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The Golden Bowl, or actually,The Turn of the Screw (in lieu of The Golden Bowl) ()

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (32)

It would be cruel and unusual punishment to actually trudge through the three Henry James novels that made the top 100.  I did read The Ambassadors and sort of want to read The Wings of the Dove, but instead of The Golden Bowl, here's a review of the one thing he wrote that I actually liked--The Turn of the Screw.  In this virtual horror tale the twisted emotional dementia that mars his other works actually aids the tale.

A young governess is hired to look after two seemingly angelic orphans--Flora and Miles.  Seemingly, but why was Miles dismissed from school?  and who are the strangers who the governess sees at windows?  As in most of James' work, these questions are raised but not answered. However, in this novella he is presenting a gothic mystery, so the open ended questions are appropriate.

Apparently Turn of the Screw was controversial when James wrote it, because of it's presentation of children as potentially wicked.  In the era of Littleton, I don't think there's anyone left who will argue that children are incapable of evil.

It's just a good creepy little tale.


Grade: (B)