(Apologies although I blathered quite a bit anyway…)
This week, chapters 2-3!
More Amazing Crochet from Dawn, some victorian pruditry, more wonderful emails from y’all, how to be an ostritch rather than a governess, and a little background on our author.
His dad was a Swedenborgian (say THAT three times fast) and I thought–when working through the “ghost” question–this quotation was ellucidating:
Although James had rejected in the beginning of his career “spirit-rappings and ghost-raising”, in the 1880s he become interested in the unconscious and the supernatural. In 1908 he wrote that “Peter Quint and Miss Jessel are not ‘ghosts’ at all, as we now know the ghost, but goblins, elves, imps, demons as loosely constructed as those of the old trials for whichcraft; if not, more pleasingly, fairies of the legendary order, wooing their victims forth to see them dance under the moon.” Virginia Woolf thought that Henry James’s ghost have nothing in common with the violent old ghosts – “the blood-stained captains, the white horses, the headless ladies of dark lanes and windy commons.” Edmund Wilson was convinced that the story was “primarily intended as a characterization of the governess”.
Then there’s the “corruption” question. Ah…the tangled web…
I just this second got this email from MaryBeth–right after uploading the ‘Cast. Darnit. But it’s worth noting here:
Loved your comments on the Fog Index. I’m a technical editor, and I have the following quote by Melville on my wall at work–“A man of true science uses but few hard words, and only those when none other will serve his purpose; whereas the smatterer in science thinks that by mouthing hard words he proves that he understands hard things.”
Is that not brilliant?! I love Melville…but I’m not gonna do Moby Dick…not for a couple of years, anyway. See how I love you?
Many thanks to Nikolle Doolin for her SEXY reading of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw.
Book talk begins at 12:32. Listen to 31 audio.