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Daisy Miller
The Turn of the Screw
Henry James




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


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


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


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.

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Director of Curriculum and Instruction
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[Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw Contents]



Cargill, Oscar. The Novels of Henry James. New York: Macmillan, 1961. Critical material on each novel.

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 Press, 1963.

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 Henry James."


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.


    Watch and Ward 1871
    Roderick Hudson 1876
    Daisy Miller 1878
    Confidence 1879
    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
    Terminations 1895
    Embarrassments 1896
    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
    Hawthorne 1879
    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)

ECC [Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw Contents] [] [Spirit and Material Possession in the Supernatural Fiction of Henry James]

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