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The Turn of the Screw Paperback – 22 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 98 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (22 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1497415659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1497415652
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Ventos on 18 July 2014
Format: Paperback
After a framing device (old house, group of friends, fireside, Christmas, locked manuscript) a standard Gothic scenario takes off: a new governess arrives at an isolated mansion, whose owner is absent, to look after his orphaned nephew and niece. The kids are darlings – but sinisterly _too_ good and ideal – and there’s that Strange Face At The Window. Et cetera. The tension builds because (as often, it seems, in this era (publ 1898)) no-one’s willing to talk openly to anyone else about anything. The owner won’t get involved at all; the governess doesn’t write to Miles’ headmaster to find out why he’s been expelled (and even more peculiarly, the headmaster doesn’t seem to feel obliged to offer any reason); she won’t talk to the children or to the housekeeper (except eventually); and the other servants are obviously beneath significance. This unwillingness to investigate a mystery that is seriously screwing her up made me frustrated with the unnamed governess. Similarly, I struggled with her immediate belief that Quint is ‘evil’ based on little more than his appearance, and his status as ‘base menial’ who apparently dared to date the former governness, and to befriend the little boy. (Well, he does drink and possibly sleeps around a bit – but ‘evil’ seems too strong for those habits?) But I liked the scenes dealing with her relationship with these angel-children, of the kind so common to Victorian novels, who perhaps aren’t really such angels after all. The story certainly has lingered in my mind, thanks more to the unresolved ambiguities about childhood than to its snobbish narrowness, its holey plot or its unsurprising setting.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By George Mitchell on 17 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
I have not read the book yet, as it is one for our book club to discuss in January.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 59 reviews
88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
The Others 20 Jun. 2004
By A. T. A. Oliveira - Published on
Format: Paperback
Today's readers may not find Henry James's masterpiece "The Turn of the Screw" as creepy as it was when first published. To begin with, there is no gore in the book --the moments of horror are so subtle, but they get under one skin.
"The Turn of the Screw" was first published as a serialized novel in Collier's Weekly. After that it was published in the novel format, both in England and USA. When James wrote this novella was a period of increase of the popularity of spiritual issues. Many people were searching for new ways of explaining death, and they were also loosing their Christian faith. Many were trying to communicate with the Other Side.
But the dead in the novella, as James once stated, are not ghosts, as we know them. However, this belief persisted through time, and even today, most readers assume that Peter Quint and Miss Jessel are spectrums or a so-called entity.
On the form, "The Turn of the Screw" has some innovations. Prior to James, most novels were written through one point of view --this narrator told the story and the characters and actions are under his/her way of viewing, judgments, and conclusions. On the other hand, most of James's novels count with a difference: the narrator/character is not aware of everything. In this particular novella, we see the story through the eyes of governess and we know as little as she. Not only she, but also we, has a limited knowledge of the events.
Much can be concluded from the story --it is impossible to have a definitive conclusion. Some say the governess was a good character fighting against evil to protect the two children. But some scholars have researched and concluded that, as a matter of fact, the governess had a troubled mind. In 1934, Edmund Wilson wrote an essay that has become one of the most influential works on Henry James's ambiguity. Based on Freudian theory, Wilson argues that the governess's sexual repression leads her to neurotically imagine and interpret ghosts.
However, postmodernism have led critics to a different conclusion, which adds the two main chains of sturdy of "The Turn of the Screw". Not only are the ghosts in the novel, but the governess can also be mad. For these scholars, every incident can be interpreted as to prove that the governess is mad and to prove that there are ghosts. This irresolvable controversy makes James's work so brilliant and timeless.
Now it is up to each reader to find his/her own ghosts in this brilliant novella --so short and so deep and complex. Contemporary readers may be stunned and still scared with the smartness of the text. As the first narrator introduces the text, he says in the first line "the story had held us", "The Turn of the Screw" will hold every sophisticated reader in his/her seat.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The Reason Henry James Continues to Enthrall 11 Jun. 2004
By "rtoddh" - Published on
Format: Paperback
A story told over a hundred years ago, and still sparking serious debate over its intention? Henry James must be proud. Now I like clear writing even more than the next fellow, but I find I really like the ambiguity and startling turns that both the dialogue and the plot take in Henry James's stories. The answers to the simplest questions put to a character always elicit an unexpected response. This makes it tough on a reader, who lazily expects direct, routine answers. It's unsettling and challenging to understand what these characters say, and mean, by their responses.
So, I think that the charm of Henry James is that the reader is asked to use his own imagination in interplay with the writing. It's a puzzle, and the more imagination one brings, the more fascinating the characters. You'll note how little physical description James uses for a character like Mrs. Grose, allowing the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks.
Each generation sees something different in the story. Originally viewed as a ghost story, it was later reviewed to be a Freudian tale, told by an unreliable narrator. Sexual overtones affected the narrative of the governess, making the reader question what she saw, and what she says others saw. This ambigous reality reached not only to perception of the ghosts, but of the actions and motives of the children.
However, I was struck as a 21st Century reader by the awful plight of Miles, the ten-year-old boy asked not to return to school for reasons the school never explains. It is only in the last chapter, when Miles and the governess are alone together, where the governess uses language that seems to promise carnal pleasure to Miles, that the most startling aspect of Miles character is revealed. Abruptly asked whether he was discharged accused of stealing, he instead admits to having told things to "those few he liked." They in turn told others they liked, and it eventually reached the head master. This beautiful, sensitive, intelligent boy was trapped and mortified by the things he said to the few he liked, and only reluctantly reveals this to the Governess. It is left to the reader's imagination what Miles may have said, but given Henry James's own sexuality, much may be supposed.
Then the Governess alerts Miles to the ghost that she has been seeing during their conversation, and she thinks, has been protecting Miles from. He supposes she means the prior governess, who had been "haunting" his younger sister. Instead, in horror, he hears that she means deceased Peter Quint, an unsavory manservant with a penchant for wearing his master's clothes and an interest in the children. Quint's death was unexplained but violent one night as he was coming from town. Can it be that he and Miles had a relationship that causes Miles to be so ashamed and fearful that he dies rather than face his tormentor? It is ambiguous, but the possibility, so real to the reader, does not seem to occur to the governess, who in her zeal to protect Miles, has pushed him to confront the one horror that he could not survive, in order to save him from the ghost she alone sees.
Great story, requiring careful attention, but the ideas have inspired arguments among generations of readers.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Complex ghost story 24 Jan. 2002
By Westley - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is clearly a classic, but as many of the reviews reflect, it is not for every audience. Many of the reviewers here are in high school...when I went to high school I had several friends who read this book and were equally unimpressed with it. I read it in my late twenties and was blown away with the combination of elaborate language, complex psychological thrills, and genuine scares. The book must have been quite shocking to its initial audience, and within this context, it still is a shocker. Read this book and focus on the psychological aspects, and you'll likely have a good time. Incidentally, the book was made into a brilliant movie, "The Innocents," starring Deborah Kerr.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A little rhyme 3 Feb. 2007
By Susan K. Schoonover - Published on
Format: Paperback
This story involves two ghosts

And some children perhaps their hosts.

Has their young governess gone quite mad?

Are or these children possessed and bad?

Questions, questions are all we see

No clear answers are going to be.

Henry James wrote this great ghost tale

And its worthiness does prevail.

So read this book and get a chill

Excellent writing enjoyed still.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Do you believe in ghosts? 23 Oct. 2004
By Jonathan Appleseed - Published on
Format: Paperback
I brought a considerable amount of bias to this story; after all, it has been hailed as the greatest ghost story ever written by so many literary critics, and it is difficult to set aside such prophesies of adulation.

I wasn't terribly disappointed.

Henry James has a style of writing that doesn't appeal to everyone. Certainly not to people expecting fast paced thrillers written by Dan Brown, or horror glock by Stephen King. His style is slow, psychological, in some places almost operatic. But there were strong points and weak points, and those are clearly delineated here. The introduction is fabulously alive and sparkles with tension, as do all of the sequences where characters interact with each other. When we are left alone in the mind of the governess, who is either a prescient seer or a hopeless neurotic, the immediacy of the writing slows considerably.

Unfortunately, we are in the mind of the governess for the majority of the story.

Still, it's a fascinating tale, rife with subtlety and passion, and considerable suspense. What did the young master do at school that caused him to be sent home, when he appears to be such a perfect angel? What is the nature of the apparitions the governess sees? What affect, if any, do these apparitions have on the two children in her care?

The ending itself is ingenious, and quite a shock. It answers many questions, but leaves just as many unanswered. You'll need to connect the dots yourselves, for James doesn't give much away.
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