Many thanks to their original creators. View all 10 comments. Jan 21, Fred rated it really liked it. This little story catalyzed a lot of late 19th century debate about American values and European values and--particularly--the confident, un-blushing American girl who is not inclined to conform to the snobbish tastes and attitudes of the upper class people she meets as her family becomes wealthy. Contemporary readers should give some thought to how Daisy's major sin against expatriate society i This little story catalyzed a lot of late 19th century debate about American values and European values and--particularly--the confident, un-blushing American girl who is not inclined to conform to the snobbish tastes and attitudes of the upper class people she meets as her family becomes wealthy.
Contemporary readers should give some thought to how Daisy's major sin against expatriate society is that she spends time with and values the company of local people. Compare Winterbourne abroad, spending time only with people of means and breeding, to Daisy, who chooses to spend a lot of her time with Mr. Giovanelli, who is not--as Winterbourne's friends say--a treasure hunter but really a respectable and clever Italian man of modest means.
Daisy does not choose to spend to with scoundrels and criminals and men of low character, though Winterbourne's set sees her that way. And then think about how middle class American kids backpacking around Europe and staying in hostels are Daisy's descendants, mixing and mingling with the local people because that's who interests them. And think of how in some ways contemporary horror movies about American kids running into trouble Europe--the Hostel films, for example--echo Daisy's troubles. The kids are too bold, brash, and confident, interested in local culture but on their own terms, and they run into trouble because of it.
Of course, James doesn't run blame in one direction in "DM"; Daisy's overconfidence and naivete are not the only factors contributing to her fate. Winterbourne and his people antagonize and irritate Daisy so much that she disregards even their good advice about, say, staying out of the Colosseum.
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And Winterbourne never gets around to admitting to himself that he likes Daisy very much more than he likes the upper class women who scare him with their threats of social ostracism. He never notices how Daisy's interest in culture is tied not to snobbish intellectual achievement but to understanding how people relate to and care about things. For his part, Winterbourne is constantly hoping that Daisy's lapses from social propriety mean that she will yield up her person to him in some naughty way, and he even makes arrangements for that sort of thing at Chillon.
Contrast to Giovanelli. So it's a godo story, and it's short, and it deals with James's great Americans-scandalizing-Europe theme, so if you think you'd like to try out some Henry James, it's a great place to start. For I was becoming more and more interested in her. Was she a superficial and provincial flirt?
Or was she extremely modern and free in her defiance of stringent rules? For even if the stiff Winterbourne, when faced with a similar riddle eventually took the first possibility, I was leaning towards the second as the book advanced and James decided to uproot the fascinating spring flower as the wintry clouds approached and began threatening her.
View all 35 comments. Henry James, much like other authors around the twentieth century, believes that society is all powerful, even to the extent that it obliterates any moral impulses that we have been born with. In Daisy Miller, the embodiment of a completely naive American girl is presented in the character of Daisy, unaware of the rules of European society. Even though Winterbourne, the protagonist, readily acknowledges the fact that she is common and uncultivated, he cannot help his fascination with her fresh, Henry James, much like other authors around the twentieth century, believes that society is all powerful, even to the extent that it obliterates any moral impulses that we have been born with.
Even though Winterbourne, the protagonist, readily acknowledges the fact that she is common and uncultivated, he cannot help his fascination with her fresh, unsophisticated elegance. Her beauty and simplicity of manner is something that he often remarks on, even describing her as a sylph. However, throughout his interactions with Daisy, Winterbourne does not have a single moment when he is able to free himself from societies conventions.
He wonders constantly at the conditions and limitations of one's intercourse with a pretty American flirt, unable to simply act naturally and be himself. In fact, he openly admits that by instinct, he should not appreciate her justly. In this way, Winterbourne embodies a man whose individuality has been completely obliterated by society. Thus, when he meets Daisy, a girl whose actions show a complete disregard for societal conventions, the only possible result is in her termination.
When Winterbourne encounters Daisy in the Colosseum, he finally makes up his mind that she is a young lady whom a gentleman need no longer be at pains to respect and his words cuts her accordingly. In effect, this cut metaphorically led to Daisy's death. The world that James presents to us is an extremely chaotic one, which is why he chooses single consciousness as the method of narration to create a structured and meaningful version of this world through the eyes of one person.
This effectively limits the reader to only Winterbourne's thoughts and emotions. What happens within Daisy's mind remains hidden, and we are only able to judge her, as Winterbourne does, through her external actions. If Daisy had only trespassed society laws mentally, she would not have met with the same tragic end. This fact can most clearly be seen when examining how Mrs.
Walker passes judgment upon Daisy, telling her that her actions aren't the custom here. In reality, she has absolutely no interest Daisy's inner motives or intentions whatsoever when she walk. View all 4 comments. Henry James in a nutshell. This novel contains all typical and topical for him issues, to mention only freshness and spontaneity contra preciosity and social niceties, differences between young and puritan country and fossilized and sophisticated Old World, clash between America and Europe, innocence of the first and corruption of the latter, though in that particular example we have rather America versus America.
Daisy Miller, a young American, stays with her mother and younger brother at a hot Henry James in a nutshell. Daisy Miller, a young American, stays with her mother and younger brother at a hotel in one of the Swiss resorts, Vevey where she is acquainted with Frederick Winterbourne, American by birth but European by education and choice. The man is smitten with her beauty and unpretentious behavior. He considers her a charming coquette, a flirt even, more attractive than European ladies he used to know.
Did I enjoy Daisy Miller? Did I like Daisy? Not that much. But my not succumbing to her charm or behaviour had different roots than disliking and ostracism she was subjected to by her compatriots. Very well, I liked that particular quality in her for I didn't care about this hypocritical, mutual admiration society either, but unfortunately I thought she was empty and shallow too. Did she discard social restraints? Yes, though rather out of sheer contrariness than conscious choice. Was she an innocent victim of the ruthless and snobbish milieu? Yes, again but it didn't make her a heroine I would identify with.
She was charming, spontaneous and easily giving in to a charm of the moment but that's not enough for me. I expected more complexity here, I expected a woman ahead of her times. She wanted attention, she wanted to shine and she wanted to remain herself. Go for it, Daisy! But constant babbling about nothing and batting your eyelashes or forbidden forays to mark your independence not especially spoke to me. Maybe I look at the novel from the wrong angle, too contemporary, through the times when young unmarried girl on the tryst with handsome foreigner is nothing that scandalous, at least in most countries.
Perhaps if I have changed a perspective I could admit her actions being more brave than frivolous? I was looking at her like at rare colourful specimen by some unfortunate accident wrongly placed and not like a person who was to herald a modern and self-aware woman. And I find it highly ironic if not tragic too. View all 15 comments. Qui se passes ses fantaisies She does what she wishes.
Daisy Miller, published in brought Henry Miller his first success. The short novela 72 pages casts an eye of societal norms of the day. Told through the eyes of a fellow American but raised in Geneva, Winterbourne is charmed by the open spirited Daisy Miller, who is traveling in Europe with her mother and nine-year brother, Randolph. This is a book about class, elitism, snobbery and money.
The Millers have enough money for part of t Qui se passes ses fantaisies The Millers have enough money for part of the family to see Europe the father stays home to make enough for him to travel later. Daisy, who is use to flirting at social parties in America, is bored and wants to experience Europe. First Winterbourne, then an Italian Giovanelli. Boating on Lake Geneva, then outings in Rome. Gossip and elders who knew better.
A recipe for disaster? Is Daisy free spirited? A little tart? What kind of family does she come from? Obviously not classy enough. Henry James does not lecture morals, only reflects the times. One can infer a lot in this book. View all 14 comments. It's so hard, when you are a pretty young lady, to find any old closeted priggish gentlemen to warn you that you're about to die of flirting.
And y'know when books like this get written - books where women do what they want and are punished for it - there's always this, like, "But you can see that his sympathy lies with the woman" argument, right? Peopl It's so hard, when you are a pretty young lady, to find any old closeted priggish gentlemen to warn you that you're about to die of flirting. People want to say the author is trying to undermine the constraints put on women, by showing how sad it is when a vivacious young lady gets beaten down.
Surely Daisy Miller herself is the only even faintly likable character in this book, isn't she?
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Isn't the narrator, Winterbourne, just a dreadful little tightassed shit? All he does is, like, "She's so naughty! And yet I want her! But yet - she's so naughty! The closest he gets to horny is pointing out that she has a cute little nose. Winterbourne sniffs of one that he's "anything but a gentleman; he isn't even a very plausible imitation of one. Hardy's always throwing these wild dramatic scenes in epic settings. Of course James doesn't have any idea what to do once he gets all his characters there - Henry James wouldn't know a dramatic scene if it gave him a handjob in a dark alley - so they all just sortof lurk about and then go home.
Winterbourne feels shocked about her judgment.
Daisy is soon to feel something else. That's Cybill Shepherd looking sassy there "I've never allowed a gentleman to dictate to me or to interfere with anything I do," says Daisy, and do you feel excitement or dread when she says it? Henry James is a subtle and careful writer, and it's like him to leave it murky whose side he's on.
Maybe it's judgey old Winterbourne who's naughty! But here's my thing: I do think we should maybe admit that there are a lot of these books, and surely all of the writers can't be trying to undermine, right? Or else what would they even be undermining? The most seriously subversive books up above were written by women. And in any case books have characters but they also have plots, and plots matter.
That old asshole Philip Roth used to say, "The thought of the novelist lies not in the remarks of his characters or even in their introspection, but in the plight he has invented for his characters. What comes for Daisy Miller? She catches malaria at the Colosseum - Rome was just lousy with malaria at the time, so being there at night actually was a little dumb - and she dies. Murdered by flirting! And just as a general rule: if you're wondering who's naughty, look for who's getting spanked. View all 11 comments.
Feb 01, Stephen P rated it really liked it Recommended to Stephen by: Kalliope spurred on this review that was never to be. Shelves: henry-james. Ah Daisy. What to do with you. You scuttle about this novel innocent, coquettish, a young pretty American in a foreign land. Neither to James or to me. Even your name sounds fresh, innocent. Of course the narrator is too stiff for you, caught in his own web of threaded conce Ah Daisy. Of course the narrator is too stiff for you, caught in his own web of threaded concealments barricaded against the throb of his own heart.
But the Roman? Handsome and pliable. A remainder to keep and mold. A lingering phantasm. And about James? He is a well known author you know. You were in good hands. Set down debutant-ish, and through your naivety and good looks much was to happen to and for you. When was it Daisy? When did you take the reigns from James, the master, and from me and what is now looking back my metronomed reading of comforting expectations.
Did James know about it? Maybe up to a point. Or not. Poor James. Poor me. Fools that we are. You had no intention of, being deeded by a man as a parcel of property to be owned, of a society to set you to work to climb into the tiered class above through fools tricks, nor by family name or the interworking of family constrictions, and certainly not by a reader who now has to reformulate this buzzing readerly world and recompose himself with a new idol. A gleaming freedom fighter. So, why did James kill you off? He can be, you know, a bitter old man. One possibility I think is that you went your own way leaving him with his masterly pen in his masterly hand.
He was pissed. The only means of gaining control of you and the story, your story, was to kill you. But could it have also been a cautionary tale James was trying to work out? That if you fly too close to the sun your stalwart wings will be seared? It is moving towards death as soon as it is, if not cared for, or even so… You left him flailing with your meteoric rise to the heights of universal hero battling for what freedom we can have, which is why his ending this tale in your absence seemed something tacked on both hollowing the story out and weighing it down.
View all 12 comments. Nov 09, Frona rated it liked it. To condemn values of victorian origin it is necessary to demonstrate that they cannot overcome some of their essential antagonisms.
If a critique of questionable morals is the intention of this book, the second part is more vauge, since it lacks any struggle worth struggeling for. We get to meet a young woman without many redeeming qualities that lives only to charm man-kind. She fights for nothing but her right to annoy, which meets some reservations among others, readers as well. If the author's intention was to show that any person, no matter how superfluous she may be, deserves freedom and acceptance, it would be a wonderful book, with all the steady rythm and clarity of style.
But he seems to claim the opposite - all that lies under the petty social judgments are some innocent actions performed by harmless girls, and so such social standards are worthless. And although he tries to make a tragic hero out of her, he lets her stand out only in her poise, for her mind stays old-fashioned, as men remain her only interest.
Maybe that's how changes always form, first comes form and then comes the content. But I think it would be better if he just put less fantasy and more life into it. Feb 02, Erin rated it it was ok Shelves: classics , short-stories.
Other than that, I really don't have anything to add. As a member of the proletariat, I should not enjoy a book concer "I'm very fond of society, and I have always had a great deal of it. As a member of the proletariat, I should not enjoy a book concerning the exploits of the idle rich, but like The Great Gatsby , good writing can make all the difference. There's not much to this brief novel, and the obsession with manners and public behavior reminded me quite a bit of Colette 's work.
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Still, it was eminently readable, and undoubtedly a good introduction to James' oeuvre. View all 3 comments. Americans in Europe? She was certainly killed socially by a combination of all of those, but she was killed also by her own indiffernce to what people thought of her. This novella, written in , seeks to explore the interplay of social norms between Europe and America. Like many "great writers" in the late 19th Century, James' most popula "She seemed to him, in all this, an extraordinary mixture of innocence and crudity. Like many "great writers" in the late 19th Century, James' most popular novels are often his shorter one.
It was cleanly written and intriguing. While I would always prefer to have money than not. I'm pretty sure to be an upper-class woman in the late Victorian period certainly must have sucked that being said, being a lower-class woman in the s wasn't a stroll in a Roman park either. Just look at Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata pub. Both James and Tolstoy seem fixated on propriaty and women's place. Tolstoy was more interested in preaching and James was more interested in understanding, but still it was weird to read them so close together. I need to read about Wonder Woman next, or something where a woman isn't being judged by men and society beacuse she walks with an Italian or plays piano with a violinist.
I have not read many of Henry James' works to date and am slowly adding some to my list. Today was time for Daisy Miller, originally published in This is really a novella, the story of a young woman seeing the Continent with her mother and young brother and catching the eye of one Mr. Winterbourne, an American who resides in Europe. James himself is present as narrator occasionally to exclaim in some way on the activity or thoughts of his characters. The young woman is Daily Miller from New I have not read many of Henry James' works to date and am slowly adding some to my list.
The young woman is Daily Miller from New York state. She remarks upon her visits to New York City but her desire for large venues has led to this trip abroad. She is an enigma to Winterbourne who is puzzled by her behavior. She flirts as Americans do but she seems without guile. But she tempts the disapproval of the fashionable who she would court by her wish to be independent, particularly in her assignations with men. She prefers what will be 20th century behaviors but it is not yet time.
And it may not yet be time even at home in America. By the end of this work, Daisy has received her final comeuppance for her "behavior" on the Continent, behavior deemed not quite right by those who are in the know, both European and Americans abroad. Is it innocence or not caring to conform that leads her on her own path?
Is she as gullible as she seems to try to paint herself or does she want the best of all worlds: to be independent, enjoy her walking out with these charming men, and also preserving her place in society? I'm not sure exactly where I put her on this scale, but it seems the Puritan gods have had their say in the end. James crafts beautiful sentences with a lot of description and semicolons.
His nickname is "The Master" and you can see why. Not much happens in a James narrative, but I love 19th century literature formalities and all so he's always been a favorite of mine. The narrative follows a young American man, Winterbourne, as he observes and critiques a young American woman--Daisy Miller--through their brief acquanta If you haven't read Henry James, I would recommend Daisy Miller over the longer works.
The narrative follows a young American man, Winterbourne, as he observes and critiques a young American woman--Daisy Miller--through their brief acquantanceship. You get to see all the basic elements of James at play but without the page fatigue. And, if you do fall in love with his writing, there's loads more. Feb 25, Ivana Books Are Magic rated it really liked it. I would say that Daisy Miller is a great introduction to Henry James.
This book is not only shorter, but also less complex than other works of his that I have read. However, it bears a close resemblance to his novels and explores similar themes. Having previously read The Portrait of a Lady, I found it hard not to compare the two. Daisy Miller was, if I recall well, James' first commercial literary success. Anyhow, I came to this novella with high expectations, but I wasn't disappointed. One could argue that travel always makes us compare and reevaluate things, and while we are about it, perhaps we could also add that travelling can make us learn something about ourselves?
Youth is all about trying to discover who we are. In addition, when one is young, everything can feel like a discovery. If one wants to write a novel that comments on society, a young woman always makes for a good protagonist. Because society is especially diligent when it comes to paying attention to young ladies. This attention is not always a positive one, indeed, our society can be quite judgemental when it comes to young women.
The relationship between our social and individual identity is always an interesting subject. Henry James excels at portraying the society and emphasizing the social pressure on individual. In this novel James compares and contrasts American and European society on more levels than one. The novel opens up in Switzerland with Daisy meeting a fellow American Fredrick, who falls in love with her shortly.
Daisy is not approved of by his aunt. Fredrick seems to be uncertain of his views of Daisy, but remains attracted to her. They socialize and spend some time together, but eventually Fredrick has to leave Daisy who invites him to visit her in Rome. They do meet in Rome, but there Daisy has made a new friend, a young Italian man nobody seems to approve of.
I would lie if I said that I cared deeply about what happened to Daisy. I cared, but not that much, it was more a feeling of detachment than indifference. Was Daisy provocative or was she just stubborn? Was she daring or was she just a flirt? Perhaps this decision only makes sense considering the length and the organization of the book. Speaking of the plot and the narrative, the ending was somewhat abrupt, but perhaps only more powerful because of that.
James' prose flows as beautifully as ever. His sentences are elegant and well crafted, his social observations clever and to the point. Is it enough? Quite frankly, for me it is. This novella was a wonderful read.
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It lacked the depth and the complexity of A Portrait Of a lady, but it makes for a lovely read. The story is somewhat predictable, yet by the time I finished reading this novella, I was glad I read it. It sure wasn't a wasted effort. Only after she dies does Winterbourne recognize that her actions reflected her spontaneous, genuine, and unaffected nature and that his suspicions of her were unwarranted.
Daisy Miller. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen Kuiper , Senior Editor. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Henry James, American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from , a great figure in the transatlantic culture.