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The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  7,026 ratings  ·  299 reviews
'The apparition had reached the landing half-way up and was therefore on the spot nearest the window, where, at the sight of me, it stopped short'

Oscar Wilde called James's chilling The Turn of the Screw 'a most wonderful, lurid poisonous little tale.' It tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a sense
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 272 pages
Published June 26th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1898)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,026 ratings  ·  299 reviews

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Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 19-ce, fiction, uk
“A Turn of the Screw” is fabulous. I wish all his works, especially his later ones, were as ecstatically readable.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well, you certainly have to concentrate on the prose in this one; be prepared to pay attention.

A classic story with a classic question. Did all this really happen as the governess tells it? Were the children really possessed by the malevolent spirits of their dead servants? Was the governess really a half-crazy repressed old maid victim of Victorian society who in turn victimized her young charges? I prefer the former, but either one is horrifying in its own way.

Although a certain type of woman,
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was planning on buying The Turn which was 3euros but i found this edition with two stories for the same price. didn't expect to care for the second story but i ended up enjoying both of them 👌.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Turn of the Screw is a haunting and creepy novella published in 1898 about a female caretaker of two orphaned children in the country home of the children's uncle. The caretaker believes that the house and grounds are haunted. Other people employed at the residence are not sharing the same experiences as the nanny and so it could be that there really is something evil hovering around the country estate or the entire scenario is playing out only in the mind of the nanny. It is up to the reade ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bandolier designers
Shelves: fiction, own

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

"So she went 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."


They hung fire.

"Everything depended on when she went -"

"When she went? Why? Because of -"

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


"Well - you cou
Roy Lotz
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
«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
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-white-square
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it

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

Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I bought this book in order to read The Turn of the Screw and ended up enjoying the other story, The Aspern Papers, more than I did The Turn of the Screw.

The Aspern Papers- 4 Stars
I thought James did an amazing job of building tension in the Aspern Papers. Will the historian get the papers he so longs for? Should he even have them? What will he do to get them? What will the women who possess the papers do to them? And just what is her story? I read this short story with eagerness and bated breat
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
Melissa Jackson
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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,
Hannah Polley
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, henry-james
These are two creepy stories by Henry James.

The Aspern Papers - in this story, the main character lies his way into the home of a former lover of his favourite writer. He believes the woman has unpublished material from the writer. He pretends to love the woman's niece and she makes sure they are not destroyed when her aunt dies. However, the niece will only let him see them if he is a relative (marries her) and he walks out in disgust. After taking a night to think about it, he goes back to the
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
You can read my full review of The Turn Of The Screw at Keeping Up With The Penguins.

Henry James could never be accused of being concise. The Turn Of The Screw is what he called a “tale” – a fictional story with a single plot, too long to be a “short story” (today we call them novellas). James loved ghost stories – and he wrote quite a few – but he was bored by the tropes of the genre. He preferred stories that, as he put it, “embroidered the strange and sinister onto the very type of the normal
Jun 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
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
Nerdish Mum
Review to follow.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: re-reading
Wasn't as good as I remembered. Is anything ever?
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
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
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, classics
I actually finished this about a week ago but due to a minor disaster at home I didn't have access to my laptop for a while.

This is the second time that I've read Turn of the Screw, I think its a great book but it doesn't rank up there with my favourites unfortunately.

The pacing was extremely slow and the ambiguous style was all to obvious from the get go, Miles and Flora were both great and they certainly added to the suspense in the book (the mischievousness of Miles especially, for example wh
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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Gothic Literature: The Turn of the Screw 28 54 Jun 14, 2016 12:25PM  
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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