Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just My Editorial Snobbery?

Okay, so I'm re-reading The Turn of the Screw (see previous post) for the first time in several years. The introduction was as I remembered it; Chapter One was a revelation.

Dare I say it? It is, after all, Henry James.

Yes, I shall say it.

The man needed a good editor.


The governess narrating the main body of the story has so rambling a way of communicating that the reader can rapidly lose the thread of her thoughts. It's as if James made sure she was as incomprehensible as possible so he could have a good joke on the audience.

There has been much debate and wasted wind about whether or not "Miss" was a reliable narrator, or whether the unnamed narrator in the introduction was entirely truthful, but since they are both products of the mind of Mr. James, one wonders about him.

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