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The Turn of the Screw and the Aspern Papers

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  6,387 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
With layers of meanings and comprehensively drawn characters, once again Henry James captures the attention of the readers. Unique themes that cover past, present, supernatural phenomenon and uncanny affairs are artistically amalgamated. Riveting!
ebook, 0 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by ReadHowYouWant (first published 1898)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Roy Lotz
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
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Lobstergirl
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bandolier designers
Shelves: own, fiction

Please note, four stars does not mean I approve of dialogue like this:*

"So she went to -"

"To?"

She hung fire. "To the gentleman's residence."

"The gentleman's residence?"

"Yes, you know, in case of -"

"Oh, yes, well..."

She hung fire. "He wasn't exactly a gentleman."

"Wasn't a gentleman?"

"No, and it caused problems later -"

"Later? If only it had been sooner."

"Sooner?"

They hung fire.

"Everything depended on when she went -"

"When she went? Why? Because of -"

"Yes." He hung fire. "Or -"

"Or?"

"Well - you cou
...more
Sketchbook
Dec 29, 2010 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
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piperitapitta
«Venezia è anche un sogno, di quelli che puoi comperare»

Inizio a leggere "Il carteggio Aspern" per due motivi: da un po' di tempo ho una gran voglia di leggere qualcosa di Henry James - e questo già è strano, perché ho letto solamente "Ritratto di signora" per cui non posso definirmi né esperta né appassionata di quest'autore ma, nonostante ciò, desidero fortemente tornare a "respirare" qualcosa di suo, di ottocentesco ma nordamericano - e perché iniziando a leggere l'autobiografia di Stefan Zwe
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X
Oct 01, 2008 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
...more
Sam
Jul 02, 2013 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
...more
David
Sep 23, 2011 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
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Melissa Jackson
May 01, 2012 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
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Micaela Alvi
Taking into account that this was written ages ago, it is a pretty decent horror story. There is always an aura of mystery surrounding the characters and their intentions, even their sanity. And the ending is actually good. Sure, it leaves us with more questions than answers but I think that is the point of the whole story, we will never truly know what happened.
Hadrian
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.
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.
Oria
Aug 12, 2011 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,
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Meredith
Jun 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My edition is a Wordsworth, containing two-for-one novellas: The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers. With a colossal effort and what amounted to skimming, not actual reading, I reached the last page of The Turn of the Screw, which could be one of the dullest, driest, most needlessly verbose and inactive books I've ever read. (What's worse than a book where you have to read the same paragraph ten times, but you're still saying WTF?).
However, I am not going to read The Aspern Papers. I might
...more
Nerdish Mum
Review to follow.
Cate
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
MichelleCH
The Aspern Papers I read first, and it wasn't the kind of storytelling style I enjoy. The writing was choppy and a little hard for me to follow. I felt the same as I read The Turn ( although the psychological aspects of The Turn are rather fascinating). Many years ago I read Daisy Miller and remember that I wasn't fond of James's style at that time as well.

Outside of the writing, some of the trouble I had with The Aspern Papers is that the main character is rather loathsome and sneaky. His quest
...more
Michael
Oct 31, 2011 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
Jill
Oct 11, 2009 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
Heather
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
Julie Christine
I've had at least as much fun reading commentary about the novella The Turn of the Screw as I did the work itself. This is classic Goth horror- with ghosts and governesses, creaky mansions and eerily ethereal tots. Is our heroine, who falls in love at the drop of a kerchief, the victim of a household haunting conspiracy or is she merely batty? What was the sinister exploit that got Miles expelled from boarding school? What connivances is Flora calculating behind her angelic blues? To whose insan ...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
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Maureen
Apr 17, 2014 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.
Helen
Jun 12, 2012 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.....
Michael
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
James wrote some of the best dark fiction of his day, and these two are, for me, his standouts. Elegant, twisted, chilling--this is rich stuff, and like a rich dessert, it forces you to slow down and savor every bite.
sanne_reads
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5* The Aspern Papers
3,5 * The Turn of the Screw - I just finished this one. I loved the creepy/spooky element and how I still don't really get what happend. I can guess at it though, and I like that.
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.
Edward
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction
Preface


--The Aspern Papers
--The Turn of the Screw

Notes
Jacques Coulardeau
The first element to clear up is the date of publication. Henry James could not at that time when he wrote this strongly anti-gay, as we would say today, novella using ghosts to create tension ignore Oscar Wilde’s Ghost of Canterville in which Oscar Wilde in 1887 makes fun of Americans who believe in ghosts so much that they can shoot peas with peashooters at them, up to the final peace agreement the Americans negotiate with that ghost. Henry James takes quite a serious approach towards the two ...more
Sierra
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Aspern Papers:
This story has all the makings of great and early James. An ambitious and ambivalent man, a woman scorned turned scornful, a ghostly figure set to watch with stormy eyes over the wrongs committed on the page, and black gondolas like lacquered coffins drifting through the midnight hung canals of Venice. There is no true romance to this tale-- the one the reader in interested in is long buried and its ghosts kept hidden-- and the false admiration between the narrator and Tina, is
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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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