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The Turn of the Screw and the Aspern Papers

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,530 Ratings  ·  238 Reviews
"The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers" combines two of Henry James' most popular works into one conveniently sized volume. "The Turn of the Screw" is an intense psychological tale of terror. Beginning in an old house on Christmas Eve, it is the story of a Governess who comes to live with and take care of two young children. The Governess loves her new position in ch ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by (first published 1898)
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Apr 07, 2013 Sketchbook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
James is always about thwarted desire and/or sexual repression,
like the man's own life. In "Screw" the sublimated sexuality of the governess turns her into a mental case; she destroys 2 children with her fantasies of corruption. Are the kiddies innocent? I dont think so, but they are sweet. The (deceiving) framework is a ghost story. This fools Dum Reader.

In "Aspern" a naive-repressed editor tries to coax
a crusty dowager and her cock-hungry niece to part with some
historic papers, but the ladies
Dec 07, 2014 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the second time, I have had the misfortune of choosing to reading Henry James alongside another difficult author. The first time it was Proust; this time, Joyce. So, instead of getting the desired relief from literary headache, I get an extension of it. But, of course, the fault is mine, not Henry’s.

When reading Henry James’s work, I am reminded of a remark Stephen King made about Stanley Kubrick: that “he thinks too much and feels too little.” One gets the impression that, as Henry wrote, h
Jan 11, 2010 X rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Turn of the Screw was quite good, but difficult to read due to the gothic language. The subtle mystery and non-so-subtle supernatural elements were gripping, but the ending left me, at least, still wondering about a few unresolved things.

I had no idea what to expect from The Aspern Papers, but I found it easier to follow than The Turn of the Screw and even enjoyed its lovely Venetian setting and the narrator's attempt to outwit the old lady who possessed the papers in question. I'm not sure
Sep 30, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This review is associated with The Aspern Papers--

The Aspern Papers is a brilliant novella written by Henry James and serialized in the Atlantic in 1888. In short, The Aspern Papers is the story of an academic researcher, the novella's narrator, on the trail of bundles of personal letters and writings of a long-dead American poet, 'Jeffrey Aspern'. Apparently, these letters and papers are in the possession of a very old woman, Miss Juliana Bordereau, who lives with her middle-aged niece in an ol
Sep 04, 2013 Sam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I didn't actually read the Aspern Papers, just The Turn of the Screw. It was recommended by a member of our book club.

Firstly, I found it hard going. It often took me two attempts at reading a sentence to understand it clearly. I can't quite put my finger on the problem, it was clearly written in English, but the sentence structure (which was probably perfectly correct) was (in some parts) almost unintelligible.

The story itself is almost as confusing. I actually had to 'Google' it afterwards
Melissa Jackson
May 04, 2012 Melissa Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite short stories, it's absolutely beautiful how creepy this book is. I need to reread it again!

(Even if I can't stare at the cover of this edition for too long without being convinced the children are standing behind me, just waiting. I gave this specific copy to my friend Liz one year for her birthday and upon opening it and being thrilled to finally own it, she shrieked and threw it away from her immediately. Seriously, this cover is horrifying up close.)

The Aspern Papers are
Susan McNally
I re-read this recently and what a glorious creepy tale.. those children little Miles and Flora. Many writers have tried to copy James's skill at leading the reader to the point where they realise the children are involved... in something quite horrible. A short story really but a great read.
No one seems to do gothic horror and be able to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up as well as Authors from this era; whether they are hinting at insanity or embracing it and giving it coffee, this novella has to rank up there with The Yellow Wallpaper. When the reader first embarks into this tale it would seem the perfect accompaniment to a cold winter night and a cosy fire place, after all it’s short in length and reads fairly quickly if you can come to grips with the style in which ...more
Sep 04, 2011 Oria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something about the classics that just wouldn’t go away. Not that I want it to, I have to add. Every now and then I feel the need for the convoluted language, the turned phrases, the intricately constructed sentences that make my head spin and my mind feel like I’ve just been mentally tortured. And yet, it is a sweet torture, and one I find comfort in from time to time.

The only other book by Henry James I’ve read was "The Portrait of a Lady" and while I wasn’t exactly swept away by it,
Nov 27, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although the book is very dense, it starts to clear up after a chapter or two and it becomes rather easy to read Jame's writing. Actually, his writing is pretty clear and interesting once you get used to it. I don't honestly believe it was as creepy as some people say, although there certainly are one or two spots that are very scary. Overall, a very big buildup to a great ending. I thought the ending wouldn't be very dramatic or intense, but it certainly is. Throughout the story you are left qu ...more
I REALLY don't enjoy how Henry James writes. His language style is laborious and completely grammatically incorrect, so it's hard to get through. I didn't really like the story that much because it was too ambiguous. My husband told me about the theories behind this book - that the governess was crazy and none of this ever happened, that she was obsessed with sex, that she might have killed the boy. I say that I don't really know that the story delves all that deep. I feel like by leaving out so ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I read somewhere that the Internet has so warped/conditioned our brain to so-called "multi-tasking" that the brain is no longer able to engage in deep reading without the utmost difficulty. This was the experience I had reading Henry James for the first time. The Aspern Papers and The Turn of the Screw had intriguing enough plots and characters, but it was just immensely challenging, somehow, to make it through the text. It wasn't about the length of the sentences - which, truth be told, were no ...more
Kristi Sawyer
So first onto The Turn of the Screw: James, you disappoint me. I have never read gothic horror before, and after this I don't think I'll be picking up another for a while! I expected to be reeled in, and for the story to be holding me tightly as we fly through a literary rollercoaster...none of which happened. I just didn't really get the story, sorry James!

The Aspern Papers however, was much better! :) The blurb was right in saying that James flourishes when telling stories of Americans in Euro
Jan 14, 2016 Philip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry James, great though his name remains, can be something of an acquired taste for some readers. Lest it be said, in terms a lay person unacquainted with this writer’s indeed impressive array of both products and talents, that this particular artist of the written word might, on occasions perhaps far too frequent to count, might occasionally employ one or two - let us fall short of the word ‘many’ - employ just a few too many of the aforementioned raw materials of his craft - words - for good ...more
Richard Leis
Oct 12, 2015 Richard Leis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
(I read only The Turn of the Screw in this collection of two of Henry James's novellas.)

The Turn of the Screw is a frightening story because it is not clear if the occurrences are objective reality or psychological delusion. James does not make it easy to decide, and that might be the real innovation here: either possibility is horrifying.

Some readers may be put off by James's round about way of stating things. Part of this is the language of the time, but he seems to add an extra layer of obscu
May 27, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came for The Turn of the Screw, and stayed for The Aspern Papers. The first is the more famous, and enormously influential - but I enjoyed the second more. This was partly because the prose is less dense and difficult to read, and partly because, unlike with The Turn of the Screw, I wasn't already familiar with the plot. So, to help you readers enjoy it also, I will say no more on the matter.
2.5 stars
A man visits Venice in the hope that he can secure papers written by the famous poet Aspern. This proves to be rather difficult, since the papers belong to an elderly and somewhat strange woman who guards them viciously.
A new governess is left in charge of a young boy and girl. Soon, she realises that the house she stays in is haunted by two ghosts that seem to be after the children she has sworn to protect.
Meh. ‘The Aspern papers’ was alright whilst I read it. I kept hoping for an amaz
Rich Law
Aug 18, 2014 Rich Law rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was fairly reluctant to read this. Up to now, my only experience of Henry ‘Horlicks’ James had been attempting to read “In the Cage”, a very short novella that, with it’s long, rambling circumlocutory sentences, stretching out indefinitely – yes, much like this one you’re reading right now – and tedious plot, put me to sleep. Twice.

This book had the opposite effect, but not necessarily because of its content: I am talking about that cover. Penguin’s latest edition of creepy covers (see Charlie
Jun 13, 2012 Helen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All I got from this book is the answer to the following questions:

1. Which author used so many commas, colons, semi and full, hyphens and exclamation marks, that his over-long sentences became impossible to comprehend?

2. Which fictional character would you most like to push down a long flight of stairs?

All I need now is for someone to ask.....
pierlapo  quimby
Erano anni che volevo leggere Giro di vite e ora che l'ho fatto sono alquanto deluso. Sono di fronte, forse, ad uno di quei casi in cui la lettura critica rende l'opera, nel tempo, migliore di quello che è?
Invece il Carteggio Aspern è un vero gioiello, dalla prima all'ultima parola.
Two short stories by Henry James. Not bad, all things considered, but his writing style is notoriously dense, and may dissuade a lot of potential readers. His endings were pretty shocking, though, and actually building up suspense despite his flowery style is a worthy achievement.
Ich kannte „The turn of the screw“ vor allem als Hörspiel. Die Geschichte an sich, in bearbeiteter Form als Hörspiel, ist genial. Wunderbar zweideutig. Das Buch jedoch…
Ich hatte schon gehört, dass Henry James berühmt berüchtigt für seinen verschachtelten Satzbaus ist. Ich habe viel viktorianische Literatur gelesen, streng genommen habe ich mit viktorianischen Büchern Englisch gelernt. Ich leide unter den kurzen, abgehackten Sätzen der modernen Literatur. Aber was zu viel ist, ist zu viel! James
Dec 26, 2015 Alok rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers are two of my favourite novellas of all time so when I just saw these two collected together I had to pick it up and re-read. This edition also contains a wide-ranging and illuminating introduction alongwith useful notes which help clarify some of the obscure literary allusions, specially in The Aspern Papers. His writing style and sentence structure are maddening at times (specially in The Turn of the Screw) but only when you finish reading it you rea ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Nina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had forgotten how creepy Henry James can be! I actually enjoyed the Aspern Papers more than the Turn of the Screw, and I had actually never read the latter. The Turn is a ghost story with that sweet innocence of stories of those sorts written in the last 1800's or early 1900's. The nanny in that story was a bit overexpressive and the writing a little affected, but that's pretty characteristic of the end of the Victorian era. However, the Aspern Papers was a little creepier with emotions that w ...more
Feb 19, 2016 Salvatore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous novellas. I wish I took Dame Hermione Lee's advice to me and read The Aspern Papers earlier - it's funny and intense. And it warns biographers - or any life writers - of the perils of chasing the author. Women like to burn letters (except Edith Wharton - typical).

The Turn of the Screw indeed has terrifying moments, moments of horror since you can only see words, you can't see what the narrator herself is seeing, you can't judge because you're only allowed her eyes. Children can be vil
Emma Wallace
Mar 30, 2016 Emma Wallace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a psychedelic bind up of two luridly subtle tales of horror. While the length of them was dissatisfying and I do not think the plot line benefited from the open ending in both circumstances I did enjoy the ambiantic terror James infuses through his depictions of insanity and obsession. While I must admit neither stories frightened me as much as I was expecting- particularly with the Aspern Papers whose depiction of extreme obsession and the potential of human nature was peculiar, I did ...more
Jackie Montalvo
Mar 24, 2016 Jackie Montalvo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The Turn of the Screw had me turning page after page the entire time. (and I didn't finish The Aspern Papers because I fell behind the reading in school so I will not be reviewing it until I finish it)

The Turn of the Screw is about a governess sent to watch over two children, Miles - who had just been kicked out of school for something we do not know - and Flora. This early ghost story is a mental game. We are told the governess' story through the unnamed narrator leaving it to be unreliable for
Mar 05, 2016 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
4.5 - 5 stars

The Turn of the Screw (4 stars)

A brilliantly written short novel which injects the rather dull life of a governess with two provoking supernatural entities. The reader is able to judge the whole affairs throughax the eyes of the governess herself as we become her through the first person narrative. Henry James leaves many questions unanswered in order to preserve the sense of mystery and the aura of abomination of the Bly business. Personally, I felt that the story starts off rather
Classics Collection
1. Therese Raquin- Emile Zola
2. The Trial- Franz Kafka
3. The Turn of the Screw- Henry James

Ponderously difficult to read. I'd identify the problem at its worst in the dialogue. One character asks a question, and a long paragraph follows describing the emotional state of the other character before they answer in one sentence. So even short conversations are buried under a weight of concrete description. At times it suits the extent to which the author examines the psychological
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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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