Article Title

The Play of Surface: Theater and The Turn of the Screw


Frances Babbage


This article examines the role of theatre both within, and as medium for, Henry James’s ‘The Turn of the Screw.’ It is a narrative possessed by performance - and this quality is integral, I argue, to the effects of profound disturbance that reading it provokes. The paper moves from an analysis of the tale’s inherent theatricality, to consider two stage adaptations - William Archibald’s The Innocents (1950) and Jeffrey Hatcher’s The Turn of the Screw (1996) - and through this assesses the impact of liveness and corporeality on audience reception, and the ability of performance to articulate the uncanny.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.