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The Turn Of The Screw And Other Short Fiction

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,851 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
To read a story by Henry James is to enter a world--a rich, perfectly crafted domain of vivid language and splendid, complex characters. Devious children, sparring lovers, capricious American girls, obtuse bachelors, sibylline spinsters and charming Europeans populate these five fascinating "Nouvelles" --works which represent the author in both his early and late phases. F ...more
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published September 1st 1981 by Turtleback Books
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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John Guild
Oct 19, 2009 John Guild rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry James is an undeniable pain-in-the-ass to read. The sentences just meander along, picking up extra clauses like lint and dander, until they become so fluffy you can barely identify their original shape. Syntactically speaking, he is hard work, harder than Conrad, and about as hard as Proust.
But he is great. This is an unbelievable work of fiction--one of the best horror stories in the English language. It is loaded with meaning, yet it is deliciously ambiguous. You could spend months argui
May 04, 2008 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Also includes "Washington Square," "Daisy Miller," "The Beast in the Jungle," and "The Jolly Corner" -- all 5 star stories.
Mar 17, 2013 1.1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'It was agreeable, it was delightful, it was miserable.'

It was really tough to read, there were no pictures, and it wasn't particularly lively or action-packed. Excuses within excuses. Literature requires tougher stuff, and there's no point in getting offended because sensibilities have changed. So, yes, these stories don't translate well into the contemporary appetite, but James' craft is so apparent that it shouldn't matter. It can be a struggle to read pages so dense with prose, but in the
Nov 16, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
30. Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This story, for me, was like a recipe that required me to chop a lot of vegetables before I could start cooking. In the end, I immensely enjoyed this psychologically driven suspense story. The story centers around a governess who is newly employed to a lonely house with several other servants and two beautiful children, Flora and Miles. Their uncle is the guardian and he stays off premises in London. Right away, the governess begins to see strange, "unnatural"
Jan 29, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I put this collection down with the sense that its affect - which I may or may not be aware of in these days to come - will extend well into the future. Reading these stories was a joy for the act itself. James' prose is full and deep and intelligent, and I had to pay close attention to the rhythm and direction of his long, frequently-punctuated sentences to follow its intent. With this language, James constructs the inner world and thoughts of his characters and their societies, and traces the ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Chloe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chloe by: Mom
Painful. Just painful. Sentences that turn into multi-page epics that leave me wondering whether James' typewriter may have been malfunctioning so he just made do with commas instead. Only a 20-30 pages in to Turn of the Screw and I'm really trying hard not to put it down in disgust. I have to keep repeating my mantra to myself: "They are classics for a reason. They are classics for a reason." Someone liked them enough for them to stay in print this long, I just have to find out what gripped the ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Arlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Henry James collection is a strong survey of his wit, the time and different countries James lived in, and of a spectrum of the sum total of the stories he told.

I may have given this collection five stars out of enthusiasm for his talents and my inexperience reading him (this is the first James I have read). Yes, let's just say that is indeed what I did. I'll own that.

If you are looking for a collection in which you can get lost in the details and become absorbed by another time and far off
Dylan Shaffer
Meh. I didn't hate it, but as an introduction to Henry James, it wasn't very good. The whole thing just feels very dated: the tropes are very dated (dude reading the whole story from a letter), the language is very Victorian in its syntax and vocabulary. And "The Turn of the Screw" isn't even a good ghost story on its own, the ghosts just stand there and look at the governess. But that's besides the point. I get that James was trying to make things ambiguous by having only the governess ever out ...more
This was a collection of 5 shortish stories, of which I was only interested in The Turn of the Screw at this time. Written in 1897, it has a very different feel from more modern horror stories such as those written by Stephen King or even Shirley Jackson in the 1950's.

*Spoilers ahead* The two spirits, who wish to corrupt the two young, beautiful, brilliant and talented children under the tutelage of a woman who senses the evil and wants to protect them, don't specify in what form this corruption
Ivonne Rovira
Feb 01, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the ambiguity of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw: Is the unnamed Governess an astute guardian of children under peril from supernatural forces? Or is she a neurotic who sees phantoms that merely manifestations of her own madness?

I've taught this novel this year for the first time, but it won't be the last.
Jan 03, 2010 Ginger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, ghost-story
Once you can get your mind wrapped around the old language, this book leads you into a story that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. It holds mystery as you are forced to acknowledge weather the nanny is actually crazy or is actually seeing ghosts.

The style may be 'old' but the story will live on forever.
Oct 03, 2014 LDB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Henry James. He is not the easiest author to read but I did enjoy these stories. I found that if you weren't giving the book your full attention, you would get lost in a sentence and have to read it several times before figuring out exactly what it said. Some of his stories are more convoluted than others. I really enjoyed the first three stories (Turn of the Screw, Washington Square and Daisy Miller). (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Elise rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2011 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is a tough one to rate because it's five short nouvelles (as James would call them) in one book, and I would argue that they're of varying quality.

The best, I believe, is "The Beast in the Jungle"-- I would give that five stars if it were on its own. I would give "Daisy Miller" and maybe "The Jolly Corner" four stars, "The Turn of the Screw" three stars... and then I absolutely hated "Washington Square."

"The Jolly Corner" and "The Turn of the Screw" are ghost stories, which makes them espe
May 09, 2012 Adrian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot going on in the ideas or themes of the stories here that makes them worth reading. But the basic fact of the matter is that Henry James just is not a good writer. Yeah, yeah, it's Henry James, but if something could be written clearly in 100 words, James helps himself to 800. It's the type of turgid stew where an "it" will refer to some vague abstraction of a feeling mentioned so far back that the original reference can longer be found. Paragraphs span three pages. There's not a sh ...more
Ellen Pierson
Mar 03, 2012 Ellen Pierson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was an article in the New York Times a few months ago about how no one could go to the trouble to read Henry James any more. I enjoyed Daisy Miller so I decided I’d have to read some more James and see what I thought. Also for some reason the library in Nîmes has a substantial collection of his work. Anyway I didn’t like The Turn of the Screw quite as much because it wasn’t really a statement on a certain echelon of nineteenth century society the way Daisy Miller was, but I still found it ...more
Sep 14, 2013 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chadwick Saxelid
Nov 23, 2014 Chadwick Saxelid rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
At least once every year I try to take a break from my genre and pulp reading preferences and read some of the classics. This year I read The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction, by Henry James.

Since my reading preferences lean toward the arena of the fantastic and otherworldly, it is not at all surprising that I would choose James's famous "ghost story" The Turn of the Screw as an entry point (or re-entry point, since I did read some James during my years at San Francisco State University
Aug 18, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Confession: I read this for two very bad reasons, both self serving. Number one: it's part of the "literary canon" (although I realize that could be objected by many knowledgable folks) that I've never read and in an attempt to make myself feel better about being left out, I picked it up. Number two: "Henry" is one of our many name options for boys and, always wanting to make the literary connection for our kids, this was the Henry I thought most people would immediately think of.

On with the ti
Dec 18, 2008 Tom rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2010 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection contains The Turn of the Screw, Washington Square, Daisy Miller, The Beast in the Jungle, and The Jolly Corner. I didn't find James' writing to be as difficult to read as some have complained, as long as I read it as if the characters were speaking the words. The Turn of the Screw was being written as if the Governess was telling the story aloud, and as such, there are a lot of pauses and fragments. I really enjoyed reading James, though I found that he seemed to have an obsessio ...more
Reading The Turn of the Screw again for the first time since high school English class 20+ years ago just reminded me of what a great English teacher we had. It's easy to get lost in James's meandering prose, but our teacher made us analyze every word as we hosted a classroom debate tournament trying to decide if this is a ghost story or a story about insanity. I don't think I read any other assignment this closely. It's really stuck with me, like great teaching does.
Apr 12, 2011 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can't........go........on........any longer. It's dumb for someone like me to criticize a literary classic, but it's not often that I've come across a writer that moves so slooooooooooooooooowly.

In 'Turn of the Screw,' any interesting buildup is ultimately followed by a letdown, leading to a confounding and frustrating ending. I know that scholars love to debate the meaning of this psychological thriller, but I don't care enough to wonder. There were moments when I thought it was becoming a trul
Neil Crossan
Oct 18, 2011 Neil Crossan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: AP English Students
I suppose if I was in A/P English this is what it would have been like. No Alas Babylon in there. If someone wanted to tell me a story and they started with the first sentence of Turn of The Screw, after the 5 minutes it took them to say it, I would call them an asshole and tell them to shove their ghost story up their ass. Five commas? In the first sentence? Fuck You. Why are you making it so hard to read this story? Now maybe that’s how they wrote ghost stories in 1898, but left face it. If He ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Henry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While James does take some getting used to - especially when one tends to agree with Wilde's assessment of his prose - he really is deserving of his attention. The Turn of the Scew is terrifying and builds quite nicely; ambiguous pronouns inspire more fear than one would at first think possible. I didn't see sufficient evidence to stand definitively with either side of the whole insane governess lot, and I think that really does make it all the better.
Elizabeth Hernandez
Jan 25, 2008 Elizabeth Hernandez rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wordy writers and readers
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Bill Joliff
I learned that I don't like Henry James so much. I say this not to the point of meaning that he is a bad writer, but that he's not a writer who's work interests me in more than short story form. I made it through these short stories, barely, and I learned something 1) some ultimate point in each story 2) that I don't like Henry James. While James has something intereting to say he doesn't just come out and say it, he stretches it out to breaking point with far too many discriptives and metaphors ...more
Lauren Fidler
i'm pretty sure i hated this novella when i read it many, many moons ago as some sort of bored undergrad with preconceived notions about my intelligence and this book's ability to hold a mystery.

but not anymore!

i love books that are so well-constructed that you have to read them multiple times to get a small hint at what the author is doing.

TotS isn't on the level for me with Golding's LOTF, but it's certainly more apt than i initially gave it credit for.

is she crazy? are there ghosts? are thos
November/December book club pick. Review is only for The Turn of the Screw.

Interesting, but I felt like I was waiting the whole book to find out what happens at the end and it doesn't happen until the last sentence. I also find it difficult to read books where I'm not sure if I can trust the narrator. As far as the debate over whether the ghosts were real or not, I remained skeptical throughout. Although I'm still undecided, it seemed the governess jumped to many conclusions and became quite hys
Oct 16, 2015 Rhonda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great! It was the perfect book to read in October. The plot never lost its momentum and just continued to build and build. The fact that certain points of the mystery were so vague only added to the suspense because it allows your imagination to fill in the blanks with much worse. I really loved it.
George Shiffler
Finished Turn of the Screw but will put off reading the remainder of the book for a while ...can't say I liked James' ponderous prose and the ending is so abrupt as to be completely unsatisfying... I am reminded of something Gene Siskel used to say ... Who are these people and why should I care about them?
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Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the ...more
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