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Coffeetown Press
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Catherine Treadgold
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Coffeetown Press's Edition of Collier's Turn of Screw Available through Baker & Taylor
Coffeetown Press’s edition of the Collier’s Weekly Version of The Turn of the Screw, edited by Peter G. Beidler, is now available through Baker & Taylor. This is the original serialized/illustrated version of Henry James’s classic novel.

BriefingWire.com, 10/01/2010 - Coffeetown Press’s edition of the Collier’s Weekly Version of The Turn of the Screw (234 pp, ISBN: 978-1-60381-018-0) is now available through Baker & Taylor. For the first time since 1898, readers can experience Henry James’s eerie The Turn of the Screw the way his original readers did, as a twelve-part weekly serial. This Coffeetown Press edition showcases James’s famous gothic tale as it first appeared, complete with illustrations by John La Farge and Eric Pape, in “the illustrated journal of Art, Literature and Current Events,” Collier’s Weekly.

This unique edition, with an analytical introduction by Peter G. Beidler, will be invaluable to scholars. It will be particularly useful, however, for undergraduate classroom use. It allows readers to experience first-hand the suspense generated by the week-by-week grouping of chapters. It also lets them read the young governess’s story of her dangerous encounter with prowling spirits as it first appeared, before James made the 500-odd changes in wording he introduced later. After reading Beidler’s detailed appendix analyzing James’s revisions, readers will see that in many ways this earliest version of The Turn of the Screw was James’s best.

Peter G. Beidler spent most of his long teaching career as the Lucy G. Moses Distinguished Professor of English at Lehigh University. He has published widely on Henry James and especially on The Turn of the Screw. His Ghosts, Demons, and Henry James: The Turn of the Screw at the Turn of the Century came out in 1989. He co-edited (with Kimberly C. Reed) the Modern Language Association’s Approaches to Teaching Henry James’s Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw (2005). In addition, he edited all three editions, with associated cultural and critical materials, of The Turn of the Screw for the popular Bedford Books series Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism (1992, 2004, 2010). For that Bedford series he presented James’s last (1908) version. For this Coffeetown Press edition he presents for the first time in more than a century James’s first (1898) version as it was serialized in Collier’s Weekly.

“About twenty-five years ago I was poking around in the Lehigh Library and found an old book called Phantasms of the Living,” says Beidler. “It reproduced nearly 1,000 authenticated ghost-cases that were investigated and collected by researchers associated with Cambridge University. I went on to read in other sources, around 2,000 of these factual cases published in the last quarter of the 19th Century. I was able to show that Henry James had read many of them himself and built The Turn of the Screw on information he found in them.

“This project got me interested in the revisions Henry James had made, starting with his first edition, which was published as a serial in 1898. I found a copy on microfilm first. As far as I could tell, there is only one hard copy left in the world of the Collier’s.

“If I were teaching it in a modern literature course—12 weeks—I would assign this book to be read in weekly installments as it had been read in the original. Each week we would discuss what students already know from the week before— how much they remember. At the end they have usually forgotten some of the details from the beginning. What develops, why did James divide it up this way? Instructors could pair it with a version of James’s final New York version that I edited.” (Bedford/St. Martin)

 
 
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