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Day 2

Chapter 2–3

July 10, 2020 by Garth Greenwell

My first encounter with James was through Benjamin Britten’s great opera of Turn of the Screw. He brilliantly compresses the first few chapters of the novella, as you can see in the first ~15m of this Opera North production.—Garth

The governess enters into pacts of silence with both the uncle & Mrs Grose. So many of the great stories of evil depend on conspiracies of silence—think of Shakespeare’s Iago, or Iris Murdoch’s Julius King.— Garth

“‘And to his uncle?’
I was incisive. ‘Nothing at all.’
‘And to the boy himself?’
I was wonderful. ‘Nothing at all’”

It's such a wonderful touch that, in her first glimpse of the stranger on the tower, the governess is struck by his lack of a hat. What might seem a small breach of etiquette (esp given his more serious trespass!) suggests freedom from all constraint.—Garth

“—and there was a touch of the strange freedom, as I remember, in the sign of familiarity of his wearing no hat—”

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