Synopses & Reviews
The two tales in this edition, The Aspern Papers and The Turn of the Screw, reveal at its finest James's genius for creating a world out of a single incident and charging it with unforgettable dramatic tension.
A story of 'spoils and stratagems', The Aspern Papers is set in a crumbling Venetian palazzo, where an old woman treasures up some letters sent to her by the great American poet, Aspern. When a zealous literary historian arrives and attempts to prise the letters from her, he finds his charm, ingenuity and morals stretched to breaking point.
'It is a most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale' wrote Oscar Wilde of The Turn of the Screw, James's most puzzling and controversial work. In the story of a governess newly in charge of two small children, haunted by ghosts, our imagination is miraculously set free to conjure up terrors never precisely named or explained.
In these two chilling stories, Henry James shows himself to be a master of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension. The Turn of the Screw tells of a young governess sent to a country home to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a sense of intense evil within the house, she soon becomes obsessed with the belief that malevolent forces are stalking the children in her care. Obsession of a more worldly variety lies at the heart of The Aspern Papers, the tale of a literary historian determined to get his hands on some letters written by a great poet-and prepared to use trickery and deception to achieve his aims.
About the Author
Anthony Curtis was the literary editor of the Financial Times from 1970-1990 and published a number of books about Somerset Maugham.