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The Turn of the Screw

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  83,096 ratings  ·  6,072 reviews
A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governes
...more
Paperback, Penguin Popular Classics, 121 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin (first published October 1898)
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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)

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3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  83,096 ratings  ·  6,072 reviews


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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Sep 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, usa, uk
WORDS WORDS WORDS IS THE HOUSE HAUNTED WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS IS SHE CRAZY WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS ARE THEY ALL CRAZY WORDS WORDS WORDS NO IT MUST BE HAUNTED WORDS WORDS WORDS NO SHE MUST BE CRAZY WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS CRAZY WORDS SICKNESS WORDS WORDS WORDS DEATH THE END.
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
“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
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Traveller
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Now you see me,
description

...now 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?


description


description


This is one of those "what the heck??" novels that you often find in the modernist genre. Not originally classed as a moder
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Alex
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
...more
Sean Gibson
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
There is a presumption that a book, if written concurrent with a certain time period during which a ruler of notable longevity reigned and originating from an area of the world long known, during that time period in particular, for an effusiveness of style in excess of that which may be, at a minimum, absolutely required to convey a particular message or idea, may, on occasion, if not predominantly and generally, tend toward a style that, when compared and contrasted with styles of later writers ...more
Anne
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?
THIS:

description

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
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Me at 50%:
description

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 a
...more
Jibran
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british, fiction
...my imagination had, in a flash, turned real. He did stand there!

I could not decide whether I was more intrigued by the Gothic thriller or the intricate jalebi of the prose, a truly - truly - labyrinthine prose, which James employs with great effect for the purpose of dissimulation. (Folks would later dub it 'unreliable narration.') You can trust James to phrase the most simplest of ideas and situations in the most imaginative of ways without making a fool of you; but if you still insist on cl
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Amalia Gavea
“I seemed to float not into clearness, but into a darker obscure, and within a minute there had come to me out of my very pity the appalling alarm of his perhaps being innocent. It was for the instant confounding and bottomless, for if he were innocent, what then on earth was I?”

A young governess accepts a position in a beautiful estate in the English countryside, in Essex. The cosmopolitan uncle entrusts his niece and nephew into her hands and asks not to be disturbed under any circumstances.
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Henry Avila
What is real , something you see but no one else does, things stare back at you then vanish into the nothingness of oblivion, images that cannot be solid ...ARE YOU GOING INSANE ? Such is the plot of the famous Henry James novella ...The Turn of the Screw, more a study of psychological turmoil than pure terror, yet it has it too. A young unnamed woman takes a job as governess to two small children in an old house called Bly, in rural England, set in the 1800's, she needs the money desperately , ...more
Evgeny
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
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Lizzy
"It was as if, while I took in—what I did take in—all the rest of the scene had been stricken with death. I can hear again, as I write, the intense hush in which the sounds of evening dropped. The rooks stopped cawing in the golden sky, and the friendly hour lost, for the minute, all its voice. But there was no other change in nature, unless indeed it were a change that I saw with a stranger sharpness."
Oh, I was not scared (maybe just a little?) the last two days reading the The Turn of the Sc
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Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spooky-ookums, novels

Paranormal Activity 6 : The Turn of the Screw



01:25 17th AUGUST 1895 : THE GOVERNESS’ BEDROOM



04:55 23RD AUGUST 1895 : FROM THE WINDOW OF THE MAIN STAIRCASE



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
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Candi
2.5 stars rounded up.

A young governess is hired to care for the young niece and nephew of an unmarried man who acts as guardian of the two following the death of their parents. One condition must be upheld, however – the governess is not for any reason or by any means to contact her new employer. This seemed to me a daunting task and one which I am not certain would appeal to me in the least. The young governess, however, is charmed by the gentleman and agrees to his request. Her story, detaile
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James
5 stars to Henry James's The Turn of the Screw.

Perhaps America's greatest writer from our Realistic period, James's ghost story sets itself above all the rest -- and he has a lot to choose from. Consider this story a nanny's mind game - but who is in control?

I studied James in my college years, even dedicating an entire semester to several of his works as one of my independent studies in my English major. Something about the way James told stories spoke to me, and I felt a connection to him as
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Seemita
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I often embrace the notion of writing being superior than plot to the extent of salvaging a lackluster body of the latter, very close to my heart. And it is stories like these that realign my reading meter in that direction.

Henry James’ story has no flaws per se; instead, has a pollen bearing promise to turn into a full feather. A series of apparition that haunts the governess of a house, driving her to cast her net of suspicion across all the residents, primarily the children, makes for a premi
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
May 10, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Michael
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Without giving anything away, what I love about this story is the creepy atmosphere and the ambiguity, right up to the ambiguity of the ending, where James doesn't quite resolve the competing images that he's placed in the reader's mind--images of what exactly has happened to the children and who exactly the governess is (mad? murderous? a witness to supernatural possession?).
Paul Bryant
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litcrit


It is the worst thing in the world to leave children with servants.
Maria Edgeworth , Practical Education, 1798

Of all the vulgar superstitions of the half educated, none dies harder than the absurd delusion that there is no such thing as ghosts.
William T Stead, Real Ghost Stories, 1897

The T of the S is a very mechanical matter, I honestly think – an inferior, a merely pictorial, subject and rather a shameless pot-boiler.
Henry James in a letter, 1898

Come, let us enter what Wayne Booth called “t
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Caz (littlebookowl)
2.5 stars.
Interesting, this one...
Carol
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
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 boy......here we go, but my hopes were soon short lived.

Besides a couple of suspicious deaths and the strang

...more
Robin
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delectable ambiguity

Is the young, nameless governess in charge of two creepily perfect children losing her mind? Or are there ghosts on the premises, appearing to and influencing the kiddies, and scaring her half to death? This is the see-saw you'll ride when you read this, and there's no right answer. Though, there are plenty of academics and otherwise who have argued both sides.

If you think you're going to read this book, and "figure it out", forget about it. It was written with artful cleve
...more
Diane
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ooh, what a fantastic ghost story! I've been meaning to read more Henry James, and this was such a fun gothic thriller that I'm even more impressed with his range of works.

The story is that a governess goes to an English country house to take charge of two orphaned children, Miles and Flora. The governess is told she must manage everything herself and not disturb the children's uncle, who is their guardian. Soon the governess is alarmed when she sees an unknown man and woman around the estate, a
...more
Perry
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Ghost Story or An Intense Psychological Study
Blue & Black vs. Gold & White


This ghost story/novella, written by Henry James and published in 1898, has generated considerable debate among writers, readers and critics over the hundred plus years since, on whether it's a ghost story (e.g., Truman Capote) or a character study (e.g., Edmund Wilson). Your interpretation largely turns on whether you believe the unnamed female governess is mad. If so, you see this as a character study of a wo
...more
Chrissie
Finally, a mystery that I really like. A creepy Gothic mystery. The question is if the governess is crazy. Are the apparitions only in her head? I will not tell you what else she does. Or does she? You are meant to think. You are not reading this to be given definitive answers. We each draw our own conclusion. I like the ambiguity. I like that readers can discuss this from all different angles.

I like this novella because it grabs your attention right from the start, and then it never lets you g
...more
Char
Narrated by Emma Thompson, I enjoyed re-reading this classic, gothic novella for the third time.

I know many readers are not impressed by this book, but I enjoyed it, (again). I know it's rather verbose, especially considering the length of the book, but I found more than a few of the sentences to be outright chilling.

I've always loved psychological horror and ambiguous stories, so this one hits most of the marks for me. My original rating of the book, at 4 stars, stands.
Werner
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of supernatural fiction
Note, Oct. 21, 2016: Following my third reading of this novella, I've just completely updated my review, not in any way to change the interpretation, but rather to focus more strictly on discussion of the text itself, rather than underlying critical assumptions about it. (Those will be more properly addressed in a separate review of A Casebook on Henry James's The Turn of The Screw, which I hope will follow later this month.) I was hesitant to significantly rewrite the review once 32 people had ...more
Mir
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Kelly
Jun 02, 2007 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
...more
P-eggy
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
"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.
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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
“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!” 44 likes
“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was. But I gave myself up to it; it was an antidote to any pain, and I had more pains than one.” 30 likes
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