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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts in December, 18 May 2008
This review is from: The Turn of the Screw (Penguin Popular Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
It's been over a hundred years since Henry James' novella was published. I'm sure readers at the time were spooked by its tale of ghosts threatening the innocence of two children, and the attempts of a quasi-hysterical governess to save them. It was that period of the Victorian era when séances and ghosts were popular, when spiritists promised to bridge the road between the living and the dead. People enjoyed sitting around a fire and sharing ghost stories, specially during Christmas time.

But times have changed and this novella is now more interesting as a controversial piece of lit crit rather than a frightening ghost story. Did the ghosts in the story really exist? Or was it all part of the governess' imagination? You are never given the answers. One interesting question which resonates with today's world is what kind of "evil" was inflicted on the children. It's suggested that a deceased governess and her lover did "depraved" things to the children, only to later return as ghosts in order to continue their evil influence. But what kind of evil exactly?

If you enjoy puzzles and hard-to-read English writing, this novella is for you; if you are after an easy page-turner, you are better off looking elsewhere.
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