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Day 3

Chapter 4–5

July 11, 2020 by Garth Greenwell

James is my favorite stylist in English, & this sentence is a marvel: at once balanced (“whatever it was that I knew” / “nothing was known”) & thrown off-kilter by inversion (putting the “of” phrase first). It enacts the governess’s bewilderment.—Garth

“Of whatever it was that I knew nothing was known around me.

I'm amazed & chilled by this line every time: these v young children have lost their parents, their grandparents, their previous governess, & have moved continents & been abandoned by their uncle, all in 2 years. How imagine Miles has never suffered? —Garth

“I remember feeling with Miles in especial as if he had had, as it were, nothing to call even an infinitesimal history …. He had never for a second suffered.”

Only at the end of Ch 5 does Turn of the Screw definitely become a ghost story. This is one of James’s most famous lines—& many hear it echoed by his friend Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness ("Mistah Kurtz—he dead”), written 1yr after James's story. —Garth

“‘Yes. Mr. Quint’s dead.’”

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