Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Turn of the Screw” as Want to Read:
The Turn of the Screw
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

The Turn of the Screw

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  52,181 Ratings  ·  3,203 Reviews
An unnamed narrator listens to a male friend reading a manuscript written by a former governess whom the latter claims to have known and who is now dead. The manuscript tells the story of how the young governess is hired by a man who has found himself responsible for his niece and nephew after the death of their parents. He lives in London and has no interest in raising th ...more
Hardcover, 110 pages
Published June 11th 2009 by WLC (first published 1898)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Turn of the Screw, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Nemo So basically what he's saying is, If you think having a child involved in a scary situation makes it creepier, how about two children? He's using…moreSo basically what he's saying is, If you think having a child involved in a scary situation makes it creepier, how about two children? He's using "giving a turn of the screw" as an expression to mean "making it more intense". The guests answering "they give two turns" is them agreeing that it would indeed double the effect.(less)
Nola Redd There's also an implication that they sexually molested the children, which I first thought as I read and then saw again on wikipedia:

'Poet and…more
There's also an implication that they sexually molested the children, which I first thought as I read and then saw again on wikipedia:

'Poet and literary critic Craig Raine, in his essay "Sex in nineteenth-century literature", states quite categorically his belief that Victorian readers would have identified the two ghosts as child molesters'(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Now you see me,
description you don’t..
What the...

Meaning, understanding and certainty all become elusive chimera in this ambiguous game of hide-and-seek that Henry James plays with us. Have you ever been in one of those weird situations where you wondered if you were losing your mind, doubting whether what you were seeing was real? And... what it was that you were seeing?



This is one of those "what the heck??" novels that you often find in the modernist genre. Not originally classed as a modernist
Turn of the Screw is a pretty cool story. It's about a governess who either heroically attempts to protect her two charges from malevolent ghosts or goes dangerously bonkers. James leaves it ambiguous and I love that kind of story. Ambiguity works for me. Four stars for the plot. Kindof an abrupt ending though.

On the other hand there's his writing style. I was at this party once and the topic was what would you do if the world was ending and the answer was generally that we would have all the se
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 05, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“No, no—there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don’t know what I don’t see—what I don’t fear!”

 photo the-innocents-1961_zpsjib312lw.jpg
Screen shot from the 1961 version of The Innocents based on the James short story.

A governess is hired to look after the nephew and niece of a man who has inherited the responsibility for the children after the death of their parents. He is very explicit in his instructions to the governess that he is not to be bothered with e
Redonkulous! Where's my SPOOKY?!
I mean, I thought I'd get a few good jump scares out of a book with possessed children in it. You know what didn't happen, not even once, while I was listening to this book?


I'm not sure why my teenage self thought The Turn of the Screw was worth 4 stars, but my older-than-teenage self certainly doesn't.
On the surface, it seems like this should be a winner for me in the classic department - short, scary...short. But it was kinda crap.

So the gist is that thi
Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
2.5 stars.
Interesting, this one...
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
May 13, 2010 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: committed fans of gothic/classic horror, fans of Henry James
Reading this story was a lot like standing in line opening weekend for a blockbuster you waited a year to see, and being underwhelmed. I was disappointed. I've heard about this story as being one of the best ghost stories ever written. I was so excited to read it. So excited was I, I had to download it to my Kindle to read right away, even though I have this story in one of my paperback collections. I love psychological horror, but I don't think a good psychological horror novel should leave the ...more
Oct 28, 2015 Evgeny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The plot of this classic Gothic book is well-known, so I will hit only the high points. A governess is hired by an English gentleman to take care of his orphaned nephew and niece. The only big condition for her work: she will never ever bother the guy with the problems with the kids. I could never figure out whether it was his eccentricity, or he just did not care about the kids much.

The governess' first impression of the place was very favorable and the kids were adorable. Add to this good sal
Paul Bryant
Jun 10, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky-ookums, novels

Paranormal Activity 6 : The Turn of the Screw



Anyway, great story, but I must mention three STYLISTIC ISSUES which may perhaps GRATE on the less patient reader.

1) In The Turn of the Screw, as in a lot of HJ’s stuff, people like to finish each other’s sentences :

“But aren’t they all – “
“Sent home? Yes.” P33

“Did she see anything in the boy –“
“That wasn’t right? She never told me.” P 36

“He c
2.5 Stars. GEESH.......Glad it's over! Great set-up to draw in the reader with the anticipated narration of an eerie old manuscript, but Whew! What a verbose read!

I usually love, love, love old creepy gothic horror stories, but this one (to me) was not scary or eerie or even very atmospheric. Now, there were a couple of "sightings" in a window, one in particular that made me think......oh we go, but my hopes were soon short lived.

Besides a couple of suspicious deaths and the strang

Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
Me at 50%:

And 75%. And 90%.

I was actually really excited to read this classic Henry James novella, a gothic ghost story published in 1898. A young woman is hired to be the governess for two young orphans by their uncle, whose good looks and charm impress the governess. She wants to impress him in turn with her capability, especially when his main command to her is that she never, NEVER, bother him with any problems or concerns.

She's packed off to the uncle's country estate to meet young Flora an
sweet jane
Jan 19, 2016 sweet jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το στρίψιμο της βίδας είναι σίγουρα ένα κλασικό ανάγνωσμα. Η δομή και τα γλωσσικά στοιχεία του, αν και μεταφρασμένο, είναι πλούσια σε σχεδόν υπερβολικό βαθμό. Η πλοκή του, σαφής σε γενικά πλαίσια, αρχίζει σταδιακά να θολώνει χωρίς ποτέ να γίνεται πραγματικά διαυγής. Αυτό ίσως είναι και το πιο κρίσιμο σημείο του βιβλίου, ο λόγος που το αγαπούν ή το λατρεύουν.

Είναι ιδανικό για όσους διακατέχονται από ιδιόκτητα φαντάσματα!
Jason Koivu
Oct 03, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm quite upset! Henry James scared the bejeezus out of me and I demand he put it back! I loved my bejeezus...

The Turn of the Screw is old school horror. More eerie and creepy rather than horrid and ghastly, but effective in its ability to scare with atmosphere and suggestion. What better setting to do so than the cold, damp and lonesome English countryside?
Nov 07, 2007 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: brit lit fans, people who like psychological readings of texts
Creepy. Twisty-turny. Ghosts. Weird kids. Unreliable, possibly insane narrator. Henry James, is there no genre that you will not poke your head into?

No, really. It's interesting though. On the surface, this story is perfect to curl up by the fire with on a cold winter's night. Which is exactly how the book is framed, by the way. As a story told in front of a fireside on a cold winter's night. It's short, it reads quickly, and is open to pretty much whatever you want to make of it. James lets yo
Jul 07, 2007 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Henry James is tough and I find his text to be pretty convoluted. I have this "joke": the average letter count/word in this book is about 9. Of course, it's not, but I vaguely remember the need to read this book with a dictionary. That probably only makes me less educated.
It's also old, so the ghost story is not at all thrilling or causing a "page-turner" status. The same thing happens over and over again and it's "scary", all to arrive at an ambiguous climax that is interesting, but not really
Dec 08, 2010 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I died so I could haunt you
Recommended to Mariel by: opinions versus the sun
The Turn of the Screw takes place in multiple rooms in my brain. It hasn't taken up shop in my heart. It's a cold feeling, so the echo is made against stone walls that don't touch the rest of me. It's rare for a Henry James story to go there. If it does, it's in a "I hope that never happens to me" mental knee jerk way. I can't sort out how I feel about it because I'm caught up in the primordial longings. How the hell did they get there? I'm one to half convince myself it never happened, open you ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Nikoleta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, ghostly
Το Στρίψιμο της βίδας το προσέγγισα όχι ως απλό ανάγνωσμα, αλλά με μία ψυχολογική ανάλυση για την παιδική ηλικία και την σκληρή μετάβαση στην ενηλικίωση.
Είδα τα παιδιά ως καθαρές ψυχές, σχεδόν σαν λευκή κόλλα χαρτί, να προσεγγίζουν το Κακό και το Καλό με την ίδια αγνότητα. Όπως είναι κάθε παιδί ανέγγιχτο από την ενοχή που προκαλεί η συνειδητοποίηση πολλών πραγμάτων καθώς ενηλικιωνόμαστε όπως η αισχρότητα, η ντροπή και άλλα.
Είδα την γκουβερνάντα ως το σύμβολο αυτό, που ήρθε να τους υποδείξει το Κ
Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
"The Turn of the Screw" is an intense psychological tale of terror. It begins 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 charge of the young children, however she is soon disturbed when she begins to see ghosts."

Really? I thought it was boring and dated and just a bit silly. It would make a good B movie and that's about it's level, for me anyway.
Dec 31, 2012 Mosca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who dares


Count me among the impressed. This is an extraordinary work.

But first a short introduction, I’ve read for my entire six decades of life. I’m college educated; but I have no Literary education past high school, nor have I any real background concerning Henry James other than a failed high school book report on Daisy Miller. I’ve read a very brief review on the internet by an admired friend who gave away little, but expressed an enormous respect for this work. Howev
Nov 16, 2014 Hana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Kim
Don't read this on a dark November night!!!

I was not in the mood last night to plunge into my current buddy read, so I turned to this classic Kindle freebie. It was short. The perfect bed-time story. NOT.

Scary as anything and seriously weird. At least five or six times I literally had chills running down my back and once I finished I couldn't sleep. I'm still not sure what it was all about, but I felt better when I saw from reviews on Goodreads that hundreds and hundreds of professor-types have
Dec 22, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In both literature and film I've always avoided horror stories, ghost stories and other narratives in which the supernatural features prominently. Call me a wuss, but that's the way it is for me. This may be the reason I've not read this novella before. The other reason may be that my only two prior experiences of reading Henry James are mixed. I liked The Portrait of a Lady (read circa 1976) and I remember nothing about The Golden Bowl (read circa 1978) other than that my university lecturer sa
I was not as impressed as I think I should have been by James' prose, yet I think I was left shaken by the shadows in the interstices between the narrator's words. In fact, James' prose was tedious and sometimes downright irritating. But irritating in the way a fern tickling your nose might be irritating when you're trying to spy on someone from behind some plants. Or tedious in the way that brick dust rubs up against your whiskery half-shaven beard when you are trying to surreptitiously peek ar ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008_read
This book was excruciatingly verbose -- the story could have been told in 30 pages. Other than that, not a bad tale.
I’m sure that ever since human-like hominids have had both fire and the ability to speak, we’ve been telling each other creepy stories and sleeping uneasily afterwards. These tales are best shared around a campfire, to simulate the ancient experience—when fires and candles cast flickering light and we were free to imagine all kinds of weird creatures around us in the dark.

Even with modern electricity, I found myself sometimes unwilling to read this book after dark—I’m entirely too suggestible w
Dec 29, 2015 Vivian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, horror, gothic
While this isn't the most riveting tale: the gothic details of weather and plantings, furnishings and tapestries, and the minutae of life all speak to a much slower style of storytelling it is an important piece. You have the narrator, a male relaying a second hand account of events much like in other stories of the time: Wuthering Heights, Moby Dick, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Here though, as far as I can recall, and I may be mistaken, but this is the genesis of the "evil child" motif tha ...more
Mar 24, 2015 Apatt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Spooky old house, creepy kids, very nicely narrated free audiobook. What’s not to like? Just about everything else as far as I am concerned. The protagonist is a gabby unnamed governess who sees dead people but ain’t afraid of no ghosts. In the meantime there is something very fishy about the two beautiful children in her charge, I imagine their omega-3 level must be through the roof.

Seriously though, one must not diss the classics even if one does not like them, it is very bad form. Certainly w
No, no—there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don’t know what I don’t see—what I don’t fear!
That's the typical reader's reaction to reading major-phase James. Actually it's a quote from Turn of the Screw, but it aptly fits both descriptions anyway. Henry James has depths (depths!) and the more you go over him, read him, learn to love him, the more you see in his writing. He's intimidating, certainly, he has that kind
Time to admit it: I am never finishing this book. Short as it is, it is a big chore. It's too bad, because the story itself is interesting to me, as is the ambiguity about whether supernatural things are really happening. Likewise, James' prose style, while very much not to my personal taste, is certainly not bad. As a combination, however, plot and style are terrible. The lengthy, convoluted sentences and slowness of narration completely sap any sense of fear, urgency, or even unease from the s ...more
Oct 06, 2015 Teresa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa
Nem um ligeiro Calafrio senti. Deve faltar-me um Parafuso...
Ou talvez não tenha gostado (nem percebido) porque me aborrecem histórias de fantasmas...

Sinister? Hm, yes. Strange? Somewhat. Scary? Uhm, no.

I probably had unrealistic expectations of this novel, and a reader’s expectations are always problematic, I believe, when approaching a novel. It is not the author’s job to meet my expectations, but it is my job to meet a novel or other piece of art with an open mind that isn’t cluttered with pre-conceived notions of how a story should play out or other readers’ thumbs up or down. But this is of course impossible, unless we are the first to
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
  • Bad Twin
  • Wieland, or, The Transformation
  • The Lifted Veil
  • The House on the Borderland
  • The Survivors of the Chancellor
  • In a Glass Darkly
  • Melmoth the Wanderer
  • The Marble Faun (Oxford World's Classics)
  • Gothic Tales
  • The Great God Pan
  • The Real Charlotte
  • Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood
  • The Monk
  • Castle Richmond
  • The Castle of Otranto
  • Ormond
  • The Glimpses of the Moon
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
More about Henry James...

Share This Book

“No, no—there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don’t know what I don’t see—what I don’t fear!” 24 likes
“He was there or was not there: not there if I didn't see him.” 12 likes
More quotes…