Edmund wilson turn of the screw essay

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Edmund wilson turn of the screw essay

Before that, there were not many interpretations--mostly just uncritical acceptances of its scariness" Oscar Cargill in these words summed up a good deal of the critical history: Until Edmund Wilson designated The Turn of the Screw a study in psychopathology, only three1 persons had had the temerity to guess that it was something more than a ghost story.

And Sheppard refers to the Freudian camp of critics as "Edmund Wilson and his following" InStephen Spender, in alluding to the non-apparitionist approach, refers only to Wilson, not to Kenton Ivor Winters, indiscusses "Mr.

And, finally, Waldock, inin attacking the non-apparitionist position, devoted his entire attention to Wilson.

The Turn of the Screw and Edmund Wilson | FifteenEightyFour | Cambridge University Press

In presenting his interpretation, Wilson relies on argumentation of three kinds: Wilson differs from his two predecessors by being more consciously indebted to Freud than either of them. His other observations, however, have been made before. He then cites three examples of her proclivity for jumping to conclusions: The boy, she finds, has been sent home from school for reasons into which she does not inquire but which she colors, on no evidence at all so far as one can see, with a significance somehow sinister; she learns that the former governess left, and that she has since died, under circumstances which are not explained but which are made to seem ominous in the same way The governess continues to see the spirits, and the atmosphere becomes more and more hysterical.

She believes that the children get up at night to meet them, though they are able to give plausible explanations of their behavior Wilson also points out, as do both Goddard and Kenton, that the first appearance of Quint interrupts her romantic daydreams about the employer.

Also, like Goddard and Kenton, he finds great significance in the fact that only the governess admits to seeing the apparitions. Observe that there is never any evidence that anybody but the governess sees the ghosts.

A. Major Critical Statements

She believes that the children see them but there is never any proof that they do. The housekeeper insists that she does not see them; it is apparently the governess who frightens her.

Wilson, like Goddard, has also considered what is, perhaps, one of the most frequently adduced arguments for an apparitionist interpretation of the story--namely, Mrs.

Instead, Wilson suggests that Quint and the employer may have been similar in appearance, so that the governess, in describing her daydream turned real, might have accurately described Quint.

Wilson also reminds us that Mrs. Grose, whose approbation the governess values so highly, is "illiterate" and "a simple soul" Finally, Wilson suggests that, at the end of the story, the governess has frightened Miles to death Wilson provides an impressive list of examples of such women: Wentworth of The Europeans, so smug and secure in his neat little house, deciding not to marry the agreeable baroness who has proved such an upsetting element in the community"; or "the weary Lambert Strether, of The Ambassadors, who comes to Paris too late in life" However, Wilson finds even more significant than these relatively straightforward cases those portrayals in which "the effect is ambiguous.

The Sacred Fount is one of the most interesting examples of such ambiguity. James confessed to being this sort of person himself Instead, Wilson proposes that sexual love was the "sacred fount" to which the narrator had no access and the fear of which finally devastates the narrator so that he can "never again.

The lesson, according to Wilson, is that the sacred fount from which his friends had been drawing their new vitality was love rather than youth. He himself has no access to it and consequently does not understand it.The Turn of the Screw occupies a unique place in Henry James' fiction.

It is neither novel nor short story, neither ghost story nor realistic narrative, narrated by a woman neither servant nor family member, featuring (somehow) beings neither living nor dead.

Turn of the Screw This Essay Turn of the Screw and other 64,+ term papers, Until , the book was considered a traditional ghost story.

Edmund Wilson, however, soon challenged that view with his assertions that The Turn of the Screw is a psychological study of the unstable governess whose visions of ghosts are merely delusions 4/4(1).

Critical Evaluation

Henry James's The Turn of the Screw has generated more literary criticism, it appears, than any other piece of short fiction, and its fascination for academic critics began with Edmund Wilson's thesis, developed in his essay "The Ambiguity of Henry James," that it is not really a .

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Edmund Wilson, however, soon challenged that view with his assertions that The Turn of the Screw is a psychological study of the unstable governess whose visions of ghosts are merely delusions.

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Edmund wilson turn of the screw essay
Edmund wilson turn of the screw essay writer