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The Turn of the Screw: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – 2 Sep 1999
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Much imitated ... but no one comes near the finesse of the master (The Times)
Timelessly unsettling (Guardian) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Henry James (1843-1916), American novelist and critic, was an innovator in technique and a distinctive prose stylist. More than any previous writer, James refined the technique of narrating a novel from the point of view of a character, thereby laying the foundations of modern stream-of-consciousness fiction. Among his many acclaimed novels are "The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, The Golden Bowl, "and "The Wings of the Dove.".
Jonathan Warren is an Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle.
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Top Customer Reviews
Written in 1898, this is superficially the tale of a governess who accepts the job of teaching two beautiful, young children whose uncle-guardian wants nothing to do with them. On a symbolic level, however, it is a study of the mores and prejudices of the times and, ultimately, of the nature of Evil. The governess fears that ghosts of the former governess Miss Jessel and her lover, valet Peter Quint, have corrupted the souls of little Flora and Miles and have won them to the side of Evil. The children deny any knowledge of ghosts, and, in fact, only the governess actually sees them. Were it not for the fact that the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, can identify them from the governess's descriptions, one might be tempted to think that the governess is hallucinating.
Though the governess is certainly neurotic and repressed, this novel was published ten years before Freud, suggesting that the story should be taken at face value, as a suspenseful but enigmatic Victorian version of a Faustian struggle for the souls of these children. The ending, which comes as a shock to the reader, is a sign that such struggles should never be underestimated. As is always the case with James, the formal syntax, complex sentence structure, and elaborately constructed narrative are a pleasure to read for anyone who loves language, formality, and intricate psychological labyrinths. Mary whipple
‘TTOTS’ is an excellent example of ambiguous writing. Even at the shocking conclusion, it is not clear if we have just read a ghost story or an example of psychological fiction. It is difficult to say too much without giving too much away about the story, but every event, or encounter with the ghostly figures, has two interpretations. It is very cleverly written, and all the more spooky because of it.
Having said all that, I am not a fan of James’ writing style. The only other book of his that I have read (‘The Ambassadors’) has tortuously constructed sentences that are painful to read. This is also true of ‘TTOTS’. Fortunately, the story of the title is easily gripping enough for this not to be a problem, but the rest of this collection is instantly forgettable because of it. Nevertheless, it is well-worth a read as one of the greatest spooky stories ever told.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first element to clear up is the date of publication. Henry James could not at that time when he wrote this strongly anti-gay, as we would say today, novella using ghosts to... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Quite difficult to understand initially and rather intense but worth persevering with Well written if rather stilted in style seemed that the author wax troubled in some way by the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
James, Henry. Washington Square.
Of all Henry James’s misunderstood and abused heroines, Catherine Sloper is the saddest. Read more
A compulsory text for my English Literature degree. It is a good sound novel to apply theories to but I didn't particularly enjoy it.Published 6 months ago by Sophie Riley
Not an easy read or a very satisfying one, but a classic ghost story that has to be read.Published 7 months ago by Jules5691
Type was too small so I can't read it.
I must have bought that edition by mistake.
Stick to penguin in future.