Presented by Joshua Peterson
University of Texas at Arlington
Henry James at 16.
(Matheson 711, “Biography”)
James and the homoerotic
cannot be separated.
The Turn of the Screw has
been read as a homosexual
response to the Oscar Wilde
WARNING: Some images in England; 1894
this presentation may be
Oscar Wilde and his male lover
considered pornographic to Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde was
some viewers. convicted of “gross indecency”
with a man in 1895.
(Wikipedia, Matheson 710-3, “Homosexualitywilde”)
Commissioned by Robert J. Collier.
Serialized in Collier‟s Weekly
January 27 through April 16, 1898.
A total of 12 weekly installments.
James always intended to republished
the story in novel form.
Original illustration in
(Beidler vii, 141)
Published in two concurrent
editions in October 1898
Titled: The Two Magics
Title page to the first
printing of the American
edition of The Two Magics.
(Beidler vii) (Turn of the Screw, Wikipedia)
Last collection of works James
Published in 1908
Volume 12 included:
The Aspern Papers
The Turn of the Screw
Two short stories:
A 2008 theatrical production
on Benjamin Britten‟s
“The Two Faces” operetta The Turn of the
(Beidler vii) (Turn of the Screw, Rupert Larl)
Penguin Books (1946)
Price on Amazon.com
Mass Market Paperback (1993)
Price on Booksamillion.com
Penguin offers a cheaper
paperback alternative to a
(Amazon) (“Penguin”) (Turn of the Screw, Booksamillion)
The Two Magics
First Edition (1898)
The Turn of The Screw
Heritage Press (1949)
Modern Library (1930)
First edition of The Two
(Amazon, Two Magics)
This does not include:
New Editions of The
Icarus and Daedalus; Frederic Leighton;
Literary Anthologies 1869 c.
E-books “There was a thin line in the 19th
century between art and pornography,
Collected Works of
and the best way to get lots of sweetly-
Henry James scented pink flesh into a painting was to
set it safely in the past.”
The Two Magics
2250 copies Noonday Heat with Trousers; Henry
Scott Tuke; 1902
Claret cloth cover
Tuke was a contemporary of both James
2-3 pages of
and Oscar Wilde. His works focus on the
advertisements after beauty of the nude male youth. This
painting was also done “without
(Two Magics) (“Henry Scott Tuke,” Gay Paintings) (“Henry Scott Tuke,” Wikipedia)
Since 1898 The Turn of the
Screw has been translated
into every major language
Paul Avril; 1884 c.
Polish The proliferation of 19th century
pornography makes is possible to
read the novella as a form of erotic
(Worldcat, “Édouard-Henri Avril,” Matheson)
James never answers
what really happens
Are the ghost real?
Is the governess
Paul Avril ; 1884 c.
Was Quint sexually
involved with Miles? Where heterosexual pornography was
Adaptations of his thriving in Europe. The only safe way to
work seek to answer portray homosexual pornographic images
these questions. was to set it in the ancient past.
(Beidler vii-x, Amazon, “Édouard-Henri Avril,” Calendo)
The Innocents: A New Play
Full Texts on Googlebooks
By William Archibald
1982; Royal Opera House Convent
Garden; Film Version
Film version of the opera. This version
The Playhouse, NY strongly reinforces the homoerotic
connection between the Quint, the valet,
1 Feb. 1950
and young master Miles.
(Archibald) (Turn of the Screw, YouTube)
The Turn of the Screw: Opera
in a Prologue and Two Acts
Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper
Full Text available at
2004 Film Version of the Opera
1955 This version of the opera
develops a child-
(Turn of the Screw, “Music”) (Wesley)
Trailer on YouTube
Starring Deborah Kerr
1961 Instead of developing a
homoerotic theme within the
Ghosts become real
film, an erotic attachment
demons in this adaptation
of the novella.
possessed Miles and the
Unabridged San Francisco Lyric Opera;
David Ransom; 2008
Over 200 editions of the When recreating Quint in visual
media notice how important male
novella in audio form. beauty becomes over the textual
prerequisites of red hair, beady eyes
Read the entire text
online for free.
Covent Garden; Daniel Norman; 2006
Read a facsimile copy of
One common complaint of the opera is
an 1920 Macmillan that it fails to be disturbing enough. The
Reprint of the 1898 music sounds more sinister than the
performers look or the libretto sounds.
(Googlebook, Project, Guardian)
If James was a closet
homosexual then a
reading of his novella
should take into account
that this may be more
than a ghost story.
Rome; 1907; Henry James and
Ghosts may represent Hendrick Andersen
the shadow of
homoerotic James had several young unmarried
transgression and desire male “friends” with whom he
in Victorian England. corresponded quite frequently and
(Matheson, “Our Expectation”)
Unlikely, but he was an
Yes United States; 1875; unknown
Oscar Wilde Social norms regulating intimacy
Yes between males were significantly
less repressed in the 19 Century.
(Beidler, Matheson, Googlebook, “1880,” Ibson)
Regardless of James‟s
own sexuality The Turn
of the Screw has evolved
into a principle work of
the gay literary cannon.
The transformation of
James‟s novella into
both play and opera
have specified the
homoerotic as the The modern emphasis on
James‟s novella has moved from
unnamed evil at Bly. the spiritual to both the
psychological and homoerotic.
(Turn of the Screw, “Whats on Stage”) (Beidler 305-13)
No “evil” is specified.
Ghosts are real
A homoerotic/homosexual Noonday Heat without Trousers;
relationship between Quint Henry Scott Tuke; 1902
and Miles is created
“I saw the restlessness in him, yes, to be
Ghosts are real A single work of art like Tuke‟s
Homoerotic undertones Noonday Heat… can have varying
Quint becomes a child nuances of the homoerotic by the simple
removal of the bather‟s trousers. The
same effect is achieved by the
modification of James‟s novella.
(Archibald 86) (Innocents) (“Henry Scott Tuke,” Wikipedia)
Ghosts are real
The Innocents; 1961; Governess and Miles
undertones Where transgression into the realm of the
homoerotic can occur in theatre or opera
The children are
it was not considered appropriate for
possessed by ghosts
between the governess
“1880-Male Couple-US-02.jpg.” Wikipedia. 23 Dec. 2006. 17 Mar. 2009
Amazon.com. 2009. 17 Mar. 2009 <www.amazon.com>.
Archibald, William. The Innocents: A New Play. New York:
“Biography and Visits.” InfoBritain. 17 Mar. 2009
Calendo, John. “The Beautiful „Boy of Art‟ confirmed Bachelors.” Night
Charm. 12 Oct. 2006. 17 Mar. 2009
Cummings, Michael J. “The Turn of the Screw: A Study
Guide.”Cummings Guides. 2007. 17 Mar. 2009
“Édouard-Henri Avril” Library of Library. Dec. 2008. Butterflyportal.
17 Mar. 2009 <http://anal-
Googlebook. 2009. Google.19 Mar. 2009 <http://books.google.com/>.
“Henry Scott Tuke.” Gay Paintings Magazine. 11 Oct. 2005. 17 Mar. 2009
---. Wikipedia. 21 Jan. 2009. 18 Mar. 2009 <
“Homosexualitywilde.jpg” Wikipedia. 20 Feb. 2005. 17 Mar. 2009
Horrorphile. 2008. 19 Mar. 2009 < http://www.horrorphile.net/the-
Ibson, John. “Don't Look Gay: Why American Men Are Afraid of Intimacy
with Each Other.”American Sexuality Magazine. Alternet. 4 July 2007.
19 Mar. 2009 < http://www.alternet.org/story/55816/>.
Innocents, The. Screenplay by William Archibald and Truman Capote.
Dir. Jack Clayton. Perf. Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, and Michael
Redgrave. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 1961.
Innocents, The. Screenplay by William Archibald and Truman
Capote. Dir. Jack Clayton. Perf. Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, and
Michael Redgrave. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment,
Matheson, Neill. quot;Talking Horrors: James, Euphemism, and the Specter
of Wilde.quot; American Literature. 71.4 (1999): 709-50. Academic Search
Premier. EBSCO. UT Arlington Library, Arlington, TX. 23 Jan. 2009
“Our Expectation that Henry James Was Far More Than Just Curious,
On.” The Gay Recluse. 23 Dec. 2007. 17 Mar. 2009
“Penguin First Edition, A.” Flickr. 4 Jan. 2008. Yahoo. 17 Mar. 2009
Project Gutenberg. 2008. 18 Mar. 2009 <http://www.gutenberg.org>.
“Review: Eerie, magnificent Turn of the Screw.” SFGate. 30 June 2008.
San Francisco Chronicle. 17 Mar. 2009 <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-
Turn of the Screw, The. Artsopolis. 11 Oct. 2008. 18 Mar. 2009
---. Booksamillion. 2009. 17 Mar. 2009
---. Guardian 23 Oct. 2006. 17 Mar. 2009
---. Literature Archive. 14 May 2006. Blogger. 17 Mar. 2009
---. Music by Benjamin Britten Op. 54. Libretto by Myfanwy Piper. Based
on the novel by Henry James. London: Hawkes, 1955.
---. Rupert Larl / Fotografie. 17 Mar. 2009
---. Whats On Stage. 8 May 2008. 17 Mar. 2009
---. Wikipedia. 5 Mar. 2009. 18 Mar. 2009
---. YouTube. 23 Sep. 2007. 18 Mar. 2009
Two Magics, The. The Turn of the Screw/ The Covering End. The
Kelmscott Bookshop. 2009. 17 Mar. 2009
Wesley Classics. 17 Mar. 2009
Worldcat. 22 Mar. 2009. OCLC. UT Arlington Library, Arlington, TX. 22
Mar. 2009 <http://www.worldcat.org>.