The Turn of the Screw & The Aspern Papers, Paperback Book

The Turn of the Screw & The Aspern Papers Paperback

Part of the Wordsworth Classics series

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Claire Seymour, University of Kent at Canterbury. The Turn of the Screw is the classic ghost story for which James is most remembered.

Set in a country house, it is a chilling tale of the supernatural told by a master of the genre. The Aspern Papers is a tale of Americans in Europe, a theme in which Henry James is at his most assured and accomplished.

The author cleverly evokes the drama of comedie humaine against the settings of a Venetian palace.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9781853260698

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

"The Turn of the Screw"<i>It may be of course above all what suddenly broke into this gives the previous time a charm of stillness - that hush in which something gathers or crouches. The change was actually like the spring of a beast.</i>More enjoyable than "The Aspern Papers", but I still wouldn't call myself a fan of Henry James. Is the current governess correct about the malevolent presence of the ghosts of the manservant and ex-governess and their malign influence on the two young children in her care? Or is she merely a neurotic imagining things? Who knows."The Aspern Papers"I hated the story and all the characters. I hoped that the horrible old woman would lose her papers, but didn't want the loathsome critic to get what he wanted either, and wished that the pathetic niece would either get a grip or throw herself in the canal.<i>1/2 a star for the Aspern Papers, 3 stars for The Turn of the Screw, so I'll give it 2 stars overall.</i>

Review by

As with every tale of horror “The Turn of the Screw” isolates the primary character, in this case the governess of two young children. It also isolates those around her as it takes place in a country home to which “The Master” never visits and from whence he wants no news or communications.Within the residence the governess is the highest authority, followed by the housekeeper with the other servants being a social level further down in the pecking order.The children in the care of the governess are, of course, the focus of the entire household.There are several levels of isolation. As mentioned above, The Master minimised his contact with the household. The governess, while spending most of her time with the children is cautious of them and, as the substance of the story emerges she begins to distrust their manner and hence isolates herself from them.The governess does, however, feel a level of affinity with the housekeeper but a difference in intellectual level is clearly identified and this, along with the expectations of their different positions in the household, limits the degree of association between the two women. For the climax of the story the housekeeper is removed from the scene entirely, along with one of the children. This serves to further isolate the governess.Of course, the governess will have no social association with the other servants apart from being the recipient of the services provided by them within the remit of their function.<spoiler>When Henry James organised his stories into categories he did not put “The Turn of the Screw” with his ghostly tales, but rather with his psychological stories. I can understand this. It was only the governess who observed the ghostly appearances. The story was a narration based on the writings of the governess. I questioned the alacrity of her story and believe we are dealing with an unreliable narrator.</spoiler>I enjoyed this story as a ghost story, but also as a tale that can be interpreted as something else; a psychological tale of a person’s self delusion and her slow descent into paranoia.

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