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The Turn of the Screw & In the Cage
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The Turn of the Screw & In the Cage

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  320 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition brings together one of literature's most famous ghost stories and one of Henry James's most unusual novellas. In The Turn of the Screw, a governess is haunted by ghosts from her young charges past; Virginia Woolf said of this masterpiece of psychological ambiguity and suggestion, We are afraid of something unnamed, of somethin ...more
Paperback, Modern Library Classics, 231 pages
Published May 8th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1898)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-usa


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!"

The Turn of the Screw was originally published in 1898. This novella is widely acknowledged as one of literature's most suspenseful ghost stories. It is a classic tale of moral decline which depicts, through the eyes of their governess, the malevolent transformation of two innocent children into brazen liars and hypocrites.

Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Another book I read as a supplement to my Deleuze and Guattari A Thousand Plateaus reading group. In A Thousand Plateaus, D&G use "In the Cage" and Fitzgerald's "The Crack Up" as examples of how novellas differ from novels and how writing can effect the reader and the world (and a example to their philosophy).

But before I get to that, I need to say that I hated "In the Cage" for a good many pages. I haven't read James in awhile and I forgot how his words and sentences are themselves vast cag
Frank Stein
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the best ghost stories I have ever read. Part of it is that sense of unfathomable dread that James conjures so well, but here, unlike in, say, H.P Lovecraft, the dread seems all so human. The fact that James himself was later so dismissive of the book made me even more curious. Its like the book revealed more than he wanted it to. It centers around a precocious child inducted into supernatural and "corrupting" mysteries before his time, and gives more than a hint of what might have happen ...more
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
My first exposure to Henry James was this tight little psycho-drama of a ghost story. Turn of the Screw is one of those amazing novellas that twist the reader back and forth. The reader spins between the extremes of believing the narrator, and her fear of actual ghosts, is legitimate AND believing she is simply mad. James' story turns on this dilemma. One slight rotation to the right and all bets are off.

For a ghost story, I was far more creeped out by the two 'angelic' children, the vacant set
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Both novellas are written in an older style and take a little time getting used to.
I was interested in reading The Turn of the Screw because I saw The Innocents. Interestingly enough, I feel the book gives the impression that the governess is a nutjob while the movie gives the impression the children are the dark element.
The other novella, In the Cage, is almost a 180 from the tone set by the other novella. It is almost entirely composed of the thoughts of the main character. Having very littl
Todd Thompson
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Gothic fix, crafty story-telling, and carefully rendered taboo subject matter, make this novella by Henry James a unique pleasure to read. Steeped in the mysteries of humanity's darker side, the thin line between good and evil, lucidity and insanity, becomes blurred, and James does not bother to resolve it.
Meredith Cenzer
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
The Turn of the Screw: Pretty classic feel for the end of the 1800s, a little mystery, a little romance.

In the Cage: This felt much more modern, almost a Joyce feeling in his more literal works. You really get into this character's head, and what's there is not altogether appealing.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Jul 02, 2014 marked it as neglected_deprived_and_languishing
The Turn of the Screw
Date I read this book: September 12th, 2014

On Christmas Eve ghost stories are being told around the fire and Douglas says his will chill them to their very bones, but he will only tell it in the words of his friend, who at the time was a young governess. Douglas sends away for her journal, which she gave to him for safe keeping after her death, and when it arrives he begins the story. The young governess is hired by the attractive uncle of two children, Miles and Flora. He
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I guess I should have seen it coming, that this book wasn't for me, but, well, school is school, so I read the first of the two novels in it: The Turn of the Screw.

Let's begin with this. It isn't bad per se, just absolutely not my type of story. Ghost stories are not bad neither, but gothic, almost Christian, ghost stories are not exactly my thing. I had a hard time with the repetitions about how the main character saw the children, about how she felt and saw the apparitions. All in all, the stu
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Talk about a weird book and one that was hard to follow and understand at times. At least it's done now.

*Only read In the Cage by Henry James. I may try reading The Turn of the Shrew later because I've heard that it's good.
Devyn Duffy
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: (not recommended)
Recommended to Devyn by: saw it at the library
An odd combination of two very different stories.

The Turn of the Screw is a horror story that many people love but didn't do anything for me. It's a big buildup to almost no payoff. The mood is sinister but other than one sudden thing, not much actually happens.

In the Cage is a story of a worker in a telegraph/post office and how she amuses herself by reading the secrets of the customers who give her telegrams to send. I found it much more interesting than The Turn of the Screw, but James hold
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Two classic novellas hinging on perception and ambiguity from the ever-wordy Henry James. Turn of the Screw scared the daylights out of me when I read the abbreviated version as a child. The carefully couched phrases of the original somewhat dull the horror (at least for this modern reader), but the creep factor of the tale still manages to shine through. In the Cage left me cold, and completely unsurprised that it's not more frequently anthologized.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it liked it
To be fair I would give just The Turn of the Screw four stars and In the Cage 2 or 3. The Turn of the Screw was a very good creepy ghosty story. Totally recommended. In the Cage is about an idiot woman who falls in love with a man she doesn't know--oh the pining--...thhhppppt.
Nov 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Turn of the Screw was our bookclub selection for October. I had tried Henry James Portrait of a Lady in college and couldn't get hooked. I liked this better from a historical perspective, but not for enjoyment reading. I actually liked In In The Cage better than The Turn of the Screw.
Scottsdale Public Library
Turn of the Screw is one of the creepiest tales ever written! Slasher films have nothing on this classic. The subtlety of James' writing only adds to the unease you feel as you get further and further into this ghost (?) story. - Aimee F.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
I only read Turn of the "classic" that I had to look up on sparknotes to see what I was missing!
Karise Doub
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not a big fan, although the writing was excelent. You can read it two ways; one as a simple ghost story with the governess as a hero, or two, that same governess is a sexually hungup phsycopath!
Nov 12, 2007 added it
Still reading it... but so far I'm impressed by how creepy it is.
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
Uh... Yeah. To each their own, I guess...
Nov 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this eerie tale...
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was disappointing. Maybe it was never scary, or maybe it just didn't age well, but I found it confusing more than anything else.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found the Turn of the Screw very enjoyable. In the Cage not so much. I also have to say that most critiques on these works have definite and questionable biases.
Dec 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I really loved the creepy gothic ghost story "the Turn of the screw". However, I was bored and uninterested by "In the Cage."

This was my first Henry James and I will definitely read more.
Jan 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
In the Cage: nothing exciting, but Turn of the Screw would be great for anyone that likes Jane Eyre.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: spooky, supernatural
People always talk about this being one of the greatest ghost stories of all time. I don't get it.
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: must-reads
Read The Turn of the Screw.
Jun 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I made it through The Turn of the Screw. I didn't really like it. It was a really creepy story. I like many of his other stories much better. I didn't get to In the Cage. Maybe another time.
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
(This rating is for "The Turn of the Screw" only.)
Shayne Gerke
rated it it was ok
Jun 16, 2011
rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2014
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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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