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The peculiarly jamesian achievement of the turn of

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them from those of other disciplines. The peculiarly Jamesian achievement of "The Turn of the Screw" is the at- tention it forces on style and form. The defining characteristic of the style is an imagery deflecting between expanse and impasse. The form of the story, an in- troductory frame and tale within a tale, is similarly consistent and repetitive in the nested inversions of reality and story-book romance which are the governess' attempts at a perspective on her shifting experiences at Bly. The selection and instruction of audience in the frame is likewise exercised in the body of the story. The seriousness of James's concern with the authority of style in "The Turn of the Screw" almost threatens the weight and scale of the tale itself, just as have the volume and density of critical response to it over the years. The writing of "The Turn of the Screw" reflects James's awareness of a turning point in both his life and his art-after his failure in the theater, before his remove to Lamb House-and external context helps to resolve the oddly major-minor stature of the tale in James's canon, as well as specific discordances within it, such as the death of Miles. The governess' tendency to equate nuance and revelation is in fact a critical instance of James's own "cobweb of consciousness," and his repudiation of the governess expresses in a more conscious way what her indict- ment of self through Miles expressed implicitly: a mood of uncontainable self- examination and self-doubt. The governess proposes an equivalence between the world of potentiality for good and evil she finds at Bly, and herself, that is like the identification the heroines of James's late novels make between their limited private experience, assumptions, or hopes, and the dangerously broad and foreign worlds in which they move. Perhaps farthest in of the nested forms and coiled ironies of "The Turn of the Screw" is James's own confessed creed of the sym- bolic reach of style beyond the grip of passion or of doubt, and his pity of the cost of that conversion. 122 This content downloaded from 138.47.151.85 on Wed, 14 Aug 2019 22:05:55 UTC All use subject to
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