“The Turn of the Screw”
Henry James, the famous author of ‘The Turn of the Screw’ was born on April 15, 1843 to his wealthy parents Henry James and Mary Walsh. His father, also called Henry James, was an Irish immigrant and by the time his own children were born he had inherited a lot of money from his father; and at this time Henry James senior and his family were living in New York.
Henry James author of ‘The Turn Of The Screw’ was one of five children and had an older brother William who was born in 1942 he had four younger siblings also; Garth Wilkinson born 1845, Robertson born 1846 and Alice born 1848.
Henry James’ father was devoted to studying theology, philosophy and mysticism (religion) as he was keen on studying and wanted his children to get the best education he could possibly afford. He made his children’s lives very academic and all four children were taught in very unusual ways to a normal family. They never stayed in a single school ,were sometimes taught by private tutors and always had access to books. They were constantly always open to new experiences also. On many occasions, famous artists, writers and thinkers visited the children giving them views and teaching.
At the age of twelve Henry James and his family went on a three year long trip to Geneva, London and Paris, a trip that later in life would influence Henry to live and write his famous book in England, also become a British citizen, rather than a member of his home country America.
His older brother William was very intellectual and studied medicine at Harvard and spent most of his professional life there, first as a professor of psychology and later in a new department of psychology. William became renowned for his public lectures on psychology and became well known in America and Europe. Henry also attended Harvard but went to the law school for a year but withdrew to concentrate on his writing career, he was awarded an honorary degree in 1911.
Throughout Henry’s life he was always questioning things and was also brought into the world with a family that did exactly the same. The family questioned everything and were particularly intrigued in the working of the mind; his brother William, was even named the ‘father of psychology’. Many of Henry’s books dealt with problems of hysteria and stress and how this affected his characters was a frequent theme in his writing.
Henry had always been encouraged to look into and question issues people took for granted in every day life. Maybe this was the actual start of ‘The Turn Of The Screw’.
At the time the book was written it was the late 19th century, Victorian era; and at the time Victorians were fascinated by ghosts - a perfect reason to write a psychological ghost story.
The Victorians were convinced ghosts were dangerous though, evil spirits believed either to get them, to possess the living or to do the devil’s work. People in the 19th century were also intrigued by the after life, including what happened when you...