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Preview — The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
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The Turn of the Screw
Due to its original content, the novella became a favorite text of academics who subscribe to New Criticism. The novella has had differing interpretations, often mutually exclusive. Many critics have tried to determine the exact nature of the evil hinted at by the st ...more
'Poet and litera…moreThere'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)
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 wit ...more
...now you don’t..
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 moder ...more
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
But it's true. I didn't care for it. The governess appears seemingly out of thin air, lacks personality or any believable motivation. Her obsession with the children is either utter nonsense or perversely sexual. Neither option ...more
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
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 circumstance ...more
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 t ...more
This book reminded m ...more
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 ...more
The governess' first impression of the place was very favorable and the kids were adorable. Add to this good sal ...more
"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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I like this novella because it grabs your attention right from the start, and then it never lets you g ...more
Blue & Black or 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 woman who ...more
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
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 cle ...more
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.) ...more
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