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Henry James (1843 - 1916)

Related: American literature - writer


Henry James, OM (April 15, 1843 February 28, 1916), son of Henry James Sr. and brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author and literary critic of the late 19th and early 20th century. He spent much of his life in Europe and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for novels, novellas and short stories based upon themes of consciousness.

James contributed greatly to the technique and criticism of fiction, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest freedom possible in presenting their view of the world. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue, and possibly unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to narrative fiction. An extraordinarily productive writer, he also produced significant books of travel writing and autobiography. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_James [Jan 2006]

The Turn of the Screw (1898) - Henry James

Adam Salton sauntered into the Empire Club, Sydney, and found awaiting him a letter from his grand-uncle. He had first heard from the old gentleman less than a year before, when Richard Salton had claimed kinship, stating that he had been unable to write earlier, as he had found it very difficult to trace his grand-nephew's address. Adam was delighted and replied cordially; he had often heard his father speak of the older branch of the family with whom his people had long lost touch. Some interesting correspondence had ensued. Adam eagerly opened the letter which had only just arrived, and conveyed a cordial invitation to stop with his grand-uncle at Lesser Hill, for as long a time as he could spare. --The Turn of the Screw (1898) - Henry James

The Turn of the Screw (1898) - Henry James [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Turn of the Screw is a novella written by Henry James. Originally published in 1898, it is a ghost story that has lent itself well to operatic and film adaptation.

Due to its possibly ambiguous content and powerful narrative technique, The Turn of the Screw became a favorite text of New Criticism. The reader is challenged to determine if the protagonist, a nameless governess, is reliably reporting events or instead is some kind of neurotic with an overheated imagination. To further muddy the waters, her written account of the experience -- a frame tale -- is being read many years later at a Christmas house party by someone who claims to have known her.

The account lends itself to many different interpretations, including those by Freudian psychologists and those trying to determine who or what exactly is the nature of evil within the story. In her 1976 dissertation The Concept of Ambiguity: The Example of James, Shlomith Rimmon analyzes aspects of verbal and narrative ambiguity in this and other texts by Henry James.

Derivative work
An opera, The Turn of the Screw, was written by Benjamin Britten in 1954. The Turn of the Screw has been filmed at least five times. The best regarded version, entitled The Innocents, was directed in 1961 by Jack Clayton and starred Deborah Kerr. The story has also been converted into a ballet by William Tuckett. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turn_of_the_Screw [Jan 2006]

See also: 1898 - ghost - American literature

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