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Summer 2011 Reads > Daisy Miller by H. James- summer optional novella

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message 1: by Armand (new)

Armand (armand-i) | 34 comments Mod
Hello- The summer optional read is "Daisy Miller", a novella by Henry James.

Here is a link to the text free and online:

http://www2.newpaltz.edu/~hathawar/da...


message 2: by Armand (new)

Armand (armand-i) | 34 comments Mod
I needed a little help with this one- here is a link to the sparknotes for it.

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/daisy/c...


message 3: by Armand (new)

Armand (armand-i) | 34 comments Mod
This was my first exposure to Henry Miller, and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. There were a lot of good things about this lengthy short story (or very short novella), including accessible writing, and a wonderful sense of that transitional period in history (when wealthy Americans first started visiting "Old Europe" in droves.) Even though I gave it three stars above, I really want to give it 3.5 stars. I have to admit- however- that after I was done, I didn't know exactly what to make of the story which is roughly about a passive narrator (Winterbourne) trying to understand a free-spirited, rough-around-the-edges American woman (Daisy). It was only after I studied the story some more (using Sparknotes- I admit it), that I got a broader sense of the social context. In this case, Henry James was exploring a cultural clash between new-money American tourists (like Daisy Miller and family) and old-school American ex-pats (like Winterbourne- who apparently has no first name). Furthermore, even though most of the drama in the novel concerns Daisy Miller, a lot of the novel is about how stuck Winterbourne is. He's American in Geneva. He doesn't know whether he can fall for Daisy or not. He is unsure of the value of social standing. He is unsure of how to approach the freedom that Daisy represents. All in all, a good book, and despite the drama (including some social scandal and even a death!), the story has a soft, old fashioned feel to it.


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