Thursday, March 29, 2012

Henry James - The Turn of the Screw II

"I only decided to read this book because there was a brief reference to it in an episode of 'LOST'. Similar to watching 'LOST', I was often confused at what the hell was exactly going on in this book ... I would recommend Nicole Kidman's 'The Others' as an acceptable alternative to reading this book."

"I felt no connection with any of the characters, and the narrator (a governess who is flat to the point of wafer thin and who is obviously so disposable James didn't even bother gracing her with a name) just left me feeling hollow."

"I have never read a story with so many commas before !"

"even being an avid literature fan myself, i had to sit with a dictionary and look up every second word."

"This book is mostly nonsense about evil dead people trying to lure children to their ways. I won't even comment on the story. What interests me though is the mind of Henry James. He was a committed anglophile. In fact, he seems to have believed all the claptrap of England's aristocratic society. It seems to shine most brightly in this book. The children in question are aristocrats. The boy, a beautiful, young gentleman, was tossed out of school for reasons unknown, and James has his heroine make the case that it must be wrong since, indeed, the boy was a beautiful, young gentleman. (The ghosts in the story are, of course, common and vulgar.) I thought this sort of class nonsense was why we fought the redcoats in the first place, but James seems to accept it as the true way. If he were alive today, he'd be a Randian. Like all good converts, he seems to hold his class prejiduces more strongly than the natives. Of course the little snot could steal and cheat and cavort with ghosts! Anyway, I didn't think much of this book. And I was just beginning to think I sort of liked James."

"Many people will say: 'you can't judge a 19th-century book according to our 21th century standards'. Good point, but yes, I can."

"Would someone who has read this please explain to me what in the h e double heck it is supposed to be about? Ghost story? Moral tale? Nothing?"

"The Wikipedia page listed controversies about the book: is the main narrator imagining things? Are her interpretations of what she sees true? Are the children complicit in The Evil involved in consorting with the dead?

Meh. What all those controversies mean to me is that even people who read PROFESSIONALLY don't have any idea why the hell James wrote this.

It really reads like it was a children's fairy story... only duller than that. Much MUCH duller. So children couldn't be expected to finish it. I am NOT a child, and I had a hard slog, which is quite something for as short as it is.

Here's the point of the book: 'WOO, SCARY! if you come from a family that isn't careful, your children will be followed by pedophiles from BEYOND THE GRAVE! Ones who are so evil and debased that they'll make your children LIKE THEM! Woo!!'

Yeah, not too likely."

"Often whole pages are chock-filled with relentless text."


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