The Turn of the Screw, expatriate American writer Henry James's 1898 short novel, is a densely symbolic ghost story. A young governess tries to save her charges from the ghosts of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint. But do the ghosts exist only in her mind?
An earlier Henry James novel, The Portrait of a Lady (1881), tells the story of Isabel Archer, an independent American woman. Her adventures in Europe demonstrate the differences between American and European society. Isabel must navigate these differences at her own risk.
Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), examines in detail the moral problems of living a double life. The title character, despite his depravity, remains ever youthful while his portrait grotesquely ages and shows outward signs of Dorian's grave sins.
Northanger Abbey (1818) is English novelist Jane Austen's parody of the Gothic genre so popular in the early eighteenth century.
Praised by Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater's essay on William Morris's poetry, ‘‘Aesthetic Poetry’’ (1868), helped influence the Decadence movement of the late Victorian period.
James Walvin, a contemporary historian, presents a compelling overview of the Victorians in Victorian Values (1987). Walvin offers a view of nineteenth-century England that cuts through recent stereotypes of this era.