The Turn of the Screw

Scope and Content

Preliminary notes, scenarios and libretto draft material created by Myfanwy Piper during the writing of The Turn of the Screw. This collection includes her notebooks, manuscript and typescript libretti, as well as a file of miscellaneous papers including correspondence, programmes and press cuttings.

Myfanwy Piper's material has been separated into files by Rosamund Strode in the following order:

1. Earliest Materials

2. Synopsis of Scenes

3. Libretto drafts

4. Prologue

5. Britten's working libretto (refering to BBM/the_turn_of_the_screw/1/6)

Includes a prefatory note written by Rosamund Strode in 1985 explaining that Piper's libretto drafts have been reassembled into what is thought to be the nearest chronological order.

This libretto material has been microfilmed. The microfilm number is A69, and the frames are as follows:

PIP/1/1: 1a 7-44; 1b 45-71; 1c 75-83

PIP/1/2: 2a 84-114; 2b 115-137

PIP/1/3: 3a 138-146; 3b 147-248; 3c 249-257; 3d 258-271; 3e 272-281

PIP/1/4: 282-289

BBM/the_turn_of_the_screw/1/6: frames 294-365(end)

Access Information


This material is made available under the standard conditions of the Britten-Pears Foundation. Readers will be required to produce proof of identity and to sign a Reader's Undertaking form.


The Operas of Benjamin Britten, edited by David Herbert (London: Hamish Hamilton 1979), and an interview with Peter Porter in Quarto No. 20, August 1981. Piper records her work in writing librettos for Britten, greatly illuminating the series of papers for The Turn of the Screw.