Monday, November 11, 2013

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Ok, so Henry James' novella, at about 100 pages, is a little on the longer side, but I've spent the last two days reading the The Turn of the Screw and coming to know it very well, while I've been helping my daughter to convert it to a mere ten-minute dramatic interpretation. And I'll come to know it even better while I help her to rehearse, so I figured, why not share it?

On first read, I found The Turn... to be a fascinating story: Is the narrator/governess seeing ghosts? (Truman Capote said yes.) Or has she merely gone mad? (As Edmund Wilson argued.)

(Here's an essay from The New Yorker that gets into this:

I'd like to tell you that upon digging so deeply into the text, I have a conclusive answer for you, but the truth is that the deeper one digs, the more layered and obscure the narrative becomes. It's no wonder that literarians have been debating this for more than 100 years.

However, if pressed, I would tell you that I do believe the governess saw a ghost or two, AND that her fear at what was very possibly benign, grew to the point of insanity. So yes to ghosts AND yes to crazy.

But that's just my opinion. What's yours?

The Turn of the Screw:

Henry James

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