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APS TOGETHER

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James Day 4

July 12, 2020 | Chapters 6–7

Chs. 6-7 bring to the fore one of the book’s central questions: What exactly did Quint do? What have these children (& Miss Jessel) suffered?

As always, James offers hints, nothing more.—Garth

“Quint was much too free”
“Vices more than suspected”
“He did what he wished”


Another dizzying sentence. The double negative makes it hard to grasp: a perfect way to frame the gov's bizarre certainty. How does she know what she claims to know? She literally refuses to look up at the presence whose identity she’s so sure of.—Garth

“Nothing was more natural than that these things should be the other things they absolutely were not.”


In Britten’s opera, Quint & Miss J have larger roles. Q’s first lines are amazingly creepy—a beautiful, florid setting of Miles’s name. Watch the end of Act I here (there's no exact equivalent for this in James).—Garth

Britten wrote the role of Quint for his partner & muse, the tenor Peter Pears, who inspired much of his greatest music. Here’s a photograph I love of a very young, very obviously in love Britten (on the L) & Pears with the composer Aaron Copland.—Garth


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