Study Guide

The Great Good Place

by Henry James

The Great Good Place Analysis

Style and Technique (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Through the device of the dream story, James is able to render the theme of consciousness more directly than he normally does. He dispenses with the exigencies of plot, characterization, and the defining details necessary for verisimilitude. Within the dream, George Dane is nothing but consciousness. He is what he is aware of being. He encounters nothing but himself in the process of becoming aware of himself. Even those shadowy figures, the Brothers, are merely projections of his desire to communicate with those aspects of himself that validate his work as an author and his vision of life. There is no boundary between inner life and outer world. Within some vaguely defined limits, Dane’s consciousness is free to reconstruct itself and the world at the same time, and James is free to dramatize this process. Of “The Great Good Place,” James himself wrote that “any gloss or comment would be a tactless challenge.” The unity of story and theme validates his assertion.

The Great Good Place Bibliography (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Anesko, Michael. “Friction with the Market”: Henry James and the Profession of Authorship. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Henry James. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.

Dewey, Joseph, and Brooke Horvath, eds.“The Finer Thread, the Tighter Weave”: Essays on the Short Fiction of Henry James. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 2001.

Edel, Leon. Henry James: A Life. Rev. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Graham, Kenneth. Henry James, a Literary Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

Habegger, Alfred. Henry James and the “Woman Business.” New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Harden, Edgard F. A Henry James Chronology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Hocks, Richard A. Henry James: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1990.

Kaplan, Fred. Henry James: The Imagination of Genius. New York: William Morrow, 1992.

Lustig, T. J. Henry James and the Ghostly. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Martin, W. R., and Warren U. Ober. Henry James’s Apprenticeship: The Tales, 1864-1882. Toronto: P. D. Meany, 1994.

Nettels, Elsa. Language and Gender in American Fiction: Howells, James, Wharton, and Cather. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.

Novick, Sheldon M. Henry James: The Young Master. New York: Random House, 1996.

Pollak, Vivian R., ed. New Essays on “Daisy Miller” and “The Turn of the Screw.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Rawlings, Peter. Henry James and the Abuse of the Past. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Tambling, Jeremy. Henry James. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.