Daisy Miller by Henry James

 

General Fiction

Daisy Miller (Penguin Classics) Daisy MillerHenry James, Jr.; Penguin Classics 1987WorldCatDaisy Miller is an American young lady visiting Europe with her family in the mid to later 19th century. She comes from a rich, spoiled family, and is there with a mother who had no control and a younger brother who controlled everyone around him. Daisy herself is a conundrum. Is she as innocent as her manner appears up close? Or is she as brazen as the outward appearances make her out to be?

This is a short novella that tells Daisy’s story from the point of view of one of her admirers. Winterbourne is also an American in Europe and is known to spend his time “devoted to a lady…an older lady.” He probably is not as innocent as he would like the reader to believe, either. Winterbourne watches as Daisy flouts conventions and spends her time with whomever she wants. He is attracted to her, yet sides with the conservatives.

Henry James’ story wraps itself up and leaves a lot of questions for the reader. What was Daisy really like? What did Winterbourne really want? Was Daisy the better off for ignoring society and choosing her own lifestyle, or would she have done better to conform?

Daisy Miller is a well written, tight story. It poses many questions just from the circumstances, and does not purport to answer any of them itself. It also is a good insight to morals of the time period.

More books by Henry James

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