Anne Bronte's first novel, Agnes Grey, a first-person narration in twenty-five chapters by a clergyman's daughter, a governess, which is mainly concerned with the moral deficiencies of her difficult charges, may have provided a model for The Turn of the Screw (twenty-four chapters, not including the prologue). Agnes certainly has the quality James congratulated himself on having given his governess: 'She has "authority," which is a good deal to have given her' (New York Preface). Comparing it with similar quasi-Victorian short novels of recent vintage, such as William Trevor's 'Reading Turgenev' (in Two Lives) and Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac, I discover that though Bronte's is a duller story it has a quality of sobriety, truth, taste, poise, measure, or again in a word authority, that eludes the modern writer. It was no doubt in recognition of this quality that George Moore called it 'the most perfect prose narrative in English literature'. In his American lecture on Balzac, 1905, James refers to Anne Bronte along with her sisters: 'their dreary, their tragic history, their loneliness and poverty of life... The personal position of the three sisters, of the two in particular, had been marked, in short, with so sharp an accent that this accent has become for us the very tone of their united production. It covers and supplants their matter, their spirit, their style, their talent, their taste; it embodies, really, the most complete intellectual muddle' (Literary Criticism: French Writers, 118-19). He spoke dismissively in 1875 of the 'crude and morbid story of "Wuthering Heights"' -- apparently quite impercipient of Emily Bronte's skill in handling narrative viewpoints (Literary Criticism: English Writers, 1230). In 'The Turn of the Screw' he may be aiming especially at the muddled public who sentimentalized the Brontes and admired their crude fictions, for most readers of the story will take it initially as a Bronte-style romance, like Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, and the imperious governess plays on the reader's sympathies much as Jane Eyre does.