The freedom and the "spy and disavows, carriesa riderthathe at once suggests of mania" reappearsin a somewhatdifferent guise: "The system knownto the police-and I doubt if thereis one in our terrorist midstwho is not-is shadowed." London's "freedom"is guaranof teed by the existence an unlimitedpolicingand by the dissemAn intense ination of elaborate methodsof police surveillance. watchfulness the spy mania thatSims has discounted, generalizes a and for the violence of the law is substituted more subtle and more extensive mode of powerand coercion:a power of observaand tionand surveillance, a seeingthatoperatesas a moreeffective in Nor is it merely, Sims'saccount,theagents meansof overseeing. who are shadof secretsocietiesand criminalsof the underworld London itselfis conowed by this-perfect of system observation. life as and everyday is riddled with sugstituted a secretsociety,
? 1981 by The Regents of the University California 0029-0O564/81/01065+29$00.50 of

observation is as perfectas can be....

every foreign anarchist and


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gestionsof criminality encompassed an incriminating and by surveillance: In the'busesand thetrams thetrains silent sit and the passengers side byside,and no mantroubles But abouthisneighbour. themysteries of modern vehicleand in the London are represented the crowded in packedcompartment. quiet-looking The woman sitting opposite in you theomnibus to knows secret the thatthepolicehavebeenseeking discoverformonths. The man who politely raiseshis hat becausehe touches as he passes you from seatwould, thetruth his if wereknown, be standing thedockoftheOld Baileyto answer capitalcharge. in a

The melodrama thesecret of crime thesecret passes, and "side life by sidewithall thatis ordinary humdrum themonotony and in of everyday existence." sincethere "no mysteries modAnd of are ernLondonmore terrible itsunrecorded than ones," "silence" can onlyimply morenefarious a criminality; not to havebeen and brought bookbythepolicecan onlyinvoke suspicion mysto a of teries moreinsidious ofa criminality threatening its and more in apparent innocence ordinariness.' and If Sims's vision theLondonstreets marked a fantastic of is by paranoia, is also a remarkable it pieceofpolicework, attempt an to "book"London's unrecorded mysteries to supplement and the official policerecord through unrestricted policing. an lay Discovering mysteries everywhere, placesall of LondonundersusSims picionand undersurveillance. is Sims'svisionuntypical Nor of the manner whichLondonis seen and recorded the late in in nineteenth century. extensive The documentation accummulates that about Londonfrom mid-century displays interesting the on an paradox.On theone hand,from George M. Reynolds's W. The
Mysteries London (1845-48) to Sims'sThe Mysteries Modern of of

London(1906), London reproduced an impenetrable was as region ofmystery; theother, this on as proliferating literature itself testifies, London was subjected an unprecedented elaborate to and scrutiny surveillance. senseofthecity an areaofmysand The as tery incites intensive an policing, policework confined the a not to institutions the law (although expansion the London of the of policeand detective forces "a landmark thehistory adwas in of
10, 8.

The Mysteries ModernLondon (London: C. Arthur Pearson, 1906), pp. 81, of


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but an literature ministration")2 enactedalso through "unofficial" of from "upperworld"and the by ofdetection: thereports tourists urban sociology, of particularby theinvestigations an exploratory ly the work of Henry Mayhew,Charles Booth, and B. Seebohm of Rowntree.It is playedout also in the "discovery" the city,and novelists. by its underworld, the realistand naturalist to of contribution theliterature Loneccentric HenryJames's his don explorationis The Princess Casamassima, vision of the "sinisteranarchic underworld"of London. "Truly, of course," in Jamesobserves hisprefaceto thenovel,"thereare London mysof teries(dense categories dark arcana) foreveryspectator."The of PrincessCasamassimais a novel about the mysteries London, societies, and it is also a novel about spectaabout spiesand secret an about seeing and being seen. Jamesoffers obligingly ,torship, proceededquite simpleaccountof the novel's origin: "thisfiction yearof a long residencein London, from duringthe first directly, "The attentive exthe thehabitand theinterest walking streets." of
ploration of London," he suggests,". . . fullyexplains a large part"

open," and this of the novel; one walked "withone's eyesgreatly the solicitation, urgentapprovoked"a mystic intenseobservation It to peal, on the {partof everything, be interpreted."3 is the inbetweenthe and spectatorship, sistent betweensecrecy conitinuity to abysmal"of London and the urgentsolicitation in"mysteries that terpretation, I want to focuson in thisstudyof The Princess I More precisely, wantto exploretwoquestionsthat Casamassima. thiscontinuity poses. First,what does it mean to walk the streets function of London at thistime,and how does thisstreet-walking as a metonymy the waysLondon is seen by Jamesand his confor Second, how do the contentand the techniquesof temporaries? in representation James'snovel reproducethe London spymania and the coercivenetworkof seeing and power that characterize the literature London mysteries? of located have traditionally Critics The PrincessCasamassima of in activities of its,politics James's representation London anarchist and havelargely by the dismissed novel'spoliticaldimension point2 Francis Sheppard, London 1808-1870: The Infernal Wen (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1971), p. 36. 3 The Princess Casamassima (New York: Scribner's,1908), I, xxi, vii, v. Subsequent to references the novel and to the preface are to this edition (Vols. V and VI of the New York Edition) and are given in parenthesesin the text.

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The critical ing to James's lack ofknowledge about theseactivities. impulsehas been to rescuethe significance the textby redirectof ing attention away fromits ostensible politicalsubjectto its techniques,and thesetechniques have been seen to be at odds withthe novel'spoliticalreferences. ManfredMackenziehas recently summarizedthisdepoliticization the text, of claimingthatJames, "because of his prioror primary . Americanassociation .. cannotparticipatein anyconventional modesof Europeansocial power,only in 'seeing,'or 'knowledge,' 'consciousness.' or "14But can "seeing" and "power" be so easily opposed in this literature, and are the politics of The Princess Casamassimaseparable from its techniques,from waysof seeingand waysof knowing? its What I hope to demonstrate that The Princess Casamassimais a distinctly is politicalnovel but thatJames's analysis anarchist of politicsis less significant than the powerplay thatthe narrative techniqueitself enacts.This is not to saythatthepoliticsof thenovel are confined to itstechniques:theinstitutions thelaw and itsauxiliaries, of primarilythe prisonand thepolice, function explicittopicsin the as text. But beyond these explicit and local representations poof licing power,thereis a more discreetkind of policing that the novel engages, police workarticulated a precisely along thenovel's line of sight.

If a relationbetweenseeing and power becomes evidentin the literature the London underworld, assertsitselfnot beof it cause the writer because he acknowledges relationbut, rather, the worksso carefully disavowit. Sims,forinstance, to deniestheexistence of a "spymania" on two counts: first, separating by police an from exerciseof power,and second,by attempting surveillance to drawa line betweenhis own actsof espionageand thoseof the thathe does not require a police escortin his police. Sims insists
4 Communities of Honor and Love in Henry James (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1976), p. 3. Cf. Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination (New York: Viking, 1950), p. 92; Irving Howe, Politics and the Novel (Cleveland and New York: Meridian Books, 1957),p. 146; John Goode, "The Art of Fiction: Walter Besant and Henry James,"in Tradition and Tolerance in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, ed. David Howard, John Lucas, John Goode (London: Routledge, 1966),p. 280; and Lyall H. Powers, Henry James and the Naturalist Movement (East Lansing: Michigan State Univ. Press, 1971), p. 119.


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wanderings through the London streets:"I have never asked for in theirassistance myjourneyings into darkplaces."5Nevertheless, he is uneasilyaware of the incriminating of his prowling and cast publicationof the London netherworld. In his earlierHow the Poor Live and Horrible London (1883), he notes that "it is unpleasantto be mistaken, underground in cellarswhere the vilest outcasts hide from lightof day,fordetectives searchof their the in prey.""Techniques of "disinterested" are information gathering unpleasantly mistaken exercises social control. for of to Sims attempts defendhimselffromanother Additionally, kind of "mistake," misreading a thatwould similarly put his motivesin question.He introduces textwitha seriesof disclaimhis ers: "It is not myobject in thesepages to bringout thesensational features police romance"; my task "has for its object not the of gratifying a morbidcuriosity, the betterunderstanding of but of plain unvarnished tale," his account,again, everywhere takesthe formof what he protests against.If he will reveal onlythe truth, it is because the "truth stranger is thananywritten could ever tale hope to be"; and he proceedsto detailtheunderworld East Lonof don as "the romances the 'Mysterious of East.' "7 His motives and, by implication, motivesof his audience cannot be separated the from morbidcuriosity-mongering. works a Sims's sensationalize the beneaththe humdrum mysteries surfaceand positlurid secrets to be detected;theyinciteand cultivate fascination a withthe underworldthatconverts into a bizarrespeciesof entertainment. it On theone side,putting underworld the into discourse takesthe form of a certaindetective work,on the other,the purveying a sensaof tional entertainment. is betweenthesetwo poles-policing and It entertainment-that Sims wishesto situatehis texts,disclaiming both his (mis)identification a detective as and his exploitation of an intrusive voyeurism. Sims triesto open up a narrowspacecalled "things theyare"-to evade the chargeof violatingwhat as he seesand reports. thisspace is erodedfrom But bothsides: watching cannotbe freedfrom act of violation,from conversion an a of
6 Cited by Jack Lindsay, Introduction to Jack London, The People (1903; rpt. of 1st ed., London: Journeyman Press, 1977). p. 7. 7 The Mysteries of Modern London, pp. 9-14.

things as they are." But if Sims seeks to tell "only the truth ...

6 The Mysteries of Modern London, p. 12.

of the Abyss

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dictment.9 Greenwood's gesture towardjustification a momentary is confession his own partof the "powerofwriting" on thathe exercises; his documentation London mysteries, Low-LifeDeeps and of in in his earlierThe WildsofLondon (1874), is also a kindof victimization.More often, however, victimization less explicit;the the is function supplying entertainment moreobvious than any of an is
9 Low-Life Deeps: An Account of the Strange Fish to be Found There (London: Chatto, 1881), p. 95.
8 Ibid., P. 12.

theobjects hisinvestigation as he expresses the"victims of into, it, ofmycuriosity."8 The doublebindin which and Simsfinds himself, thealibis he offers extricate to in other recur himself, frequently representationsof the London underworld. This literature always, is in effect, playing thetwinsenses "bringing book,"making on to of itdifficultdisentangle to and publication from incrimination, foregrounding policeworkalways the in latent theretailing Lonof don mysteries. James in Greenwood, hisLow-Life Deeps: An Accountof theStrange Fish to be Found There(1881),feels compelled,like Sims,to offer into apologiesforhis intrusions the in underworld: "The extraordinary endurance popular of interest the 'Ortonimposture'. . will perhaps regarded sufficient . as be for the conwhat justification herereproducing wasperhalps most clusive evidence theman'sguiltat thetime, sincebrought of to or light."Greenwood, however, does morethanreproduce evithe denceandrespond, after fact, popular the to demand. owninHis vestigations in factproduced confession, its accomhave the and ,panying popularity. Greenwood brought,Ortonbookin the has to I doublesense that haveindicated: amgladtoacknowledge "I that theconfession 'brother of Charles' obtained me,themore was by so wlhen reflect thevastamount patience I on of and,perseverance it wasfound necessary exercise order bring individual to in to the in question book."The impostor to Ortonis turned over,in a single gesture, thereading,public to thepolice.Andwhat to and follows Greenwood's self-congratulatory acknowledgment his of is agency Orton's signed confession-the signature juridically reproduced thecloseof Greenwood's at chapter-serving as an both entertainmentthepopularinterest as an instrument inin and of


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.. of we speaks "mysteries . for James, recall, overt policeaction. is that and every spectator," itis as a spectacle theunderworldmost formulation-"mysteries James's represented. Further, frequently rather than"spectators every for mystery" every spectator" . . . for The exerts. powerthatthespectator -points to theconstitutive whathe seesand and watcher reproduces, iproduces, not merely entertainment. on as putstheunderworld stage a theatrical in The "staging" theunderworld evident Daniel Joseph of is is Kirwan's Palace and Hovel (1870).Kirwan an unselfconscious and interesting." "to simply see something seeker, desires curiosity for a "scenes," records, exhe Presenting seriesof underworld in is den,and his account typical the ample,a visitto a thieves' inencounter a threatening to wayit manages convert potentially is to toa moment theater. desire be entertainedimmediately of His himself presents Kirwan interrogates gratified: ofthethieves each for performs Kirand entertainer, eachin turn as an out-of-work withexcuses, perforthe wan'samusement. Crude and prefaced have readily the mancesare clearlyextemporized; criminals and assigned, have has adoptedtherolesthatKirwan implicitly to to the he cooperated produce spectacle wants see. The undertheater. appearsas a sortof underground world, quite literally, like as well.Kirwan, Andtheplayis a power sense playin another and mosttourists thenether regions, accompanied protected is of the the has and bya policedetective, thedetective suipplied cue for the that the Before admitting visitors, "master performance results. addofthemansion" asked it or whether is "bizness pleasure," has by "hif business must yourself." pleasure you 'elp "O, hits ingthat of all means," detective replies.'O The displacement poverty the marked, andcrime is into intotheater, business pleasure, clearly of and theperformers willing confine themselves theroles to to are confineof a beggars' operain orderto escapea moredefinitive ment. Sims'sThe MysThe metaphor thetheater pervades of also "behind teries Modern is London.His intent to takethereader of thescenes": of "Whentheinterior a houseis setupon thestage, thefourth is always maysee wall downin order thattheaudience whatis goingon. In reallifethedramas inwithin domestic the
Abelard-Schuman, 1963),p. 27.
10 Palace and Hovel; or, Phases of London Life, ed.

A. Allan (1870;rpt.London:

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that no wi,th 'fourth up.... careis taken terior played are wall the I am shall entertainment. goingto takethe passer-by havea free fourth wall downto-day."" Indeed,thisis not "freeentertainment"but the basisof a literary industry; poverty, conspiracy, at are criminality purchasable spectacles, onceopenedto thepub" me and as lic andreduced distanced theater. 'Do show somecases of unmitigated is said to havebeenmadeby a misery,' a request reof Mrs.Bernard young ladyin search sensation," Bosanquet The recordsin herstudy theslums, of Rich and Poor (1896).'2 be who questmight easily thatof James's Princess, "likedseeing and queertypes exploring social out-of-the-way corners" 234). (II, if Sims'sfantasy disclosure-his But of taking downof the theatrical it also fourth wall-has an immediate reference, refers of to another offantasy. source Sims's sort The well passage might and be thefamiliar in passage Dickens's the Dombey Sonin which "a goodspirit author whowouldtakethehouse-tops off imagines . . . and showa Christian people whatdarkshapesissuefrom -their homes."13 amidst Thereis,however,more a immediate source thanthisfantasy a providential of a supervision,possible source that makes the of unmistakable nexus policing entertainment and I "If havebeen tracing: we could fly of thatwindow out handin hand, hover overthis great city, gently remove roofs, peep the and in at thequeerthings which going thestrange are on, coincidences, the plannings, cross-purposes, wonderful the the chainof events with . . . it wouldmakeall fiction, itsconventionalities foreand in Sherlock Holmes, A. ConanDoyle'stale,"A Case of Identity," the thatSimsbeginsby disavowing, precisely "policeromance" thatmostinsistently and precisely form the manifests twin the and supervision, spectatorship incrimof of operations vision and thattheliterature the underworld of ination, engages. The imand disclose underworld det&ctive the pulseto explore in fiction from becomes of indistinguishable a fantasy surveillance; in and of thefigure thedetective, seeing becomes modeofpower the par excellence.
Rich and Poor (London: Macmillan, 1896), p. 5. 13 Dombey and Son, New Oxford IllustratedDickens (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1950), ch. 47. 14 A. Conan Doyle, The SherlockHolmes Illustrated Omnibus (New York: Schocken, 1976), p. 31.

seen conclusions, most stale and uniprofitable."114 speakeris The

11 The Mysteriesof Modern London, p. 141.



In "The Adventure theCopper Beeches,"Watsonconfesses of to an uneasinessabout sensationalizing netherworld similar the to thatfoundin Simsand Greenwood. Holmes'salibi is exemplary. he "you can hardlybe open to a chargeof sensationalism," maindo tains,"forout of thesecases ... a fairproportion not treatof crime,in its legal sense,at all." Holmes, as everyone knows,reand betweenhis own activities peatedlyacts to marka separation thathis inthoseof thepolice detective, and he claimsrepeatedly terest in thosematters is "outside the pale of the law."15 But his investigations appear less to stand"outside" the law than to operate as a moreefficient of extension thelaw. If Holmes's policingis of it an extralegal, registers expansionand dissemination policing an techniquesand of the apparatusof incrimination: extension whichplaces evenwhatis avowedly legal withinthe boundariesof a generalized powerof surveillance. Crime,in Holmes's sense,has been redefined includean expandingrangeof activities, to moving towardtheplacingof every life aspecit everyday undersuspicion of and under investigation. and supervision enis Such a dreamof absolute surveillance acted by the literaturethat the sensationalaccountsof London mysteries popularizeand supplement:the sociologicalstudiesof the underworld thatbegan accumulating the mid-century with in the work of the local statistical societies,Thomas Beames's The RookeriesofLondon (1850),and HenryMayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1851-61) and culminatingin Charles Booth's vast Life and Labour of the People of London (18891903). The sociologist London as a regionof mystery also represents to be deciphered, a largelyunexploredand unknownterritory; as the intentis to "map" the netherworld,to 'place it within the confines the "knownworld."As Asa Briggssuggests, of "therewas a dominating emphasison 'exploration.'The 'dark city'and the 'dark continent' were alike mysterious, it is remarkable and how of oftenthe exploration the unknowncitywas comparedwiththe explorationof Africaand Asia."L6 Willia-mBooth's In Darkest England (1890), forinstance, opens withan extendedanalogybetweentheexploration thesourcesof the Nile in Africa for and the
16 Victorian Cities (London: Odhams Books, 1963), p. 60.

15 Ibid., pp. 156-57.

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exploration thesources poverty criminality London. in for of and of Jack Similarly, London,in his study the Londonslums,The Peopleof theAbyss Londonand co(1903),equatesinvestigating lonialexploration: "But 0 Cook,O ThomasCook & Son,pathand finders trail-clearers . unhesitatingly instantly, .. and with ease and celerity, couldyousendme to Darkest InnerAfrica or most but Thibet, totheEastEnd ofLondon... youknow the not As thereference Cook indicates, to of exploration the city appearsas a s,pecialized exoticspecies tourism and of evenas it a displays "colonial"attitude toward underworld. secrethe The tray a London'sWorkman's of H. Association, J. Pettifer, articulatedin 1884one form this that colonialtourism taking: was the urbansociologists, in theabsence institutional who of refunding quiredsubstantial wealth undertake studies, personal to their "had beentalking theworking of classes though weresomenewas they found or race, extinct animal."'8 Reducedto thestatus thecolof onizedprimitive "natural or the curiosity," "strange fish" Lonof don's"low-life deeps"are collected exotic"specimens." as Munifor in ment, instance, The Princess Casamassima, compares CaptainSholtoto a "deep-sea fisherman....He throws netsand his haulsin thelittle fishes-the little pretty shining, wriggling fishes. Theyareall for[the she Princess]; swallows down."Hyacinth 'em and Muniment spoken as ifthey are of were"a sample ofyour out shopor a little youhad forsale." "You see youdo regard dog me as a curious animal," Hyacinth complains thePrincess. to Sholto and thePrincess sharea "taste exploration" an appetite for and forqueer types; Sholtohunts slumsas he does the imperial the territories, backtrophies specimens thePrincess bringing and for (I, 258-59, 229,292). There is a morethanmetalphoric resemblance between this colonialattitude toward slumsand thelarger the movements of in colonization the period.WilliamBooth,the founder the of Salvation worked establish to Army, "missions" darkest in England,and thelarger he program proposed calledfortheestablishment a series colonies-"The City of of Colony, FarmColony, the
17 The People of the Abyss (London: Arco, 1962), pp. 17-18. 18 Transactions,National Association for the Promotion of Social Science (NAPSS), 1884, as cited by Philip Abrams, The Origins of British Sociology: 1834-1914 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1968), p. 51.
"17 way.


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been systematically penetrated.19 The statistical and inscription mappingof thecityin thelater and nineteenth century been well documented, is partof what has of mightbe called a professionalization the problemof the ci,ty.20 Socielty 1834 to Charles in From the formation the Statistical of Booth's Life and Labour, London was meticulously explored, The intent, Philip Abramshas as documented, and systematized. of observed, was, in part,to put on record"the mode of existence different families-meals and menus, clothing and furniture, householdroutinesand divisionof tasks,religiouspracticesand and recordingin detail of the recreation":in short,a scrutiny with life There is a preoccupation everyday of the underclasses.21 and statistical enumerative withthe laboriousaccumulation grids, of of detail,withthe deployment a comprehensive of system averconstructs interpretive an matrix ages and norms. The investigator in from averthe covering virtually every area and activity thecity, and age traffic theLondon streets thecubic feetof air circulated on of in the London tenements a detailedclassification criminals, to and otherdeviants fromthespecified norm.2 For the delinquents, as "movingever in a drystasociologist, forJames'sHoffendahl, air" "humanity, his scheme, in was classified tisticaland scientific and subdividedwitha trulyGermanthoroughness" 137, 55). (II,
19 General [William] Booth, in Darkest England and the Way Out (London: International Headquarters of the Salvation Army, 1890), pp. 90-93, 16, 91. 20 See, for instance: Asa Briggs, Victorian Cities, p. 99; G. M. Young, Victorian England: Portrait of an Age, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1953), p. 56; Ruth Glass, "Urban Sociologyin Great Britain: A Trend Report," CurrentSociology, 4, No. 4 (1955), pp. 5-19. 21 The Origins of British Sociology,p. 61. 22 See, for instance: Henry Mayhew,London Labour and the London Poor, 4 vols. (London: Griffin, Bohn, 1861-62); The Origins of British Sociology, pp. 13-30; Journal of the StatisticalSociety,published from 1838, and the Journal of the Royal StatisticalSociety,published from18&7;Annals of the Royal StatisticalSociety,18341934 (London: Royal StatisticalSociety,1934).

And and theOver-Sea Colony"-todeal withthesocialquestion. difappears also in a somewhat thecolonizing theunderworld of that form. Boothcomplains the ferent, morecomprehensive, and in of "colonies heathens savages theheart our capital. . . of and they weredrawing unpreceattract little so attention," in fact but as The secret dentedattention. worldof London has become, and Boothlateradmits, "open secret," evenas the cityconan enigma, enigma the has tinues be spoken as an impenetrable to of

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In the "amateur" of investigations Simsand in the fictive detective workof Holmes, is thepotential it of significance the and most trivial detailthatinstigatesthorough a scrutiny surveillance;in thesociological study, perceive morediscreet we a and morecomprehensive no surveillance, leaving area of thecityunThe professionalization cityproceeds a tactful charted. of the as and tactical an colonization the territory, of enabling elaborate regularizing policing thecity. and of Crucially, whatthesociologicaldiscourse establishes a normative is a of scenario, system norms and deviations effectively that a "imposes highly specific on grid thecity imposed, is "subordinating itsuniversality petty in irall regularities" holding and forth possibility that the of "oneglorious
the commonperception delinquents."23 regulative of A vision of

principleof universaland undeviating regularity" thatthe sociologistsenvisioned.24 the BritishsociologistFredericJ. Mouat As observedin 1885,statistics have passed froma merelydescriptive stageand become prescriptive: "statistics have become parliamentary... and administrative."25 The articulation thesociologicaldiscourse thecityis coof of extensive with, and opens thewayfor, emergence dispersal the and of agenciesof social training and social control:themultiplication of workhouses reformatories, vocationalinstitutions of and of and institutions delinquents,the expansion of the metropolitan for police and the penal apparatus.26 The nominal function these of institutions to train, educate,to correct, reform; clearly, is to to but theireffect to imposea generaldisciplinary supervisory is and authority over areas of urban life thatheretofore have evaded scrutiny and control. There is an insistent continuity betweenthetheo23 Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir (Paris: Gallimard, 1975); my citations are to the English translation by Alan Sheridan, Discipline and Punish (NeNw York: Pantheon, 1977), p. 286. 24 Herbert Spencer, Social Statics (London: J. Chapman, 1851), p. 293; Henry Thomas Buckle, History of Civilization in England, 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1558-61), II, 472. Spencer and Buckle are cited by Alexander Welsh, The City of Dickens (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), pp. 49, 50. 25 "The History of the Statistical Society of London," Jubilee Volume of the Statistical Society (London: Stanford,1885), p. 52. 26 In addition to the sources already cited, see: T. F. Reddaway, "London in the Nineteenth Century-II: The Origins of the Metropolitan Police," The Nineteenth Century and After, 147 (1950), 104-18; Wilbur R. Miller, Cops and Bobbies: Police Authorityin New York and London, 1830-1870 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1977); Leon Radzinowicz, A History of English Criminal Law and its Administrationfrom 1750, III (London: Stevens, 1956).



retical preoccupationwith normativescenariosand the instituof vision.And it is not surprising that tionalization thatnormative the whenthesociologist proposesa model forurbanreform, model the is thatof the mosthighly regulated and supervised institution, prisonand reformatory: a well-regulated "In reformatory be may combinedwith seen the effect moral and religiousdisci(pline, of and inand a properunion of industrial good sanitary conditions, tellectualediucation, upon wayward, ignorantand hardenednatures.Such an institution a typeof thegreatworkbeforeus, for is which might not, with there is nothingdone in a reformatory proper appliances, be effected societyat large."27It is the for conprison, withitsroutines, timetables, withits all-encompassing that trol and suipervision, servesas the ideal model for the city. a The regulativevision of the city institutionalizes regulative supervision.

The mostevidentfeatureof the discourses the citythatI of a have been tracingis an insistentwatchfulness, "spy mania," whichappearsat once as a formof entertainment as a ipolice and action.The twinsitesof thisobsessive surveillance the theater are and the prison.The PrincessCasamassima invokesthisdiscursive scenario.Jamesrecalled his initial sense of the novel as a selfimplicating network watchers:"To find [Hyacinth's]possible of I adventure interesting had onlyto conceivehis watching same the the same innumerableappearances,I had watched public show, and of his watching myself, verymuch as I had watched" (I, vi). This specular relation is reproducedthroughout the novel, exin plicitly the figures the,police and secret of spy agent,whosedisguisedpresenceis alwayssuspected, also in themoreordinary but exchanges sightin thenovel. In The PrincessCasamassima, of seeing and beingseen alwaysimplicitly involvean actual or,potential power play. Hyacinth,typically, promises"himselfto watch his playmate[Millicent]as he had never done before.She let him know,as maywell be supposed,thatshe had her eye on him,and it mustbe confessed thatas regards exercise a right superthe of of visionhe had felthimself a disadvantage at eversincethe nightat
27 G. W. Hastings, Transaci ons, NAPSS, 1857.

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the theatre" 65). Seeingmakesfora "right supervision" of (II, and a powerofcoercion;it is thenexusof seeingand powerthatI now wantto examinein The PrincessCasamassima. Hyacinth dates his "disadvantage"from the "night at the and it does not take much interpretive theatre," pressureto see thata pervasive theatricality runs through novel. The governthe ingmode of interaction between characters a involves seriesofperformances: characters the of engagein the "entertainment watching" (I, 307) as theyare alternately such recruited "forsuipplying entertainment" 210). Munimentcommandeers (I, Hyacinth"for Rosy'sentertainment" 253), as Hyacinthis broughtto Medley (I, by thePrincessbecause his "naivetewould entertain her" (II, 19). The Princess especially is repeatedlyreferredto in theatrical as terms, an "actress" on of performing the "mise-en-scene life" (I, 268), and her imitationof a small bourgeoiseprovidesHyacinth with "the most finished entertainment had yet offered him" she (II, 186). The insistenttheatricality the novel refersless to any of "dramatic analogy"thanto thereciiprocal watchfulness invests that relationin the novel. What the theater scenesin the novel every enactis an indifferent of interchange audience and play as objects of observation. The theateris the privileged point of vantagefor an "observation the London world" (I, 189),and if,as Hyacinth of notes,"one's own situationseem[ed] a play withinthe play" (I, and spectacle.It is in the 208), it is because one is both spectator theater that Hyacinthdiscovers thathe is being watched,thathe has been spotted Sholtoand thePrincess, by herself "overshadowed by the curtainof the box, drawn forward with the intentionof shieldingher fromthe observation the house" (I, 205). Hyaof cinth,in the balconyand not in the box, is not shieldedfromoband his vulnerableposition indicatesthat,despitethe servation, exchangesof performance betweencharacters, there is a certain asymmetry this "entertainment watching."Hyacinth,"lackin of ing all social dimensions was scarcely perceptible a (person," and he is gratified that Sholto should "recogniseand notice him" in the theater"because even so small a factas thiswas an extension ofhissocialexistence" 192). The underclasses (I, "exist"onlywhen theyhave become the object of regardof the upper classes.But thereis a counterside thisvisibility. if to be seen is to existt, to For


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

in it is also to be objectified, and imprisoned thegaze of the fixed, It is to be reducedto the statusof a "favourable other. specimen" (1, 257), to "studiesof the people-the lowerorders"(I, 305). In ,thelargestsense,to be seen is to be encompassed a rightof by To escape supervision, cultivatea styleof secrecy, characters adopt disguisesin order to see withoutbeing seen; and, indeed, seeingwithoutbeing seen becomesthe measureof power in the novel. Hyacinthinsistently promotes secretlife,at timeswith the "I a certainabsurdity: don't understand everything say,but I you understand everything hide," MillicenttellsHyacinth."Then you I shall soon become a mystery you, for I mean fromthistime to in forth cease to seek safety concealment. to You'll knownothing about me then-for it will be all under your nose" (II, 332). If seeing is power, secrecyassumesa paramountvalue, and if beneathevery a to surface secrettruth suspected, allow the "truth" is to appear is consummately disguiseit.28 to and power is most The relationbetweena theatrical secrecy evidentin James'srepresentation the secretsociety.Invoking of Sims's paranoid vision of London conspiracies, secretsociety the appears as an almostprovidentialpower because it is both pervasively presentand invisible: "the forcessecretly arrayedagainst the presentsocial orderwere pervasiveand universal,in the air one breathed, thegroundone trod,in the hand of an acquaintin ance thatone mighttouchor the eye of a stranger thatmightrest a momenton one's own. They were above, below, within,without, in everycontactand combination life; and it was no disof proofof themto sayit was too odd they shouldlurkin a particular imiprobable form. lurkin improbableforms precisely To was their strength" 275). The spymania is universal;the secretsociety, (II, arrayed improbabledisguises, in exercises potentially a unlimited a potentially surveillance, unlimitedsupervision. There is anotherspeciesof theater The PrincessCasamasin sima thatmakesevenmoreexplicitthenexusof seeingand power: the scene of the prison. Hyacinth'smeetingwith his motherin Millbank prisonappears as anotherinstanceof reciprocalwatchfulness:"theyhad too much the air of having been broughtto28 Mackenzie discusses the "secret society" in Communities of Honor and Love in Henry James, pp. 8-18.


The PrincessCasamassima


the gether simplyto look at each other" (I, 51). Mrs. Bowerbank, "scene" and jailer, scriptsthe encounter, staginga confrontation "a managingthe action as an entertainment, expressing desire tto more lively" (I, 52). She worksto directan make the interview and finally movesto "abbreviate occasion "wantingin brilliancy" The prisonis a theaterof power. Further, the scene" (I, 53, 56). thejailer'svisitto Pinnie setsthenovel in motion;thenovelopens under the shadowand gaze of the prison,"in the eye of the law" orb (I, 7) and under"thesteady ofjustice" (I, 8). And whatis most of is her about Mrs.Bowerbank notmerely representation striking and her "official "the cold lightof the penal system" pessimism"' observation Pinof (I, 14), but the way in whichher unrelenting nie and Hyacinthis experiencedas an accusationof guilt and as, of an arrest ithelaw. This "emissary the law" (I, 11) imprisons by of is Pinnie in her gaze,and the dressmaker "unable to rid herself the impression thatit was somehowthe arm of the law thatwas out to touch her" (I, 13). When Hyacinthis produced stretched forthejailer's "inspection," asks: "Do you wantto see me only he to look at me?" (I, 18). But "only" to be seen is alreadyto be inscribedwithina coercivepower relation,to be placed under surveillanceand under arrest.Mrs. Bowerbank's presencetransforms house into a prisonhouse. The jailer appears as the dressmaker's an "overruling providence"(I, 46); her tone "seemed to referitself to an iron discipline" (I, 14), and Pinnie can only respond "guiltily"(I, 8) to her questioning. Pinnie debatestakingthe "innocentchild" to the prison,and "defendedherself earnestly as as had if her inconsistency been of a criminalcast" (I, 11, 30). Indicted by Mrs. Bowerbank'sobservation, she attempts shield to herself, imaginingthe "comfort escape fromobservation"(IL to herself from "case" "as a fugitive ithe 40), and distracts takesto bypaths" (I, 22). Pinnie, however,is not merelyvictimized and incriminated by the turnkey's legal eye. The jailer's visitdisseminates array an of inquisitoriallooks, recriminations, and betrayals, the law as stretches include each character.But the characters to are not merelyvictims;theyin turn become "carriers"of the law. The and moreinsidiouspowerof thelaw thatMrs. Bowmore discreet is erbankrepresents thepower to reproduceand extendtheappaand incrimination ratusof surveillance into situationsthatseem radicallyremotefromcrime,in the legal sense.The distribution


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

those worksnot only to victimize of mechanisms incrimination of to it stretches to touch,but moresignificantly make its victims out also its disseminators. The openingscene of the novel is a concise instanceof this of "spreading"of thelaw, and a summary the plot of the opening of and extensionof the section is a summary the displacement techniquesof penalitythat Mrs. Bowerbankincarnates.Pinnie, of forinstance, not only incriminated thisemissary the law: by is The jailer "would emissary. she herself becomesMrs.Bowerbank's and to like to see" Hyacinith, Pinnie undertakes "look forthelittle boy," realizingat the same time thatto make Hyacinth"visible" is also to bringhim to judgment:as she expresses "if you could it, only wait and see the child I'm sure it would help you to jiudge" (I, 3, 15). To iproduceHyacinthis to bringhim to the law, and to Pinnie both undertakes produce him and proceedsto exercise a disciplinary of As authority herowvn. she obeysMrs.Bowerbank's she displacesthe injunctiononto injunctionto supplyHyacinth, places Millicentunder his playmate, Millicent.She simultaneously "to the discipline herobservation-waiting see if herinjunction of would be obeyed"-and links this injunctionwith an appropriof littlegirl" (I, 5). atelyreducedattribution guilt-"you naughty Millie, in turn,replieswith a "gaze of deliberation"and with a refusalto "betray" Hyacinth;to this extended arm of the law: "Law no, Miss Pynsent, neversee him" (I, 6, 5). When Hyacinth I apears,Pinnie repeatsher accusationof Millicent:"Millicent'Enning'sa verybad littlegirl; she'll come to no good" (I, 16). Hyaand triesto exculpatehis friend froma betrayal in cinthprotests he is implicated; his reply further the displacewhich suggests that obsessively in mentsof guilt and responsibility proliferate "thathe had thisopeningscene: "It came overhim," he observes, of too hastilyshiftedto her shouldersthe responsibility his unseemlyappearance,and he wishedto make up to her forthisbetrayal"(I, 17). and displacements criminality incriminaof and These shifts of extension thepowerofwatching and tion indicatea generalized police work policing in the novel. In The PrincessCasamassima, a of is contagious, contagionthatJamesimagesas the transmission a certain "dinginess"fromone characterto another: Hyacinth too "hated people with too few fair interspaces, many smutches

The PrincessCasamassima


had of Millicent andstreaks. Henning generally twoor three these her from doll,intowhomshe was whichshe borrowed at least, It was always rubbing noseand whosedinginess contagious. her she haveleft mark her underhisown wasquiteinevitable should to for her nosewhenshe claimed reward coming tellhimabout onto has him" (I, 17). If Hyacinth shifted the ladywho wanted Millicent blameforhis "unseemly the appearance," leadingto of of Pinnie'saccusations her,theshifting blameand guiltcorof the of responds theshifting a mark "dinginess," stigma the to of and sceneplaysout,in an anticipatory underThe opening The thattraverses Printhe of stated fashion, diffusion penality It that the cessCasamassima. is theprison provides modelforthe confineThe first of contagion. principle theprisonis isolation, stands thecentral as but prison ment, within novelMillbank the of of instance thisspread criminality; prison the and centering
and she wonand to lookedvery sinister wicked, Miss Pynsent's eyes, in a should dered havesuchan evilair ifit waserected the why prison precisely, against vice interest justiceand order-a buildedprotest, of her struck as about as bad and villainy. This particular penitentiary and wrong those as in a on whowere it; it threw blight thefaceofday, the and bank, with making river seemfouland poisonous theopposite a protrusion long-necked unsightly gasometers deand of chimneys, of weartheaspect a region whose of at the expense jail posits rubbish, had beenpopulated. (I, 42) slums.

in cation of thesereferences, the most banal and "innocent"ex-

by sanitaire the of Vice and villainy notconfined thecordon are the prison; rather, prison the infects surrounding disperses area, The prison spreads whatit osilts "evilair,"and blights city. the and to The tensibly protests against is erected delimit. atmosphere of theprison from local siteof theprison the intoevery extends area of thenovel,and there no escapefrom contagion is the of as "effort mitigation. . only of every . criminality; Pinnienotes, jusinvolved moredeeply" 8). "He had not donehimself her (I, to to beenabsurd";"Hyatice";"sheseemed plead guilty having "like cinth's terrible young capcross-questioning"; someflushed for tiveundercross-examination his life"; "he wentbail formy one these quotations indefinitely, and sincerity": might multiply their localconitexts I abstract them from because is themultipliit


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

a of changesin thenovel,thatestablishes generalcontext policing in The veryordiand incrimination The PrincessCasamassima. of narinessof the allusionsindicatesthe extentto whicha fantasy the supervision and police workinfiltrates novel. asksMr. Vetch, "What do you mean,to watchme?" Hyacinth than the fiddler's paternaloverand the questionalludes to more thatMr. Vetch is a (policespy seeingof Hyacinth.The possibility has earlierbeen considered;the mannerin which the possibility the is dismissed extends rather thanlimilts spymania thatthenovel reproduces:Hyacinth"neversuspectedMr. Vetchof being a governmental agenit, thoughEustachePoupin had told him thatthere werea greatmanywho looked a good deal like that:not of course disguises becamea very ... familiar mentalagentin extraordinary and thoughhe had nevercaughtone of the intypeto Hyacinth, in famousbrotherhood the act therewere plentyof personsto in he on the veryfaceof the matter, had no hesitation atwhom, the character"(I, 108). The secretagent lurks in imtributing and as in Sims's fantasies the anarchicunderof probable forms, world,apparentinnocenceinvitesa suspicionof concealed criminality.This passage denies suspicionand the purpose of incrimthe of inationeven as it attributes character the police spy indisat The attribution attaches, one time or another,to criminately. in virtually everycharacter the novel. To Captain Sholto,forinor stance: "Perhaps you thinkhe's a spy,an agent provocateur somethingof the sort." But Sholto's form is not improbable more" (I, 214). It attaches enough,a spy "would disguisehimself who is suspectedof being "an agent on the also to the Princess, wrongside." The Princess,Madame Grandoni tells the Prince,is "much entangled.She has relationswithpeople who are watchedby the police." "And is she watchedby thepolice?" "I can't tell you; it's verypossible-except thatthe police here isn't like that of other countries"(II, 310). Indeed, the police here are not like theyare Just the elsewhere-theyare everywhere. priorto thisdiscussion, have leftthe house at Madeira Cresand Paul Muniment Princess cent on a conspiratorial missionthat remainsa narrative secret. observer comThe spiesare themselves spiedupon,as thenarrative had been followed, it they ments:"Meanwhile, shouldbe recorded,
with any purpose of incriminating the fiddler. .

. The govern-

The PrincessCasamassima


a at an interval,by a cautious figure, person who, in Madeira when theycame out of the house,was stationedon the Crescent, at otherside of the street, a considerabledistance.On theirapa pearinghe had retreated little,still howeverkeeping them in of the identity the obinitiallywithholds sight" (II, 301). James under surveillance.His serverwho has placed the conspirators takesa curiousform:"The readerscarce of revelation thatiden'tity that nevertheless, his designwas but to satisfy need be informed, to the kind of personhis wifewas walkingwith" (II, himself as the of 301). The disavowal anyneed to inform readerof thefigure's The identity only points to the reader'sinitial misidentification. passage invitesa "confusion"of domesticsuspicionsand police surveillance, and indicatesthe extentto which all actionsin the in novel have come to resemblea police action.All characters the novel are "in dangerof playingthespy"(II, 348). the There is no space freefrom spymania,fromthe infection retreat, provides country-house of penality.Medley,the Princess's Hyacinththat "I've been no escape. The Princessthereinforms enoughto tellyou that.I wantto see more you.I'm frank watching -more--more!" (II, 36). And if Hyacinthceases "to be insignifhis icant fromthe moment"the Princesssees him,he experiences (II, as accessionto significance a subjectionto "cross-examination" both in thePrinsurveillance shadowsHyacinth, 35). A dispersed and of cess's watchfulness in the supervision his conduct "under the eye of the butler" (II, 41). iMedleyis, forHyacinth,the "real real nature,but natiure in itselfparticipates the general country," police action: "Never had the old oaks and beeches. . . witnessed seriesof confidences since the first pair that such an extraordinary dells slopes and ferny soughtisolationwanderedover the grassy eye beneaththem" (II, 46). The witnessing of natureand the allusion to the providential of supervision the Garden indicatethe "naturalization" mechanisms surveillance of and poof thorough licing in The PrincessCasamassima:natureitselfappears to supplementthe policing function.Mrs. Bowerbankearlycomments on Florentine's that "if she lived a death by asserting imipending month[she]would violate (as Mrs. Bowerbankmightexpressherlaw established of nature"(I, 14). James'sparenthetical self)every mode of calls attentionto the jailer's characteristic interpolation her expression, linkingof "nature" and the "law," her naturaliz-


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

ing of the penal apparatus. In The Princess Casamassima,the is power of vision and supervision not confinedto the nominal by agenciesof thepolice: it is enforced the "eyesof theworld"(II, to betweenthe "eye of day 401). It is finally imipossible distinguish and the observation theipolice"(II, 410). of

techniquesof policing The spymania and the incriminating but contagiousin The Princess and surveillance not confined are and disciplineit imCasamassima; prisonand the supervision the plies reappearat every turnin thenovel. I have indicatedthe proposal of the prisonas a model forthe cityat largein the workof theLondon sociologists, I now wantto takeup thesignificance and Michel of this equation froma somewhatdifferent perspective. of practices, Foucault,in his recenthistory therise of disciplinary Surveilleret punir, describesthe extensionof social mechanisms of surveillanceand discipline into all areas of modern society. of More specifically, tracesthe reorganization Westernsociety he aroundthemodel of the "punitive city":"near at hand,sometimes at the verycenterof citiesof -the nineteenth century [stands]the of at monotonousfigure, once materialand symbolic, the ipower figure thissocial reof to punish"-the prison.The architectural a is Bentham's Panopticon, circularbuilding, organization Jeremy a tower.The divided into cells, surrounding centralobservation a network seeingand of Panopticonoperatesthrough controlling being seen: the inmate"is seen but he does not see"; "in the cen'traltower, one sees everything withoutever being seen." The inmate is trappedin a "seeingmachine,"trappedin a stateof conin scious and constant as visibility; a result,he "inscribes himself the powerrelation"in which he is caughtup, and "becomesthe principleof his own subjection."29 London's Millbankprison was derivedfromBentham'spanin opticon scheme.Convictswere accommodated six pentagonal locus of a provrangesthatsurrounded centralwatchtower-the a as idential supervision that doubled also, and appropriately, the in prisonchapel.JamesvisitedMillbankon a Decembermorning 1884 to collectnotes for The PrincessCasamassima.His descrip29 Discipline and Punish, pp. 116, 200, 202, 207, 202-3.

The PrincessCasamassima


tion of theprisonin the novel emphasizes powerof watching the of that the Panopticon employs.He recordsthe "circularshafts cells" ranged about a centralobservatory, the and, further, "opat of portunity lookingat captives through gratedpeeipholes," the women with "fixedeyes" thatPinnie is "afraidto glance at" (I, 47); the inmatesare dressedin "perfect of frights hoods" (I, 46). where"all conThis last detail recallsthepracticeat Pentonville, tactwithotherhuman beings,excepttheprison staff, forbidwas in narrow eye-slits order to preventidentification their felby

den, and when convicts left their cells .

. they wvore masks with

The Panopticon effects exemplary an conjunctionof seeing and power,theconjunctionthatextendsfrom prisonthroughthe "The ipanoptic out The PrincessCasamassima. schema,"Foucault Foucault discussesthe dispersal of this schema in nineteenthits into thefactory, workhouse, century society, penetration the the the reformatory, school,into,in fact, thoseinstitutions all which, as we have seen, the urban colonizersdeployedand cultivated. And the further, panoptic techniqueinfiltrates "tiny,everyday" social practices, traverses embracesthose"minutesocial disciplines" and remotefromthe scene of the prison.Confiscating apparently and absorbing"thingsof everymoment,"an everyday panopticism is " 31 finally universalized: "Police powermustbear 'overeverything.' One finalinstitutionalization the panoptic technology of remains to be considered.It has recently been suggested that Foucault'shistory a mightunderwrite radical revisionof our senseof the "politics"of the novel, and the problemthat I want now to take up, and whichhas been implicitall along,concernsthe relation betweenthesedisciplinary techniquesand the techniquesof thenovel,and moreparticularly therealistand naturalist of novel, which appears on the scene at the same time as the disciplinary takespower.32 Foucault suggests thatthe novel "formspart society
31Discipline and Punish, pp. 207, 213, et passim. See also Jacques Donzelot, La Police des familles (Paris: Les Jlditions Minuilt,1977). de 32 I am indebted especially to Leo Bersani, "The Subject of Power," Diacritics, 7, No. 3 (1977), 2-21; D. A. Miller, "From roman-policierto roman-police: Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone.,"Novel, 13 (1980), 153-70; and Miller's "The Novel and the Police," Glyph 8: Johns Hopkins Textual Studies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1981). See also: Paul Foss, "The Lotteryof Life," in Michel Foucault: Power.
310 Sheppard, London 1808-1870: The Infernal Wen, pp. 375-77.

details, ". . . was destined to spread throughout the social body."


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

of by of thatgreatsystem constraint whichtheWest compelledthe In everyday bring itselfinto discourse."-" what way may the to a in, realistnovel be seen !toparticipate and even to promote, systemof constraint? It has been observedthat "excellenceof vision is the distinmarkof realism."34 "To see" is the dominant verbin the guishing de realisttext-"la gastronomie l'oeil" as Balzac expressedit3concernedwith seeing,with a and realistfiction preeminently is in detail.The proximity thisrealist"seeing"to theoverof seeing problemseeingand police workof detectionbecomesexplicitly of of atic,and is mostevident, course,in thesubgenre realismthat of In we have alreadyglancedat, the ficition detection.36 detective fiction,the relation between seeing and policing is taken for visionis therangeof granted;literally, rangeof thedetective's the his power.That,poweroperatesby placingthe entireworldof the and invokesthe posand under surveillance, textunder scrutiny in may be sibilityof an absolute supervision, which everything deand "policed," and in which the most trifling comprehended Realisticfiction, a more tail becomespotentially in incriminating. morecomprehensive discreet deploys manner, and, forthatreason, the of and dea similartacticof detection; techniques surveillance of novel. Emerson, the intectiontraverse techniques the realistic in notes "how realisticor materialistic treatment stancingSwift, his persons of his subject" the novelistis: "he describes fictitious merelyliteralizes as if forthe police."37Indeed, detectivefiction withseeingand its therealistrepresentational scrutiny, fascination of of the wi,th tellingsignificance detail,and laysbare theipolicing
ed. Truth, Strategy, Meaghan Morris and Paul Patton (Sydney: Feral, 1979); Jeffrey Mehlman, Revolution and Repetition: Marx/Hugo/Balzac (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1977), pp. 123-24; and Lennard J. Davis, "Wicked Actions and Feigned Words: Criminals, Criminality,and the Early English Novel," Yale French Studies, 59 (1980), 106-18. 33 "The Life of Infamous Men," in Michel Foucault: Power, Truth, Strategy, 91. p. 84 Mehlman, Revolution and Repetition, p. 124. 85 Balzac, dted by Donald Fanger, Dostoevskyand Romantic Realism (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1965), p. 30. 36 On the detectivestory,see D. A. Miller, "From roman-policierto roman-police: Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone," and Pierre Macherey,A Theory of Literary ProWall (London: Routledge, 1978), pp. 18-36. duction, trans. Geoffrey 37English Traits, in The Selected Writingsof Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: Modern Library, 1950), p. 647.

The PrincessCasamassima


writes "We novelists," Zola,"are therealthat therealist is project. passions."38 theexamining magistrates menand their of novelist reThe juridical expression theaimsoftherealist of GeorgeEliot'sstatement cursfrequently. There is, forinstance, "as to obligation write if in AdamBede (ch. 17) of thenovelist's I werein thewitness-box narrating experience oath,"and on my to to Guyde Maupassant's avowal, hisipreface Pierreet Jean, in tell "la verite, The et rienque la verite, toutela v6rit6."39 conalso on vergence theliterary thelegalrecurs in attacks the of and of novel;thus S. W. allegedillicitness "illegality" therealistic and in and naturalist Lilly,writing 1885,asserts in that, the realist there filth is (l'ordure). Those novel,"everywhere thebottom at which from time time to bring proceedings thecourts justice in of an it to the surface-like abscess-aremerely experimental an the chapter, before public."40 novelunfolding itself, chapter after as The realist The realist novelis seento proceed a legalaction. of life. novelist theexamining is magistrate everyday toThere is a complementary fiction: in movement realistic ward documentationphenomena precise in detail, toward and a of a supervision those As expresses it, of phenomena. Zola concisely method . . is to study . phenomena "thegoal of theexperimental in order control share, with other colonizto them."4' realists The "things as ersof theurbanscene, passionto see and document a of of they are,"and thispassion takestheform a fantasy surveilof life lance,a placing thetiniest of details everyday underscruin of a tiny. it notpossible discover thisfantasy surveillance Is to text the increaspointofintersection between realist and a society
38 1tmile Zola, "The Experimental Novel," in Documents of Modern Literary Realism, ed. George J. Becker (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1963), p. 168. 39 Adam Bede, ed. Stephen Gill (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980), ch. 17; Pierre et jean (New York: Scribner's,1936), p. xxxvi. 40 "The New Naturalism," in Documents of Modern Literary Realism, p. 277. Perhaps the most extraordinaryindictment of the realisitand naturalist novelists occurs in Max Nordau's influential Degeneration (New York: D. Appleton, 1895). Nordau classifiesthese novelists,preeminently Zola, in accordance with the classification of criminal types developed by the criminologistCesare Lombroso, accuses them of "crime coummitted with pen and crayon" (p. 558), and calls for the institution of a "critical police" (p. 535) to return them to the law; at the same time, however, Nordau notes the resemblance between the realist text and the "police reports" (p. 489). 41 "The Experimental Novel," p. 176.


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

and of inglydominatedby institutions discipline,regularization, of supervision-bythe dispersednetworks the "police"? There are a numberof waysin which the relationbetween an the novel and the law can be explored.There is, forinstance, of betweenthe realisttypologies character resemblance intriguing crimiby and the typologies prroposed the late nineteenth-century thatConrad exchiefly Cesare Lombroso,a resemblance nologists, ploitsin The SecretAgent,anothernovel of the London spymacontrol one mightnote the encompassing nia.42More generally, doctrine realistand naturalist overcharacter and actionwhich-the suggested, of "determinism" secures.As Leo Bersanihas recently the realist'smethodworksto reduce "the eventsof fictionto a parade of sameness.For example,it would not be whollyabsurd as ,that Balzac novel becomesunnecessary soon as its a to suggest expositionis over. The entirework is alreadycontainedin the merely repeatin diaof presentation the work,and the characters about themin logue and actionwhathas alreadybeen established portraits Their lives mirrorthe expository narrative summnaries. The linear order of made of themat the beginning the novel."43 and 'progression the realisticnovel enables the novel to "progof Indeed, it is as a ress" only in a directionalwaysipreestablished. to attempt break his thatHyacinthexperiences every "repetition" withhis originsand "antecedents," breakwithhis "naturalist" to to and heredity.His recruitment determinants environment of as as itself "the idea of a repetition," assassinate duke presents 'the in the "horrorof the public reappearance, his person,of the imbruedhandsof hismother"(II, 419). This "youngman in a book" realin an (I, xiv) expresses interest the "advancedand consistent a ists" (I, 315), but this "consistency," keyword in the novel,berepetition. comesanothername foran entrapment a (narrative) in control and "ty,pes," in itspredictive of In itsfixing consistent masthe over narrative possibility, realistictextgains a thorough of and theiractions-a twinmastery inteloveritscharacters tery has The PrincessCasamassima been reand supervision. ligibility excursioninto the realisticor naturaliprimary gardedas James's
42 On Conrad's use of Lombroso see John E. Saveson, "Conrad, Blachwood's, and Lombroso," Conradiana, 6 (1974), 57-62. 43 Baudelaire and Freud (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1977), p. 121.

The PrincessCasamassima


movingtheroofs"and viewingthe "qiueerthings whichare going on." In The PrincessCasamassima, such omniscient vision is attributedto the masterrevolu-tionaries: "They know everythingeverything. They're like the great God of the believers:they're searchers hearts;and not onlyof hearts, of but of all a man's life -his days,his nights, spoken,his unspokenwords.Oh theygo his dee,pand they straight!" 383). Hoffendahl's go (II, God-likepower is also thepowerof theomniscient narrator, powerof unlimited a

of and istic mode.4The novel, itschoice subjects in itsdescripin and realists; tivemethod, displays affinity theconsistent an with of which, certainly, everywhere it displays fantasy surveillance that I havebeensuggesting, at theheart therealist But lies of project. the in we notice that surveillance this becomes many ways subject and notmerely modeof thenovel, and sucha foregrounding the thatI within limits of thenovel's tactics supervision of indicates, will attempt describe, and of to James's exposure demystification the therealist maniaforsurveillance, his attempt disown and to policing that implies. it by Perhaps mostpowerful the tactic supervision of achieved the traditional of realist novelinheres itsdominant in technique the narration-the style "omniscient of narration" whichgrants narrative voicean unlimited authority thenovel's"world," over a worldthoroughly known and thoroughly mastered thepanby narraoptic"eye"of thenarration. technique omniscient The of tion,as is frequently noted, givesto thenarrator providential a vision thecharacters action. is thefantasy suchan abof and It of lifting solutepanopticism we havepreviously that traced Sims's in of thefourth of wall,and in Dickens's and Doyle'sfantasy "re-

But if Jamesinscribes his textan imageof comprehensive in and providential supervision, narrative the methodof the novel have departsfromthispanoptictechnique.As a numberof critics shown,and as Jamesasserts his prefaceto the novel, The Prinin
44 Lyall H. Powers, in HenzryJames and the Naturalist Movement, claimns that James had, by the mid-1880s,"made his peace" with the naturalists: "He had by this ,time come dose to sharing fully the aesthetic persuasions of the RealistNaturalist group" (p. 41). It is, rather,James's attempts to disaffiliate himself from the realist and naturalist "group," and from the politics that their method implies, that I am emphasizing here.


Nineteenth-Century Fiction

cessCasamassima marks technical caa turning pointin James's reer:a turning awayfrom style omniscient the of narration towardsthe technique the "central of consciousness" recording or ''central That technique intelligence." the displaces authority of thenarrative voiceand disavows direct any interpretive authority overtheaction. can be said thatin The Princess It Casamassima, omniscient authority heldup to scrutiny, indicted, being is and in transferred or displaced to, upon,themasters therevol,ution. of Can -this be supervisory power, however, so easily disowned? In hisipreface, James imagines observation theunderworld his of as a form espionage: vision Londonis that "thehabitof his of of ual observer . . thepedestrian . prowler" xxi-xxii). at the (I, But sametime, disclaims violation manipulation thefighe any or of ureshe "merely" observes: recallpulling wires, "I at no knocking no closeddoors, applying no 'authentic' for information" xxii). (I, It is Hoffendahl, thenovel, in whois thearch"wire-puller": "he hadin hishandinnumerable other threads" 55). Andit is this (II, puppeteering James that disavows. having But deniedsucha maniipulative power, James proceeds reclaim to what hasdismissed: he "To hauntthegreat and bythishabitto penetrate imagicity it, natively, as many in placesas,possible-that to be informed, was that topullwires, wastoopendoors"(I, xxii). was that James distinguishes "imaginative" his penetration thecity of from manipulative the vision supervision theconspiratorial and of plotters. implication clear:James The is wouldclaimthat imhis aginative is wire&pullingnot an act of supervision, his deep ,that searching hearts, spoken unspoken of of and words, hisseeing that and "haunting" thecity be distinguished thepolicing of can from and spymaniathatthishaunting thegreat of cityso closely resembles. is just sucha separation It between "mere"seeing, consciousness, knowledge an exercise power and and of which have I beenquestioning. James offers alibiofa "powerless" the imaginationto extricate himself from charge participating the the of in spymaniawhich noveleverywhere the engages. James But would haveno need to insist the distinction it werenot already on if jeopardized, alreadythreatened the compelling by resemblance between haunting perpetual his and prowling thesurveillance and and policing from which woulddisengage he himself.

The Princess Casamassima


It becomesclear that the attempton the part of the writers can be exercise we have examinedto disownthe policingthatthey and comprehensive policyof seen as a "cover"fora morediscreet displacing and supervision, it is as such a ruse thatI thinkJames's superworks.The recessionof narrative of power and authority "shiftappearsas one further visionin The PrincessCasamassima and, culpability, ing of the shame,"a displacingof responsibility, of The shifting criminality. whichthenovel provides, in the terms to makes reference an uneasinessconcerning authority narrative of the novel is systematically story the shameof power.If James's betweenseeing and power, thiscontinuity a criminalcontinuity of disowned.If Jamesworkstowarda demystifying the is finally ipoliceworkis finally remystified, realist'policingof the real, this as recuperated the "innocent"workof the imagination. of Fromone point of view,it is the incompatibility thenovel and the subjectof powerwhichis the "message"of The Princess of Casamassima:it is the incompatibility aestheticand political claims thatleads to Hyacinth'ssuicide. Criticsof the novel have with approval or disapprobation, restatedthismessage,insisting, lpreocto its thatthe novel sacrifices politicalreferences technical underobservesthat-the Jameshimself cupations.In his preface, (I, world of London "lay heavyon one's consciousness" vi). The and us phraseinvites to read "conscience"for"consciousness," the in registers miniaturewhat has been seen as James's substitution in substitution The Princess Casamassimaof itheordeal of conof sciousness (thatis, the work'stechnique)formatters social conscience(its politicalsubject).Thus it has been argued that"Hyawhichconis cinthRobinson'ssensitive consciousness the mirror trolsthe shape" of the novel,thatJames's"ignorancein the face him" of the reality, greatgreyBabylon,whichwas nearest-to the it compelledhim to distortthatrealityby circumscribing with a and that, finally,this "controllingand bizarre consciousness," means that The Princess Casamassima's technicalpreoccupation "themeis not politicalat all."45As Leo Bersanipointsout, "it has
45 The quotations are from,respectively: J. M. Leucke, "The Princess Casamassima: Hyacinth's Fallible Consciousness," in Henry James: Modern Judgments,ed. Tony Tanner (London: Macmillan, 1969), p. 184; John Goode, "The Art of Fiction: Walter Besant and Henry James," pp. 280, 279; J. A. Ward, The Search for Form (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1967), p. 115.


Fiction Nineteenth-Century

critics that been decidedby 'politically conscious'Anglo-American Jamesis a nonpoliticalnovelist."46 Criticsof The PrincessCasathe and of James's workgenerally, have restated disconmassima, a tinuity whichJameshimself proposed,enforcing breakbetween techniqueand subject,betweenwaysof seeingand the subjectof power. It is maintainedthat"in his quest fora quintessential social realitythatwas also an alien reality, Jamesmust necessarily have foundhimself recoilingupon the merelypsychological and even epistemological, the merelyimaginative-upon fantasy."47 But if James'sonly "political novel" advertises radical conflict a betweenpoliticsand the novel,thereis, working againstthissimple polarization, criminalcontinuity a betweenthe techniquesof the novel and thosesocial technologies powerwhichinherein of these techniques.It is in the rigorouscontinuity establishedin James's novelsbetween seeing,knowing, exercising and powerthat the politicsof the Jamesiantextappears,and it is thiscontinuity thatI have been tracing The PrincessCasamassima. in University California, of Berkeley
46 "The Subject of Power," p. 10. 47 Mackenzie, Communitiesof Honor and Love in Henry James,p. 22.