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The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw (1898)

by Henry James

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Penguin Books (Fiction) 592

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,5481431,054 (3.46)682
  1. 61
    The Yellow Wall-Paper {story} by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (SandSing7)
  2. 30
    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both have an unreliable narrator, which results in an ambiguous story.
  3. 30
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (alalba)
  4. 10
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (hazzabamboo)
  5. 00
    In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu (Hollerama)
  6. 00
    The Magus by John Fowles (WSB7)
    WSB7: Appearances also arise, and many more turns of the screw.
  7. 00
    The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons (sturlington)
  8. 11
    Old People and The Things That Pass by Louis Couperus (pingdjip)
    pingdjip: A Dutch classic. Like The Turn of the Screw it's about restraining, silencing, suppressing a truth that nevertheless manifests itself in subtle ways. But unlike The Turn of the Screw it's actually a very good read.
  9. 01
    Carmilla: a Vampyre Tale by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Hollerama)

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» See also 682 mentions

English (129)  French (3)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Vietnamese (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (143)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
This is a creepy book, but it takes a long time for the story to get going. The initial storytelling that introduces the within-the-story doesn't seem to have any purpose except add length to a short novel and unfortunately (for suspense) lets us know that the governess survives her fearful tale.

Once events start occurring, this does get disturbing and is certainly worth reading, especially as the first of this kind of horror. 3.5 stars. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
3.5 stars
A good ole ghost story (or is it?). The book opens on Christmas Eve with several characters sitting around the fire listening to the story of a young governess. The governess takes a new position in charge of two children and soon begins to see ghosts of two former employees from the children’s home.

It was not my favorite of his books but I enjoyed it. James, as usual, is a master at getting inside the heads of his characters. He leaves it up to the reader to draw his/her own conclusions whether this is a simple ghost story or the story of a psychotic breakdown of the governess. Nothing is really said, all is implied. The children were brilliantly creepy or angelic depending on your interpretation. A fun and creepy read.
( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
A classic ghost story which leads the reader to question much of what the narator tells them.

Some people read this (relatively) short story as the tale of the breakdown of a young woman in her first job as a governess, while others (myself included) read it as simply a ghost story.

The ambiguity allows each person to interpret it in their own way and there is certainly enough material to argue either side of the debate.

The more you think about it the more questions arise.

A good story in the way it gets you to question reality but too ambiguous to satisfy my need for clarity. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Intense? No. Boring. ( )
  killerX | Jan 8, 2016 |
Spooky old house, creepy kids, very nicely narrated free audiobook. What’s not to like? Just about everything else as far as I am concerned. The protagonist is a gabby unnamed governess who sees dead people but ain’t afraid of no ghosts. In the meantime there is something very fishy about the two beautiful children in her charge, I imagine their omega-3 level must be through the roof.

Seriously though, one must not diss the classics even if one does not like them, it is very bad form. Certainly with The Turn of the Screw Henry James leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination. He provided some vague clues about the governess, the children and the ghosts and leaves the reader to draw their own conclusion about whether the ghosts are real, what are the children’s problems? Is the governess suffering from a severe case of missing marbles? For some reason the biggest mystery seems to be why was the creepy (but cute) boy Miles expelled from school? Is it because the teachers are mean and he is just another brick in the wall? A lot of people like that the author is leaving so much for the readers to interpret for themselves. The way I see it, if I have to draw so many conclusions for myself then what am I paying him for*? Perhaps that was the whole point?

I am also surprised that some people find this book scary, I find it about as scary as an episode of Scooby Doo. The ending is not so much WTF as WTF-throw-book-at-wall.

Having said all that rubbish I have to confess that The Turn of the Screw is probably a lot better than my limited capacity to appreciate it; certainly I am not going dissuade anybody from reading it. I can at least recommend the free Librivox audio book version, beautifully read by Ms. Elizabeth Klett who has very nice enunciation and a very pleasant voice. She has also done very nice readings for a few free Jane Austen titles, also E. M. Forster, Jane Eyre etc. Thank you Miss!

* OK, I didn’t actually pay anything for it but I consider myself shortchanged!


I have just been watching the 1999 TV adaptation of The Turn of the Screw on Youtube. For me it works much better as a TV show, somebody should have told Henry James that (though he wouldn't have understood what a TV is). It is much scarier than most episodes of Scooby Doo (except the one where Shaggy turns into a werewolf, that gives me the willies).

The TV show does hint fairly heavily that the governess is several sandwiches short of a picnic, though this is not necessarily Henry James' intent. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Det rör sig om en av världslitteraturens otäckaste berättelser. Otäck inte bara för att det som händer är otäckt utan för att man inte riktigt vet vad som händer – och har hänt.

» Add other authors (90 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benjamin, VanessaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cialente, FaustaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fyhr, MattiasPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hazenberg, AnneliesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klingberg, OlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lydis, MarietteIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, DianaAdaptersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Doren, CarlIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it ws gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be, I remember no comment uttered till somebody happened to say that it was the only case he had met in which such a visitation had fallen on a child.
She was a magnificent monument to the blessing of a want of imagination...
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Book description
A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate ...

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows - silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children. Seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls.

But worse - much worse - the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.
For they want the talking dead as badly as the dead want them.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0486266842, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

One of literature's most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of 2 innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. Elegantly told tale of unspoken horror and psychological terror creates what few stories in literature have been able to do ? a complete feeling of dread and uncertainty.… (more)

» see all 27 descriptions

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Average: (3.46)
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1.5 15
2 117
2.5 45
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4.5 36
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22 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Coffeetown Press

An edition of this book was published by Coffeetown Press.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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