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The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction (Bantam Classics) Paperback – September 1, 1981


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The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction (Bantam Classics) + The Scarlet Letter (Dover Thrift Editions) + The Great Gatsby
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reissue edition (September 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553210599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553210590
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

To read a story by Henry James is to enter a world--a rich, perfectly crafted domain of vivid language and splendid, complex characters. Devious children, sparring lovers, capricious American girls, obtuse bachelors, sibylline spinsters and charming Europeans populate these five fascinating Nouvelles --works which represent the author in both his early and late phases. From the apparitions of evil that haunt the governess in The Turn Of The Screw to the startling self-scrutiny of an egotistical man in The Beast In The Jungle, the mysterious turnings of human behavior are skillfully and coolly observed--proving Henry James to be a master of psychological insight as well as one of the finest stylists of modern English literature.

From the Inside Flap

To read a story by Henry James is to enter a  world--a rich, perfectly crafted domain of vivid  language and splendid, complex characters. Devious  children, sparring lovers, capricious American girls,  obtuse bachelors, sibylline spinsters and charming  Europeans populate these five fascinating  Nouvelles --works which represent the  author in both his early and late phases. From the  apparitions of evil that haunt the governess in  The Turn Of The Screw to the  startling self-scrutiny of an egotistical man in  The Beast In The Jungle, the mysterious  tumings of human behavior are skillfully and  coolly observed--proving Henry James to be a master of  psychological insight as well as one of the finest  stylists of modern English literature.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Great collection of short stories.
Dina Hill
James definately ranks among the best of the Realism and Naturalism authors like Twain, Dresler, Crane and Howells.
Andrew McCullough
This fascinating introduction adds considerable value to this collection.
Michael Wischmeyer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By PETER FREUND on March 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
On the surface this is a story about an either haunted or hysterical governess who juggles words with true virtuosity, stringing them into psychologically insightful sentences. But that is all just camouflage, as is the many-layered structure of this tale. When the chips are finally down, the truth emerges, even though it is never explicitly stated --- how could it possibly have been stated explicitly in 1898? --- this is a story about pedophilia and its effects on a ten year old boy. At the core of this tale lies the relationship between the boy Miles and his uncle's servant Quint at Bly, the uncle's country estate. The housekeeper Mrs. Crose informs the new governess that the too-good-to-be-true Miles had been "bad" in the past, he would disappear for hours in the company of Quint who was not only "much too free" but also engaged in "depravity." Sent off to a boarding school, Miles gets expelled for what he tells his classmates presumably about this depravity. When at the very end of the tale the governess confronts Miles about these matters, he appears to expire in the last four words of the tale's last sentence. Yet at the start of the unresolved flashback which this tale represents, Miles may yet be alive as a middle-aged family man named Douglas, who reads to his friends the whole tale as written down by the governess herself.
Is Douglas the grownup Miles? James doesn't tell, but this remains a fascinating possibility perfectly consistent with the rest of this tale. Further conflations of characters are equally well compatible with the "facts." The uncle who lived at Bly and then left his estate at the very time of Quint's accidental death doesn't want to ever again hear of his nephew or to return to Bly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCullough on March 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a good collection of Henry James' best. Each short story is a pager-turner rich with insights into American and British life at the end of the 1800's. He doesn't make his characters Romantic heroes but real, flawed, interesting and complex. James definately ranks among the best of the Realism and Naturalism authors like Twain, Dresler, Crane and Howells.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Henry James wrote in a clear, precise even-handed American style that has not grown stale despite the passage of over 100 years. The two stories that stand out here to me are the two that are usually singled out by reviewers, "Daisy Miller" and "The Turn Of The Screw", the former because of its sensual European atmospherics and the fact that even back in 1900 an American female could be considered overly outgoing or prurient by community standards, even if she was probably just an extroverted American; the latter because James effectively creates the controlled terror of a ghost story involving children at a British greathouse, perhaps a bit like Poe. But the other 3 stories all have something going for them: "The Jolly Corner", is also a ghost story,set in New York; "The Beast Of the Jungle" creates a sense of mysterious suspense within the context of a couple's love relationship, and "Washington Square" is the story of a love relationship forbidden by the girl's
sophisticated doctor father.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darth Wader on July 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although this story churns slowly and with a writing style that many of us are not used to, it makes up for it with a great, chilling story that sticks with you after the last pages are over. This is one of those books you have to read in the quiet to concentrate on each word, but it is all the quiet that can make this book scare you. James' obviously did a masterful job on the story, with his cliffhanger ending, because to this day, people are still giving their interpretation of it and what it means. And this story was published over 100 years ago, in 1898. Any author would LOVE to have people still talking about a book like that, for better or worse. I love the characters throughout this story, and you begin to wonder what exactly is going on - is she seeing ghosts? Are the kids seeing ghosts? Has she lost her mind? All good questions and at the end, you still might be scratching your head, but it is still a satsifying conclusion that lets your creative mind decipher it all. In conclusion, this book is a pretty slow read considering it's only like 100 pages, but once you get half way, you're not going to want to put it down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James M. Rawley on October 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
This contains:

The Turn of the Screw

Washington Square

Daisy Miller

The Beast in the Jungle

The Jolly Corner

and a good introduction by R. W. B. Lewis, who wrote a Pulitzer prizewinning biography of Edith Wharton.

I think those last three pieces are his best-known nouvelles, and the top two are his best-known short novels. Wow. They're a nice place to start with James, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on January 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Turn of the Screw and Washington Square are novellas. Daisy Miller is intermediate in length while The Beast in the Jungle and The Jolly Corner are short stories. All five are among the best short fiction of Henry James.

In the introduction Professor R. W. B. Lewis only marginally discusses the literary merit and artistry of these five stories; he is more concerned with developing biographical insights about Henry James himself. This fascinating introduction adds considerable value to this collection.

The Turn of the Screw (1898): A reader new to this classic work should read no reviews, no essays, no forwards, and no prefaces. I made that mistake. Without going into details, my first reading of The Turn of the Screw was unduly influenced by my knowing too much too soon. There will be plenty of time after your first reading to immerse yourself in literary criticism and reader reviews.

Washington Square (1881): When the young, handsome, articulate Morris Townsend shows interest in Catherine, Dr. Sloper immediately concludes that his true interest is her wealth, and moves to break them apart. Matters are complicated by Catherine's silly, meddlesome, and manipulative aunt, Mrs. Penniman, who functions as an uninvited go-between for the two young lovers.

My fascination with Washington Square centered not on whether Townsend was genuinely in love with Catherine, but with the way in which Catherine revealed her inner strength in managing her increasingly strained relationship with her insensitive father. Washington Square may not have achieved the full psychological subtlety and complexity desired by Henry James, but it is far from a simple, superficial tale of bitter sweet romance.
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