The Aspern Papers
And the Turn of the ScrewBook - 1986
Oscar Wilde called James's chilling The Turn of the Screw 'a most wonderful, lurid poisonous tale'. It tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a sense of intense evil within the house, she soon becomes obsessed with the belief that malevolent forces are stalking the children in her care. Obsession of a more worldly variety lies at the heart of The Aspern Papers , the tale of a literary historian determined to get his hands on some letters written by a great poet - and prepared to use trickery and deception to achieve his aims. Both show James's mastery of the short story and his genius for creating a haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension. Anthony Curtis's wide-ranging introduction traces the development of the two stories from initial inspiration to finished work and examines their critical reception.