Daisy Miller (Paperback)
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The plot centers around a Europeanized American man named Winterbourne, who meets a nouveau riche American woman going by the name Daisy Miller. A short novel, James wields the sword of fiction to craft a -study- of the roles of men and women, social relationships, cultural intersection, the allure of money, foolishness and wisdom, the responsibilities of parents, and the impact of one's life upon others
Fuller Description: Annie -Daisy- Miller and Frederick Winterbourne first meet in Vevey, Switzerland, in a garden of the grand hotel where Winterbourne is allegedly vacationing from his studies (an attachment to an older lady is rumoured). They are introduced by Randolph Miller, Daisy's 9-year-old brother. Randolph considers their hometown of Schenectady, New York, to be absolutely superior to all of Europe. Daisy, however, is absolutely delighted with the continent, especially the high society she wishes to enter.
Winterbourne is at first confused by her attitude, and though greatly impressed by her beauty, he soon determines that she is nothing more than a young flirt. He continues his pursuit of Daisy in spite of the disapproval of his aunt, Mrs. Costello, who spurns any family with so close a relationship to their courier as the Millers have with their Eugenio. She also thinks Daisy is a shameless girl for agreeing to visit the Chateau de Chillon with Winterbourne after they have known each other for only half an hour. The next day, the two travel to Chateau de Chillon and although Winterbourne had paid the janitor for privacy, Daisy is not quite impressed. Winterbourne then informs Daisy that he must go to Geneva the next day. Daisy feels disappointment and chaffs him, eventually asking him to visit her in Rome later that year.
In Rome, Winterbourne and Daisy meet unexpectedly in the parlor of Mrs. Walker, an American expatriate. Her moral values have adapted to those of Italian society. Rumors about Daisy meeting with young Italian gentlemen make her socially exceptionable under these criteria. Winterbourne learns of Daisy's increasing intimacy with a young Italian of questionable society, Giovanelli, as well as the growing scandal caused by the pair's behavior. Daisy is undeterred by the open disapproval of the other Americans in Rome, and her mother seems quite unaware of the underlying tensions. Winterbourne and Mrs. Walker attempt to persuade Daisy to separate from Giovanelli, but she refuses any help that is offered.
One night, Winterbourne takes a walk through the Colosseum and sees a young couple sitting at its center. He realizes that they are Giovanelli and Daisy. Winterbourne, infuriated with Giovanelli, asks him how he could dare to take Daisy to a place where she runs the risk of catching -Roman Fever-. Daisy says she does not care and Winterbourne leaves them. Daisy falls ill and dies a few days later.
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About the Author
Henry James, OM (15 April 1843 - 28 February 1916) was an American-born writer. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. He is best known for a number of novels showing Americans encountering Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from a character's point of view allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable narrators brought a new depth to narrative fiction. James is one of the major figures of trans-Atlantic literature. His works frequently juxtapose characters from the Old World (Europe), embodying a feudal civilization that is beautiful, often corrupt, and alluring, and from the New World (United States), where people are often brash, open, and assertive and embody the virtues-freedom and a more highly evolved moral character-of the new American society. James contributed significantly to literary criticism, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest possible freedom in presenting their view of the world. James claimed that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognisable to its readers. Good novels, to James, show life in action and are, most importantly, interesting.