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The Turn of The Screw and Other Short Novels (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – September 4, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451530675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451530677
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

''Both narrators are skilled and capable and render James' complex prose as clearly as it would be on the page, if not more so. Benjamin conveys the classic question of the governess's reliability by making her voice pleasant and reasonable yet increasingly self-justifying and high-strung . . . Through her narration the eerie, claustrophobic effect of James's tale is heightened -- just what a good audiobook should do.'' --AudioFile

''In rich and mellow tones, Vance dramatically introduces this classic ghost tale . . . Benjamin's reading of the story, in a sweet British accent, is a calming contrast . . . but when appropriate, Benjamin's tones alter the mood dramatically . . . Benjamin's accent and emotional undercurrents are just right. This excellent production highlights James' gorgeous prose and skill at creating and sustaining a mood of growing unease and horror.'' --Booklist

''This enigmatic, chilling, classic ghost story is especially well told in semivoiced narrations.'' -- SoundCommentary.com

''More than a horrific ghost story, The Turn of the Screw is an enigmatic and disturbing psychological novel that probes the source of terror in neuroses and moral degradation . . . The Turn of the Screw will continue to fascinate and to intrigue because James' 'cold artistic calculation' has so filled it with suggestiveness and intentional ambiguity that it may be read at different levels and with new revelations at each successive reading.'' --Masterpieces of World Literature --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

She is really enamored with the little boy and girl and thinks that they are near perfect.
R. Nielsen
Just remember that his book is a difficult read and will definitely make you think and wonder about a few things that were never really clarified in the end.
Kendra Juarez
James' writing was truly the best trait of this story I love how the story kept making the reader decide whether or not it was a mystery or a scary story.
Zach Telles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A. T. A. Oliveira on June 20, 2004
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.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "rtoddh" on June 11, 2004
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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on January 24, 2002
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "labibliophile" on May 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Henry James is one of my favorite authors and this novella is one of my favorite books. It's a ghost story, it's horror, it's suspense, but what set it head and shoulders above most ghost/horror/suspense stories is the fact that it's strictly psychological.
A young governess secures a position at what appears to be a lovely English manor house and she soon discovers that nothing is what is seems and things are definitely not as they should be.
James has a highly stylized way of writing and he loved using long, convoluted sentences, even when saying something quite simple. Some readers might find this a litle jarring, but for me it only adds to the atmosphere of the book.
Over the years there has been much speculation about the meaning of this story, especially the enigmatic ending. I know what I think, but I won't give anything away here. Read The Turn of the Screw yourself and be prepared for a scary evening of surprises and perhaps even a sleepless night.
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