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The Turn of the Screw (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – January 1, 1991
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"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
James reveled in brooding, subversive sexual undercurrents. The suspense is ethereal since nothing is sure in James's painstakingly constructed psychological panorama. What is real here? Whose innocence is being corrupted? It's all a mystery, wrapped in a riddle, cloaked in a-- well, ghost story! But riddles are meant to be solved. James has provided us all the necessary clues. The text fills barely 88 pages, but the critical interpretation, covering a century, shows the enduring capacity of 'the Screw' to engage the imagination. The analyses mirrors our changing attitudes toward children, psychology and the nature of evil. The Norton Critical Edition includes an excellent survey of various commentaries over the decades, which provide fascinating insight into contemporary mores as they were pressed into decoding James's great puzzle.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is a challenge to read his works. Very long descriptions going many directions. Must be a word smith to get through his style of writing. It is worth it in the end. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Joe
I had to read this book for a Freshman level literature class. I thought it was great! Interesting, complicated - shocking ending! Very psychological. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Molly I.
A classic by definition. Wordy. Flowery. Characters that will make you scream if you are an independent modern woman. " How will I ever get through this whole book? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tammy Hoyt
There are countless ambiguities in this book, not only in what is taking place in the governess’ mind but also in the general dialogue or events in the plot, and there are so... Read morePublished 1 month ago by fra7299
A great page-turner for Halloween that really gets you thinking!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Well he's like William Buckley, long sentences that are like shaggy dog stories , And then we have to deal with ghosts.Published 2 months ago by Bingle