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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $14.00
  • July 1999
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-95904-8
  • 288 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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The Turn of the Screw

Norton Critical Editions

Second Edition


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Henry James (Author), Deborah Esch (Editor, University of Toronto), Jonathan Warren (Editor, York University)


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.


    Preface to the Second Edition

    The Text of The Turn of the Screw

    1. The Turn of the Screw
    2. Textual History
    3. Textual Notes


    James, the Ghost Story, and the Supernatural

    1. To Thomas Sergeant Perry, [“So Much for Cora”]
    2. A Review, [“Mysteries * * * at Our Own Doors”]
    3. A Notebook Entry, [“Subject for a Ghost-Story”]
    4. A Notebook Entry, [“Another Theme of the Same Kind”]
    5. To Violet Paget [Vernon Lee], [“Not the Class of Fiction I Myself Most Cherish”]
    6. To Francis Boott, [“I See Ghosts Everywhere”]
    7. To Bernard Shaw, [“The Imagination * * * Leads a Life of Its Own”]
    8. From a Preface, [“The Question * * * of the ‘Supernatural’”]
    9. Dictated Notes for The Ivory Tower, [“The Pressure and the Screw”]
    10. Dictated Notes for The Ivory Tower, [“My Poor Blest Old Genius”]
    11. To Theodate Pope Riddle, [“Beneath Comment or Criticism”]
    12. Dictated Notes for The Sense of the Past, [“The Ideal Thing for Dramatic Interest”]

    James on The Turn of the Screw

    1. A Notebook Entry, [“Idea of a Servant Suspected”]
    2. A Notebook Entry, [“Grose”]
    3. A Notebook Entry, [“Note Here the Ghost-Story”]
    4. To Alice [Mrs. William] James, [“Finished My Little Book”]
    5. To A. C. Benson, [“Of the Ghostly and Ghastly”]
    6. To Paul Bourget, [“A Little Volume Just Published”]
    7. To Dr. Waldstein, [“That Wanton Little Tale”]
    8. To H. G. Wells, [“The Thing Is Essentially a Pot-Boiler”]
    9. To F. W. H. Meyers, [“The T. of the S. Is a Very Mechanical Matter”]
    10. To W. D. Howells, [“Another Duplex Book Like the ‘Two Magics’”]
    11. A Notebook Entry, [“Something as Simple as The Turn of the Screw”]
    12. To W. D. Howells, [“A Little ‘Tale of Terror’”]
    13. To W. D. Howells, [“A Story of the ‘8 to 10 Thousand Words’”]
    14. Preface to the New York Edition, [“An Exercise of the Imagination”]

    Illustrations by Charles Demuth

    1. “At a House in Harley Street”
    2. “The Governess First Sees the Ghost of Peter Quint”
    3. “Flora and the Governess”
    4. “The Governess, Mrs. Grose and the Children”

    Other Possible Sources for The Turn of the Screw

    1. Robert Lee Wolff, The Genesis of “The Turn of the Screw”
    2. Francis X. Roellinger, Psychical Research and “The Turn of the Screw”
    3. Oscar Cargill, The Turn of the Screw and Alice James
    4. T. J. Lustig, “The Turn of the Screw” and “Gabrielle de Bergerac”


    Early Reactions: 1898 – 1921

    1. The New York Times, Magic of Evil and Love
    2. New York Tribune, A Masterpiece by Mr. Henry James
    3. The Outlook, [“The Story * * * Is Distinctly Repulsive”]
    4. Henry Harland, Academy Portraits: Mr. Henry James
    5. The Bookman, Mr. James’s New Book
    6. Droch, Henry James as a Ghost Raiser
    7. John D. Barry, On Books at Christmas
    8. The American Monthly Review of Reviews, Two Volumes from Henry James
    9. The Independent, [“The Most Hopelessly Evil Story”]
    10. The Chautauquan, [“Psychic Phenomena”]
    11. Oliver Elton, [“Facts, or Delusions”]
    12. William Lyon Phelps, [The “Iron Scot” Stenographer]
    13. A. R. Orage, Henry James, and the Ghostly
    14. Virginia Woolf, [“Henry James’s Ghosts”]

    Major Criticism: 1921 – 70

    1. Harold C. Goddard, A Pre-Freudian Reading of The Turn of the Screw
    2. Edna Kenton, Henry James to the Ruminant Reader: The Turn of the Screw
    3. Edmund Wilson, The Ambiguity of Henry James
    4. Katherine Anne Porter, Allen Tate, Mark Van Doren, A Radio Symposium
    5. Robert B. Heilman, The Freudian Reading of The Turn of the Screw
    6. R. P. Blackmur, [“Her Ghosts, Her Other Selves, Those Parts of Ourselves”]
    7. Maurice Blanchot, The Turn of the Screw
    8. Leon Edel, Introduction to Tales of the Supernatural

    Recent Criticism: 1970 – Present

    1. Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic
    2. Shoshana Felman, Henry James: Madness and the Risks of Practice (Turning the Screw of Interpretation)
    3. Henry Sussman, James: Twists of the Governess
    4. Bruce Robbins, Recognition: Servant in the Ending
    5. Ned Lukacher, “Hanging Fire”: The Primal Scene of The Turn of the Screw
    6. Paul B. Armstrong, History and Epistemology: The Example of The Turn of the Screw
    7. T. J. Lustig, Henry James and the Ghostly

    Henry James: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography