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Ghost Stories

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,186 ratings  ·  45 reviews
With an Introduction and Notes by Martin Scofield, University of Kent at Canterbury. Henry James was arguably the greatest practitioner of what has been called the psychological ghost story. His stories explore the region which lies between the supernatural or straightforwardly marvellous and the darker areas of the human psyche. This edition includes all ten of his ghost ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Wordsworth Editions (first published 1898)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Bill Kerwin

This collection containing all of Henry James' supernatural fiction is not only a book of chilling ghost tales, but also a book of psychologically complex short stories, written by a master stylist. The first two pieces are exceptions, mere apprentice works (after beginning well, “The Romance of Old Clothes” ends melodramatically, and the wordy and unfocused “The Ghostly Rental” lacks both compelling incidents and interesting themes), but seven of the remaining eight stories are excellent, and
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories, ghosts
No collection that includes the novella, The Turn of the Screw, could rate less than five stars in my estimation but that is hardly the only reason to read this group of ghost stories. Having read James's most famous supernatural work before but being unfamiliar with the other pieces included here, I began reading optimistically but with no real preconceived ideas about how or where these tales would take me.

Written when James was twenty-five and at the beginning of his long career; the first
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Although I've marked this as 'read', I've only actually read "The romance of certain old clothes" and "The turn of the Screw". The second story being the main reason I wanted this collection. While I know it can be purchased on its own, I thought I may as well get a book that contains all his ghost stories.

While I quite liked both stories, I don't feel this is an author I can read too much of at once. I will likely revisit from time to time and read the other stories eventually. Also I'm not
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always said that Turn of the Screw is my favorite Ghost story by Henry James. But there is a short story at the end of this book called The Jolly Corner. At first I thought Oh My God, another totally abstract story that only plays with words nonsensically and you won't understand who goes where or which door opens, but then...just give it some time! This story will grab you itself and hold you and keep you!
Furthermore, there are some unforgettable scenes painted in the lines <3
Jim Smith
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amusingly my copy's cover was emblazoned with an outrageously lurid spooky skeleton monster that could not be less representative of the author's style of ghostly fiction. The Turn of the Screw is as good as everybody says it is, though not necessarily for the reasons everybody says it is, but there are other gems here also. 'Owen Wingrave', 'The Friends of the Friends', 'The Real Right Thing' and 'The Jolly Corner' are most assuredly brilliant.
Manuel Alfonseca
I have not used this edition, but have read all the stories contained in the book separately, in e-book format.
The oldest one (The romance of certain old clothes, 1868) is the one I liked less, as the reader can foresee what is going to happen from the beginning to the end. I prefer ghost stories to have some element of surprise, which in this case is fully absent.
In my opinion, the best stories in this set of ten were the following:
- The ghostly rental, an atypical ghost story with a final
Cymru Roberts
I dont think anyone would claim that this is HJ's finest work. I was surprised that he even wrote ghost stories; after reading POAL I didn't think he would ever dare to include such dramatic effect--it seemed beneath him! Maybe it's just beneath his greatest art.

It wasn't that these stories sucked, they just seemed a bit half baked. There are some great ideas that seem like they could go on to be novels in their own right, but alas, James seems to have, like the hero of "The Real Right Thing",
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, owned, horror, 2013
Ghost stories by Henry James are a true marvel. There are no creepy haunted houses, no bloody or headless apparitions, and yet his ghosts are more frightening than ever: they appear in daylight and most of them are born inside the characters themselves.

For example Sir Edmund Orme, where the apparition is mainly the manifestation of Mrs. Marden's guilt, but at the same time he appears to protect the protagonist's feelings. Or The Jolly Corner, where the main character faces an apparition (view
Kolya Matteo
I only read "The Turn of the Screw." It was strangely hard to follow - much more so than Sherlock Holmes stories, which I just read and were written at the same time. Perhaps this is because it was written in a conversational, "chatty" style, but the norms of conversation have changed enough that it's hard to reconstruct the meaning. Also, the worst "evil" that the bad guys apparently get up to is talking trash and stealing letters. Ho-hum. James says that leaving the evil up to the imagination ...more
Nancy Ellis
These stories, of course, are beautifully written from a literary viewpoint. I can imagine why they were shocking in their time, although nowadays we are conditioned to expect something really scary and shocking in a ghost story. I enjoyed the psychological aspect of some of the stories; others I found just plain boring. The Turn of the Screw, probably the most famous, is interesting in the buildup, but I found the resolution disappointing. (Forgive the sarcasm, but my impression of the ...more
Nov 16, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Kavita
Check Kindle freebies for “Owen Wingrave,” “The Friends of Friends” “The Real Right Thing,” and “The Jolly Corner”

See Bill Kerwin's overview:
Stephen Hayes
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, our-books
Nearly 50 years ago someone found a copy of The Turn of the Screw in an old house where I was staying. I recognised the author as someone quite famous, and recalled that some of his books had been set for English literature classes at the university I attended. So I read it. After a couple of chapters it seemed familiar, and I realised that the plot was the same as that of a film I had seen about ten years previously, called The Innocents.

I was rather put off by the turbid (and turgid) style,
Sep 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book 2001 or thereabouts.
Eons ago when in high school we had to read "Turn of the Screw." When asked to report on it the only thing I could say was, "This woman is crazy." It earned me a poor grade and a deep dislike for Henry James. That prejudice is with me to this day because I cannot stand his work. He is boring, long-winded, tedious, and takes forever to say what any competent author could get across with much less verbiage. If anybody out there thinks Lovecraft is needlessly
Beth Konarski
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This was pretty slow reading, but a spooky little read to settle in with on early nights.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved TURN OF THE SCREW. Rest were okay.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m reading this book right now and I have some Qs. Since English is my second language . I would be grateful if someone could help me. ...more
David Miller
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
If this review were solely for The Turn of the Screw, I would definitely be giving it more stars: it is by far one of the best executed, creepiest stories of its kind that I have ever read. Most of the stories in this collection are similarly clever, well-executed, and even a little scary, but few can match Screw in quality scares. And then there are a few that seem like missed opportunities, failing to make any kind of impression amongst the better tales. I enjoyed The Ghostly Rental, in ...more
The rockabilly werewolf from Mars
It's hard to see why Henry remains so popular in the horror genre. His stories are not especially frightening, and his writing style is irritating, to put it lightly. Compare this to the brilliant stories of M. R. James, which remain terrifying to this day. I would go as far as saying that many of his stories should be expelled from the horror canon (The Friends Of The Friends and The Romance Of Certain Old Clothes come to mind here). I will admit that one story (The Jolly Corner), has an ...more
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A satisfying group of short stories recounting the circumstances surrounding mysterious happenings (sudden deaths, feelings of another presence, apparitions). Written very much in a classical style the author creates atmosphere with his descriptions of old houses, unusual events and the feelings of the protagonists. Some of the writing is very dense with long sentences. I did find it difficult to sometimes to follow their meaning. Nevertheless the stories captured the imagination. I could relate ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite intriguing and thrilling collection of James' Ghost Stories, including the most famous one, The Turn of the Screw. You need to get used to his style, it thus takes more concentration than for contemporary ghost stories, and they are so subtle and just vaguely suggestive that you can't miss any details. But they entertain and thrill and keep the suspense masterfully. Strongly suggested to avoid reading the introduction until you finished reading the stories, both to avoid spoilers and to ...more
Becky Crecelius
Subtle and spooky, the tension in James' stories builds slowly. This is not for an impatient reader; he uses a classical writing style, and the syntax can feel cumbersome at times. My favorite story was "A Ghostly Rental".
Some of these stories I had read before, but I thought I would read all the 'ghost stories' together at one time. Perhaps not the best choice I have ever made; I struggled to get through many of the stories.
Okayish, but too self-consciously literary for my taste. I did enjoy the Turn of the Screw nonetheless!
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall pretty great, but slightly uneven. A few weren't quite as compelling as the rest. Some aren't truly ghost stories.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as I had hoped, but ok.
Marta Acosta
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few of Henry's ghost stories. What I really enjoyed was comparing his early work, some of it sublimely hokey, to his later writing.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

am re-reading this primarily for 'the turn of the screw' is every bit as unsettling as i remembered it to be...perfect for chilly dark nights!
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Henry James is flawless as always. And spooky. A bit too fastidious to be truly "scary" by today's standards.
Good read for gothic time of year.
Vince Darcangelo
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Best stories:
"The Ghostly Rental"
"Sir Edmund Orme"
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Literary Horror: Turn of the Screw (Ghost Stories of Henry James) 24 41 Jul 23, 2017 11:15AM  

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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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