Supernatural Stories: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Henry James.

When it comes to expressing their respective vision and belief in supernatural, Fe Fanu’s In A Glass Darkly and Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, are perhaps two most notable texts, where their narratives have attained artistic culmination.

Thesis Statement: Acceptance of interpretations from a psychological perspective has helped to introduce the idea that supernatural existence is not an entirely different phenomenon. rather the root of such presence exists within the subconscious or unconscious mind of human beings. Narrative perspective of Victorian writers, such as Sheridan Le Fanu and Henry James, has clearly established evidence in support of such observation on a stronger foundation.

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Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s development of vision and belief about supernatural, to a great extent, has been a result of his interest in Anglo-Irish traditions of life, the afterlife, spirits and common myths (James 127). It has been a conventional approach that “folk imagination, supernatural manifestations are reactions to human action …” (Harris 128) and Le Fanu’s narrative, on several occasions, has provided evidence in support of the observation. The remarkable stories In A Glass Darkly, namely, “Green Tea”, “The Familiar” and “Carmilla” are set in the backdrop of Ireland and in each case, protagonists are haunted by their respective supernatural experiences that have taken a realistic shape through the fusion of traditional belief and haunted past. The story “Carmilla” can definitely be excluded from scope of such observation but Carmilla is surely “at once vampire”, “a woman of the dead” or “Si” (Irish fairies), who “…crave human beings, especially children … also young men and women, luring them away to live a kind of half-life under the earth” (Le Fanu and Tracy xxii). On several occasion, however, though Le Fanu’s stories have been described by critics as “macabre and grotesque” (Malcolm, and Malcolm 84), but narrator’s perspective has helped him to recognize the strong connection between the human world and the supernatural, “I believe that the entire natural world is but the ultimate expression of that spiritual world from which, and in which alone, it has life. (Le Fanu and Tracy 181).

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