“You Don’t Think I’m Like Any Other Boy. That’s Why You’re Afraid”: Haunted/Haunting Children from The Turn of the Screw to Tales of Terror
Germaine Buckley considers the evolution of the haunted/haunting child in literary horror, from Henry James’s Turn of the Screw (1898) to contemporary novels by John Harding and Chris Priestley. James founds the child of literary horror as the source of uncanny Otherness. Germaine Buckley reveals that repeated use of the figure of the child in literary, filmic, and televisual horror struggles to move beyond this oppositional construction of the child and to jettison a Freudian concept of the child that positions it as implacably Other to adult subjectivity. However, in their modern reworkings of James’s classic, Harding and Priestley depict the child as a subject with which readers are encouraged to identify, whilst also retaining the child’s potential to disturb and to terrify.
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