The Turn of the Screw
HENRY JAMES ON THE ART OF FICTION
Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge
spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every
airborne particle in its tissue. It is the very atmosphere of the mind; and when the mind is imaginative-
much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius- it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it
converts the very pulses of the air into revelations... The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace
the implication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so
completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it- this cluster of gifts may
almost be said to constitute experience.... If experience consists of impressions, it may be said that
impressions are experience just as (have we not seen it?) they are the very air we breathe. Therefore, if I
should certainly say to a novice, "Write from experience and experience only," I should feel
that this was rather a tantalising monition if I were not careful immediately to add, "Try to be one
of the people on whom nothing is lost!"
Henry James, "The Art of Fiction," 1888
ON HENRY JAMES AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL NOVEL
James's formal concerns, in sum, are closely related to his preoccupation as a psychological novelist.
He was interested in psychological manifestations of all kinds, and the interest in the varieties of
consciousness is reflected in his technical experiments with limited narrative points of view. At first this
method of presenting and organizing his subjects served him primarily as a compositional device to
achieve focus and thereby clarity and intensity. In time consciousness became his very subject.
Christopher Wegelin, Tales of Henry James, 1984
ON HENRY JAMES'S GHOSTS
Henry James's ghosts have nothing in common with the violent old ghosts- the blood-stained sea
captains, the white horses, the headless ladies of dark lanes and windy commons. They have their origin
within us. They are present whenever the significant overflows our powers of expressing it; whenever the
ordinary appears ringed by the strange. The baffling things that are left over, the frightening ones that
persist- these are the emotions that he takes, embodies, makes consoling and companionable.
Virginia Woolf, "Henry James's Ghost Stories," 1921
ON THE TURN OF THE SCREW AND STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
We have here thus in reality two stories, and a method that foreshadows the problems of the stream-
of-consciousness writer. One is the area of fact, the other the area of fancy. There is the witness, in this
case the governess and her seemingly circumstantial story, and there is the mind itself, the contents of
which are given to the reader. The reader must establish for himself the credibility of the witness; he
must decide between what the governess supposed and what she claims she saw....
The reader's mind is forced to hold to two levels of awareness: the story as told, and the story to be
deduced. This is the calculated risk Henry James took in writing for audiences not prepared to read him so
actively. The writer of stream of consciousness takes the same risk.
Leon Edel, The Psychological Novel: 1900-1950, 1955
[Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw Contents]
We wish to thank the following educators who helped us focus our Book Notes series to meet student
needs and critiqued our manuscripts to provide quality materials.
Sandra Dunn, English Teacher
Hempstead High School, Hempstead, New York
Lawrence J. Epstein, Associate Professor of English
Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York
Leonard Gardner, Lecturer, English Department
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Beverly A. Haley, Member, Advisory Committee
National Council of Teachers of English Student Guide Series
Fort Morgan, Colorado
Elaine C. Johnson, English Teacher
Tamalpais Union High School District
Mill Valley, California
Marvin J. LaHood, Professor of English
State University of New York College at Buffalo
Robert Lecker, Associate Professor of English
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
David E. Manly, Professor of Educational Studies
State University of New York College at Geneseo
Bruce Miller, Associate Professor of Education
State University of New York at Buffalo
Frank O'Hare, Professor of English and Director of Writing
Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Faith Z. Schullstrom, Member of Executive Committee
National Council of Teachers of English
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Guilderland Central School District, New York
Mattie C. Williams, Director, Bureau of Language Arts
Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois
[Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw Contents]
Cargill, Oscar. The Novels of Henry James. New York: Macmillan, 1961. Critical material on each
Dupee, F. W. Henry James. New York: William Morrow, 1974. Important one-volume treatment of
the life and work of James.
_____, ed. The Question of Henry James: A Collection of Critical Essays. New York: Henry Holt,
1945. Commentary by T. S. Eliot, Edmund Wilson, Ford Madox Ford, Joseph Conrad, Van Wyck Brooks,
Rebecca West, and others.
Edel, Leon. Henry James. 5 volumes. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1953-1972. Noted
biography of Henry James.
_____. Henry James: A Life. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. Shortened one-volume version of
author's five-volume work, with some revisions.
_____, ed. Henry James: A Collection of Critical Essays. Twentieth Century Views Series.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963. Essays by Ezra Pound, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf,
Leon Edel, and others.
_____, ed. The Letters of Henry James. 4 volumes. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, 1974-1984.
Putt, S. Gorley. A Reader's Guide to Henry James. London: Thames and Hudson, 1966. Commentary
on all the novels and tales of Henry James.
Sharp, Sister M. Corona. The Confidante in Henry James. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame
Wegelin, Christopher, ed. Tales of Henry James (A Norton Critical Edition). New York: W. W.
Norton, 1984. Collection of James's tales (including Daisy Miller); selections on the writer's craft by
Henry James; and essays.
Willen, Gerald, ed. A Casebook on Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw." New York:
1959. Essays presenting various interpretations; includes Edmund Wilson's "The Ambiguity of
AUTHOR'S SELECTED MAJOR WORKS
Henry James was a prolific author, whose writing encompasses a variety of literary forms. The
definitive bibliography of his works is A Bibliography of Henry James (1982), by Leon Edel and Dan H.
Laurence. Many of James's works are available in paperback editions.
The following list contains major books of Henry James with the original year of publication.
NOVELS AND OTHER LONG FICTION TALES
Watch and Ward 1871
Roderick Hudson 1876
Daisy Miller 1878
Washington Square 1880
The American 1877
The Europeans 1878
The Spoils of Poynton 1896
What Maisie Knew 1897
The Awkward Age 1899
The Portrait of a Lady 1881
The Bostonians 1886
The Princess Casamassima 1886
The Reverberator 1888
The Tragic Muse 1889
The Other House 1896
The Sacred Fount 1901
The Wings of the Dove 1902
The Ambassadors 1903
The Golden Bowl 1904
The Ivory Tower (Unfinished) 1917
The Sense of the Past (Unfinished)
A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales 1875
An International Episode 1879
The Madonna of the Future and Other Tales 1879
The Diary of a Man of Fifty 1880
The Siege of London 1883
Tales of Three Cities 1884
1917 The Author of Beltraffio 1885
The Aspern Papers 1888
A London Life 1889
The Lesson of the Master 1892
The Real Thing and Other Tales 1893
The Private Life 1893
The Two Magics: The Turn of the Screw, and Covering End 1898
The Soft Side 1900
The Better Sort 1903
Julia Bride 1909
The Finer Grain 1910
A Small Boy and Others 1913
Notes of a Son and Brother 1914
The Middle Years 1917
French Poets and Novelists 1878
The Art of Fiction 1884
Partial Portraits 1888
Views and Reviews 1908
Notes on Novelists 1914
Picture and Text 1893
English Hours 1905
The American Scene 1907
Italian Hours 1909
A STEP BEYOND (Daisy Miller)
A STEP BEYOND (The Turn of the Screw)
[Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw Contents] [PinkMonkey.com] [Spirit and Material Possession in the Supernatural Fiction of Henry James]
© Copyright 1986 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
Further distribution without the written consent of PinkMonkey.com, Inc. is prohibited.