Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

VII.4 Hudson

Rowland suggests that, like Roderick, Christina is capable of passing her restlessness on to those around her (He tells her: “Your lovers have a rather restless time of it”). He hopes that by separating her from Roderick, he might alleviate a bit of the sculptor's hysteria. He suggest that Christina's feminine influence is detrimental to Roderick’s productivity: “Hudson, as I understand him, does not need, as an artist, the stimulus of strong emotion, of passion. He is better without it; he is emotional and passionate enough when he is left to himself. The sooner passion is at rest therefore the sooner he will settle down to work.” In a later edition of the novel, James edits Christina’s retort to emphasize the way in which Rowland treats Roderick as machine of his own design: “If I leave him alone he will go on like a new clock, eh?” (1883 version).* The danger in Rowland’s patronage, according to Christina, is that Roderick has come to embody a machine over which the artist himself holds no agency. Rowland sees no irony in her statement and, instead, likens Roderick to “a watch that’s running down.” Through Rowland’s words, James implies that the indentured nature of the patronage arrangement impedes Roderick’s bodily restoration.


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