The Turn of the Screw

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Time for a spoooooky Halloween double feature from Novel Ideas! This week we discussed The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, a classic ghost novel from the turn of the (20th) century. In this episode, we talk about 19th century framing devices, horror tropes, class, and classic versus modern audience expectations. We also cover literary conspiracy theories, strange employment conditions, modern misinterpretations of Victorian prose, and why Miles is kind of a dick.

The music bump is “Conspiracy Theory” by Mike Tomaro, as performed by the Capitol Bones.

Join us next time for The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

115 – The Turn of the Screw – Do You Have Anything to Say About Flora

Our recommendation:

We didn’t find this book to be scary. Or arguably all that entertaining. It will probably work best for you if you are into the history of the horror/ghost/haunting genre or a huge Henry James fan.

Ben: 4/10. I didn’t find it to be so bad that it was upsetting, I just didn’t really enjoy any part of reading it.

Gabs: 5/10. But only if you read into it more malevolently.


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Welcome to a very spooky episode of Novel Ideas, featuring the decidedly not spooky Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This is a book about a monster and the man who created him told in a very romantic style. (I have to mention this now because we forgot to say it in the podcast.) In this episode we cover various tropes, unsympathetic characters, the theme of science v. nature, and the theme  of isolation v. acceptance. We also cover the timelessness of teenage behavior, the importance of being genre savvy, and whether Frankenstein’s monster might actually be Santa Claus. Make sure to listen in a well lit room so you don’t get scared!

The music bump is “Night on Bald Mountain” by Modest Mussorgsky because, dude, Halloween. I’m not entirely sure how this piece of music came to by synonymous with that holiday, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the way it sounds.

29 – Frankenstein – An Eloquent Monster