"The Turn of the Screw is a novella written by Henry James. Originally published in 1898, it is a ghost story."
This is another title where I messed up. No, I didn't think there was a discussion group on this one. I was in my car without my book list and just randomly picked something on my iPod. I thought the only things on my iPod were on my To Read List (on my side bar). Evidently not. I was well into it before I was home again to check the list, so I finished. Yes, I did clean up my iPod.
By today's standards, this was not a scary book. But I have to say I am glad I was not home alone for the week and it was not dark when I read it. I would have been scared of windows. . .
The title sounded so familiar to me, I thought I had read it in school. But as I listened, it was all new to me, so it just must be a famous title.
I liked this book. It was a very quick read (it is a novella/4 audio hours). I listened to the whole thing on one day. It was a fun book to read that way (in daylight).
Here is a portion of the Context Section from SparkNotes. The rest of the section gives away the plot, I have only copied the 'safe' section here:
"Henry James (1843–1916), whose mastery of the psychological novel markedly influenced twentieth-century literature, was born in New York City. His father, Henry James, Sr., was an unconventional thinker who had inherited considerable wealth. James, Sr., became a follower of Swedenborgian mysticism, a belief system devoted to the study of philosophy, theology, and spiritualism, and socialized with such eminent writers as Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Washington Irving, and William Makepeace Thackeray. James’s older brother, William James, profoundly influenced the emerging science of psychology through his Principles of Psychology (1890) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). He also distinguished himself as an exponent of a brand of philosophical pragmatism he named “radical empiricism,” the idea that beliefs do not work because they are true but are true because they work.
"The James children were educated in a variety of schools and with private tutors, in what James later called “small vague spasms” of schooling augmented by his father’s extensive library. In 1855 the James family began a three-year tour of Geneva, London, and Paris, an experience that probably influenced James’s later preference for Europe over his native land. After a year at Harvard Law School, he began writing short stories and book reviews. He continued to travel widely from a base in England, where he chose to settle. He became a British subject in 1915, a year before his death at the age of seventy-three. By the time James died, he had written more than a hundred short stories and novellas, as well as literary and dramatic criticism, plays, travel essays, book reviews, and twenty novels, including The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903), and The Golden Bowl (1904).
"Although James had many friends and acquaintances, he maintained a certain reserve toward most people. An “obscure hurt,” as James later described a mysterious early injury he suffered in connection with a stable fire, haunted him throughout his life. He never married, and the absence of any known romantic attachments has led some critics to speculate that he was a repressed or closeted homosexual. Others attribute the reason for James’s lifelong celibacy to the early death of his beloved cousin Mary “Minny” Temple, the model for several of his heroines.
"James wrote The Turn of the Screw in 1897, at a low point in his life. In 1895 he had suffered a tremendous personal and professional blow when his play Guy Domville was booed off the London stage. Deeply wounded, James retreated from London and took refuge in Sussex, eventually taking a long-term lease on a rambling mansion called Lamb House. Shortly thereafter, he began writing The Turn of the Screw, one of several works from this period that revolve around large, rambling houses.
"Like many writers and intellectuals of the time, James was fascinated by “spiritual phenomena,” a field that was taken very seriously and was the subject of much “scientific” inquiry. The field remained popular even after the unmasking of the Fox sisters, whose claims of being able to communicate with the spirit world had started the craze for spiritualism in the 1840s. Henry James, Sr., and William James were both members of the Society for Psychical Research, and William served as its president from 1894 to 1896."