The Turn of the Screw
Henry James, 1898
~100 pp. (varies by publisher
All goes well...for a while...until there appear sightings of a large, menacing man. The Governess describes him to the Housekeeper, who immediately identifies him as the former valet, Peter Quint. But Quint is dead—as is the former governess, Miss Jessel, who also makes herself known. Both apparitions seem to possess a powerful, malignant hold over the children.
The story is absolutely chilling. Yet it's never clear whether the Governess has truly seen the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel—or whether they are figments of a deteriorating mental state. Has anyone other than the Governess actually seen them? Yes...? No...?
Read very carefully. What are we dealing with—pure, unrepentant evil...sexual repression in a Victorian culture...or something else? Book clubs will certainly have a lively discussion as to what this story is all about.
See our Reading Guide for The Turn of the Screw.
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