Henry James I. The Importance of Henry James: “The main expression of nineteenth century consciousness is in prose…Henry James was the first person to add anything to the art of the nineteenth century novel not already known to the French.” - Ezra Pound, “How to Read,” 1929
Henry JamesII. The Gothic Novel and English Tradition“The Gothic novel or Gothic romance is a type of fiction inaugurated by Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story (1764) -the subtitle refers to its setting in the middle ages - and which flourished in the early 19th century. Following Walpole’s example, authors of such stories set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels, and made bountiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences…
Henry JamesII. The Gothic Novel and English Tradition“…their principal aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery and a variety of horrors…the best of them opened up to fiction the realm of the irrational and perverse impulses and the nightmarish terrors that lie beneath the orderly surface of the civilized mind.”- M. H. Abrams
Henry JamesII. The Gothic Novel and English Tradition Classic Gothic Novels: Vathek William Beckford (1786) The Mysteries of Udolpho Ann Radcliffe (1794) The Monk Matthew Gregory Lewis (1797)
Henry JamesII. The Gothic Novel and English TraditionLater Novels with Gothic Elements:These novels do not necessarily have a medieval setting, but do have an atmosphere of gloom and terror, represent events which are uncanny, macabre or melodramatically violent, and/or deal with characters with aberrant psychological states.
Henry JamesII. The Gothic Novel and English TraditionExamples:Caleb Williams, William Godwin (1794)Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1817)Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)Bleak House, Charles Dickens (1852)Great Expectations, C. Dickens (1860)Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)
Henry James • III. Sigmund Freud and the Unconscious1880s: Studies hysteria in women1890s: Develops “the talking cure:” psychoanalysis
Henry James • III. Sigmund Freud and the Unconscious° 1890s: Traces many problems in his patientsto sexual abuse in childhood ° 1895: Publishes Studies in Hysteriain which he discusses his findings about childhood sexuality and connects hysteria to problems of sexual abuse in childhood ° Freud’s theories are not well received by psychiatrists.
Henry James • III. Sigmund Freud and the Unconscious ° 1897: Freud abandons his early theories and starts to develop the idea of the Oedipus Complex. It is well-received by other psychiatrists. He continues to develop this theory for the rest of his life.
Henry James • IV. William James Brother of Henry James, prominent psychologist, theologian and philosopher. Known for his theories of pragmatism, education, religion and mysticism. Professor at Harvard and important figure of his time.
V. A Definition of Horror: "Horror defines and redefines, clarifies and obscures the relationship between the human and the monstrous, the normal and the aberrant, the sane and the mad, the natural and the supernatural, the conscious and the unconscious, the daydream and the nightmare, the civilized and the primitive." - Gregory A. Waller, 1987 Henry James
Henry James VI. Reviews of The Turn of the Screw: “Mr. James’s story is perhaps…allegorical…but the allegory is not so clear. We have called it ‘horribly successful,’ and the phrase seems to still stand, on second thought, to express the awful, almost overpowering sense of evil that human nature is subject to derive from it by the sensitive reader.” - New York Times Review, 1898
Henry James VI. Reviews of The Turn of the Screw: “This story concerns itself with the problem of evil, from which men of Puritan ancestry seem never able to entirely detach themselves.” - The Outlook, 1898
Henry James VI. Reviews of The Turn of the Screw: “The Turn of the Screw is the most hopelessly evil story that we have ever read in any literature, ancient or modern.” - The Independent, 1899
Henry James VI. Reviews of The Turn of the Screw: “The Turn of the Screw is at once the most horrific and tender tale of the nineteenth century. ‘There is no excellent beauty,’ said Lord Bacon, ‘that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.’” - Oscar Cargill, 1963