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I reread the novella. The last time I read it was early 80s. This was one heck of a disturbing tale.








You can get the novella from Project Gutenberg and other places its by Henry James in 1898 very public domain.


This was a ghost story. Well fairly certain of it.

The main character is a governess and writer of this tale. Minus first 10 pages. She appears to be early 20s who sees herself as having strong morals and determination.


She goes to an estate to care for a 10 year old boy and 8 year old girl,.they are siblings and orphans. Their uncle put them into the estate and lives elsewhere and wants zero to do with them.

There are passages in which they get tedious and you are screaming “get to the point”.


The character of Mrs Grose is the most interesting. An old housekeeper (could be in her 40s) considering narrator is probably 22. She is illiterate, lacks imagination but sees and hears for more then anyone thinks. Sadly not sure how reliable it is,.she seems at times impressionable and trusting but also in a way innocent.and prudish.

I am reading this in 2016, novella 1898.

At one point Grose tells the governess that Quint (one of two malevelont ghosts) spent hours with the boy Miles alone many times. Now reading that today my first thought was “the boy was 9 at the time why would an adult man who is considered evil and lecherous want with the boy”.. My only thought was he was molesting him.. Was that Henry James intent? Or is this strictly a modern interpretation?


The governess I thought was at times way out of bounds with the children. Often holding them,.giving and gettng kisses. She seemed in awe of Miles from their first encounter. She describes him repeatedly as radiant, angelic looking. She treated him at times as an adult not a 10 year old. She also seems to pay more attention to him then his sister Flora. Was James intent to have her have romantic feelings for Miles.

There is little.talk about the children being victims. The governess treated the kids as in league with the ghosts and their innocence a fake. I assume that’s par for the course for the 1890s..


Also why did it end so abrutly.

Your thoughts on story?

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