SCREWING WITH CHILDREN IN HENRY JAMES

SCREWING WITH CHILDREN IN HENRY JAMES paddle around with in your own, personal “flat-bottomed boat,” the governess or the ghosts?1 I think I would opt for Peter Quint, myself. I always did. Quint is one of the rare instances of working-class testosterone in James’s fiction, but mysterious and brooding though he may be, he has never succeeded as a romantic hero. In the criticism on James’s 1898 novella, he remains guilty without proof, a fiend without a definite crime, and I suspect that his dalliance with the little boy, Miles, has something to do with it. Miles is a literary milestone, as is his sister, Flora, in that they mark a most distinguished beginning to the tradition of the sexual child as gothic conundrum in the English novel. The Turn of the Screw is indeed “the first occurrence of its charming kind that I know to have been concerned with a child” (1), given that earlier gothic novels occupied themselves primarily with the psychosexual mysteries of repressed women and demonic men rather than of wayward children. In the cinema we have to wait until the late 1950s and early 1960s for the species to make a significant appearance: The Innocents (1961), Jack Clayton’s film http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Duke University Press

SCREWING WITH CHILDREN IN HENRY JAMES

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1064-2684
eISSN
1527-9375
D.O.I.
10.1215/10642684-9-3-367
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

paddle around with in your own, personal “flat-bottomed boat,” the governess or the ghosts?1 I think I would opt for Peter Quint, myself. I always did. Quint is one of the rare instances of working-class testosterone in James’s fiction, but mysterious and brooding though he may be, he has never succeeded as a romantic hero. In the criticism on James’s 1898 novella, he remains guilty without proof, a fiend without a definite crime, and I suspect that his dalliance with the little boy, Miles, has something to do with it. Miles is a literary milestone, as is his sister, Flora, in that they mark a most distinguished beginning to the tradition of the sexual child as gothic conundrum in the English novel. The Turn of the Screw is indeed “the first occurrence of its charming kind that I know to have been concerned with a child” (1), given that earlier gothic novels occupied themselves primarily with the psychosexual mysteries of repressed women and demonic men rather than of wayward children. In the cinema we have to wait until the late 1950s and early 1960s for the species to make a significant appearance: The Innocents (1961), Jack Clayton’s film

Journal

GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2003

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