This text is the first-and only-modern text to follow the New York Edition, the one which had James's final authority.Contexts includes twenty-six selections, from James's letters, notebooks, and other writings during the period 1863-1908, centering on the ghost story, the supernatural and, in particular, "my little book," The Turn of the Screw. Also reproduced are four paintings by Charles Demuth. The essays in Criticism span one hundred years, providing a rich array of perspectives on James and his story. Representing contemporary reactions are pieces by Henry Harland, John D. Barry, Oliver Elton, William Lyon Phelps, and Virginia Woolf. The section also includes landmark criticism by Harold Goddard, Edna Kenton, Edmund Wilson, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert B. Heilman, R. P. Blackmur, Maurice Blanchot, and Leon Edel. Recent, fresh approaches to James's work are presented by Tzvetan Todorov, Shoshana Felman, Henry Sussman, Bruce Robbins, Ned Lukacher, Paul B. Armstrong, and T. J. Lustig. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included.
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The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers.From the Publisher:
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