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The Turn of the Screw (Annotated)
August 13, 2013  /  130 pages  (is this book fiction or nonfiction?)
This ebook includes a biographical introduction, a short, critical analysis of James' career and a brief introduction to this work.

Originally published in 1898 by Macmillan, The Turn of the Screw is a novella that might or might not be a ghost story. The plot, as described by a third party narrator, follows the experiences of a governess at a country estate in Essex whose task it is to look after two small children the parents of which have recently died. The governess begins to see a man and a woman around the estate, neither of whom she recognises, though she suspects that they are apparitions of the previous governess, Miss Jessel and her lover Peter Quint.

The Turn of the Screw is famed for its ambiguity, enabling the reader to interpret the story in more than one way, perhaps seeing Jessel and Quint as ghost, or maybe believing that the governess is actually insane. James' abilities as a writer make this possible but they also give a sense of his perceptiveness for character development and using character to shape reader's impressions.

The story has some obvious gothic leaning, principally with the use of setting, especially old structures, to provide atmosphere. There are also obvious references to Jane Eyre with a new governess becoming overwhelmed with an oppressive environment and pray to family secrets.
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