Saturday, 21 February 2009

Daisy Miller.


This novella was written in 1879.It draws comparisons between European and American societies of the time. It is set in Europe, beginning in Switzerland and proceeds to Rome. Daisy Miller is a young American girl who is travelling with her Mother and younger brother. Her father has remained in America and so her Mother is to act a chaperone. Whilst out walking with her brother Daisy meets the young Mr. Winterbourne. Her mother was ill and had remained indoors. Daisy was not perturbed and used the situation to the best of her ability. Being a very confident, even brash young girl she addressed Winterbourne as though he was a long, lost friend.

'Poor Winterbourne was amused, perplexed, and decidely charmed.'

He enjoyed her company and wished to continue the friendship albeit a little nervous of her candid conversation.However, many people in their circle of friends frowned on her behaviour. When the Millers travel to Rome , Winterbourne follows only to find Daisy has acquired another male companion. On travelling around Rome Daisy is blatently flouting the 'chaperone' rule and is seen in numerous places alone with this gentleman. Winterbourne confronts her about this , but she is adament that all is well,

'He asked himself whether Daisy's defiance came from the consciousness of innocence or from being , essentially, a young person of the reckless class'.

Unfortunately, her recklessness became her downfall.
I enjoyed this book, society nowadays would not have seen anything wrong in her behaviour but at the time of publication I'm sure it would appear quite shocking. Perhaps Henry James regarded it as a cautionary tale.


Charli and me said...

This sounds like such an interesting book. It's the kind of book I know I would enjoy reading. I have written it down on my must read list. Good review! Thanks :>)

JoAnn said...

I really liked Daisy Miller, too!
Great review.