Monday, October 12, 2009

Turn of the Screw

by Henry James

I like Henry James and since this is a classic ghost story, I am surprised to say that I had never read it so I thought it would be a perfect selection for RIP IV. It is the story of a governess hired to care for a young boy and girl at their uncle’s country estate. At first everything is going well and she finds the children charming but then she starts seeing a man and a women about the estate that cannot be accounted for. I don’t want to give the plot away but I was surprised by the ending and found myself wondering if this account, allegedly written by the governess, was “true”, whether she was leading us on with her version of the events, or whether she believed the events to be true but they were really all in her head. After I read the novella I read a little bit about this story on the internet and apparently there is quite a bit of scholarly debate “over the reality of the ghosts and the sanity of the governess.” In any case it was a fun novella which has been turned into both a ballet and opera as well as tv and big screen adaptions. You can read it for yourself on line or download it from Project Gutenberg or Feedbooks.

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