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Journal Article

The Remembered Future: Neuro-Cognitive Identity in Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw"

Marilyn C. Wesley
College Literature
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Spring, 2004), pp. 80-98
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25115192
Page Count: 19

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Topics: Memory, Narratives, Ghost stories, Literature, Identity, Novella, Children, Humans, Self, Written narratives
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The Remembered Future: Neuro-Cognitive Identity in Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw"
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Abstract

This essay demonstrates the utility of a neuro-cognitive approach to literature by way of a consideration of selfhood both in autobiographical memory and in narrative. Memory, shaped by metaphor in James's novella and read through neurological and psychological theories of Antonio Damasio and David B. Pillemer, provides the basis for self-construction understood as having personal and public purpose that links literary narrative to human mindedness. "The Turn of the Screw", which, paradoxically, celebrates the achievement of narrative identity even as it tells a tale of autobiographical failure, shows that the self-as a structure of the mind and as a device of fiction-integrates an extraordinary range of information for adaptive use in a challenging world.

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