To see the story in its specific critical frame is, in fact, very similar to seeing itin the frame of the Jamesian style and canon generally: one alters the view of itwith the perspective. One is less preoccupied by the authenticity of the governess'visions than conscious of their origins in and mode of expression through her ownmind. The imagery of the story, with the anticipatory witness of the narrators ofthe frame, will lead us to this qualitative interest in the governess' mind, and willfurther offer an at least partial answer to the other-still great-questions of thestory, the source of the evil in "The Turn of the Screw" and the meaning ofMiles's death.James was aware, before he invented the governess, that those minds capable2 Edel, pp. 211-12.3 Edel, p. 223.o08This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 14 Aug 2019 22:05:55 UTCAll use subject to
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SUSAN CROWL JAMES'S ALLEGORICAL TURNof greatest original force and vision are often those capable of greatdelusion and a concomitant energy to publish and persuade that delusis thin and flexible at best between a mission for misguidance and a vgovernance. The governess tries to convince herself that she has found"To watch, teach, 'form' little Flora would too evidently be the makinand useful life" (p. 25).4 Yet there is a reaching unrest in her that excegrasp of presiding mistress of Bly. The governess, like other heroinehas a wealth of donnees, in her case gifts of mind and person rather thOne of the origins of the governess' sense of the evil at Bly, I believwith her sense of a power and potential in herself that will never reaor appropriate realization, or any expression other than frustration.Such an account of the sources of the governess' visions does not nmean that her visions are themselves fallacious. The net comment of mous evocation of the "spider-web ... of consciousness [which] . . . takthe faintest hints of life, converts the very pulses of the air into revthat this kind of impressionism is a mode of cognition as well as ofCertainly such impressionism characterizes the quality of the goverrience and her ways of knowing; her force of conviction on such granother question altogether. "The faintest hints" set off in her the acintoxicated response not merely of her mind but of all her senses. Furesponse is generally an interpretive one, carrying the experience beyothe Jamesian world a response is not finished until perception advaunderstanding. James's equation of nuance and revelation means that perience is not assimilated; it is largely generated in a finely suscepSuch a view of experience is an exhausting one, perhaps still more so ttrasting practices of a Fitzgerald or a Hemingway, for whom there wrespite and retreat. For a Jamesian heroine, perhaps for James, momentarily on the sheer verge of void or is precipitated into ecstweight of a nuance. The question is, with James or the governess, ntheir private worlds afford them adequate access to the public, but wh
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