“A deliberate, powerful, and horribly successful study of the magic of evil, of the subtle influence over human hearts and minds of the sin with which this world is accursed.” (The New York Times Saturday Review of Books and Art)
The first to enjoy this study, were the readers of Collier’s Weekly, which published The Turn of the Screw between 27 January and 16 April 1898. The quoted review, however, refers to the novella’s first appearance as a book in October 1898. A review that declared it worthy of being compared to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Henry James would have loved to read this flattery, especially because it gives nothing away, while it all the same plants the flag of its anonymous author spot on : the first to have cracked the case. But not the only one, and a similar review appeared nine days later independently in a Detroit magazine.
Just in case : this is the example to follow whenever you face the same problem of suppressing the desire to show off, that caused me to lift the veil a little higher than Henry James would have appreciated. But those things happen when generations of experts fail to explain that a properly told story is, within its context, all one needs to find out what exactly it is telling. Who should blame me then, for assuming that nobody can find out The Turn of the Screw without a guide?
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