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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying tale
Unlike some of the other reviewers here I still think this is the creepiest book I've ever read, and all the more terrifying for the fact that James never articulates what's going on - he simply leaves your imagination to float free and conjure up all your worse nightmares. Yes, he's never an easy read (though this is far more accessible than Wings of the Dove, The Golden...
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by Roman Clodia

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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Base menials
Henry James is a prime aristocrat, a not always very subtle defender of the leisure class. Two short stories in this bundle show it profusely.

In `The Turn of the Screw', two aristocratic children are haunted by two `base menials' (`You reminded him that Quint was only a base menial?'). Henry James fears really that the higher classes will be contaminated and...
Published on 6 Dec 2006 by Luc REYNAERT


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying tale, 27 Jun 2008
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Unlike some of the other reviewers here I still think this is the creepiest book I've ever read, and all the more terrifying for the fact that James never articulates what's going on - he simply leaves your imagination to float free and conjure up all your worse nightmares. Yes, he's never an easy read (though this is far more accessible than Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl etc) but I think his very stately, mannered sentences and diction actually add to the horror of the story. Don't read this if you're expecting Stephen King or The Exorcist - James expects his readers to make the effort to read properly. Someone called this (possibly James himself?)'the most poisonous little tale I could imagine' and I think that's a perfect description - when I re-read it, it was on the tube with bright lights and lots of people around as I couldn't face reading it at home alone!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly, 17 Sep 2012
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Only just started to read the story but it feels chilling. The speed which you can get the books from kindle is brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Gothic - Brilliant, 4 Jun 2014
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Convoluted sentences that are to be expected - not necessarily an easy read, but very gripping and enjoyable. I recommend. I also love the ambiguity of the sentence structures and how they can mean different things, which only adds to the delightful confusion over what actually goes/went on.
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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Base menials, 6 Dec 2006
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Henry James is a prime aristocrat, a not always very subtle defender of the leisure class. Two short stories in this bundle show it profusely.

In `The Turn of the Screw', two aristocratic children are haunted by two `base menials' (`You reminded him that Quint was only a base menial?'). Henry James fears really that the higher classes will be contaminated and corrupted by the lower classes: `I should continue to defer to the old tradition of the criminality of those caretakers of the young who minister to superstition and fears.'

The evil comes out of the lower classes, `For the love of all the evil that the pair (of servants) put into them.'

At the end, one of the children succumbs to the same fate as the child in `Erlkoenig' by Goethe, Erlkoenig being the quintessence of the evil force, the killer of innocence.

In `Owen Wingrave' (masterly transformed into an opera by Benjamin Britten), the main character refuses to step into the tradition of his ancestors and to become a soldier (and die on the battlefield). On the contrary, he calls war an overwhelming stupidity, the `crash barbarism'. He doesn't understand `why nations don't tear to pieces the governments, the rulers that go for them.'

For Henry James, the ideas and the behavior of Owen Wingrave are like `falling in love with a low girl.'

At the end, Owen is slain by the ghost of one of his ancestors, dying on his own battlefield (for his ideas). The last words of the story (`gained field') would mean that the aristocracy has adopted the `anti-war' policy.

These perfectly constructed and brilliantly written stories reveal Henry James's real obsession: preserve the `purity' of his kind.
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1 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Henry James at his best., 10 May 2001
This collection includes the classic Turn of the Screw. It is a story about a nanny in a large country house and its eerie occurrences. "Friends of the Friends" is a similarly creepy story about death.
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