Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

English, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Wendy Martin

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Eric Bulson

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Mark Eaton

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Martha C. Rapp


The Ambassadors, Henry James, Homosexuality, Subcultures, Paris

Subject Categories

Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority


This dissertation argues that Henry James deliberately and ingeniously wrote The Ambassadors (1903) as a double-plotted novel. The traditional plot which follows Lambert Strether to Paris provides cover for the detailed story of Strether’s experiences in Paris as a homosexual man seeking his identity. James conveys the Other Plot by means of code, the primary signifiers of which are references to the well-established homosexual subcultures of London and Paris. In-depth historical research on diverse aspects of homosexual life in the nineteenth century are presented in order to demonstrate how James addresses an audience sympathetic to same-sex love without raising condemnation from moral and literary critics.