Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sunday Book: Daisy Miller - Henry James

This is really more of a novella than a novel per se but I am going to fling it in since I am clearly beginning to develop a bit of a Henry James crush... I read Daisy Miller in the beautiful Penguin Classics' Selected Tales, which I would recommend if you are interested in James, but you can buy it individually. It is the story of a 'young American flirt,' Daisy, and her trip to the Old World. As ever, James' depictions of contemporary Europe are fascinating and beautiful - Vevey, on Lake Geneva, and Rome this time. Daisy bounds through this world breaking social conventions and shocking her compatriots by wilfully doing exactly as she pleases. I think that she is probably too spoilt and imprudent to properly qualify as a 'feminist icon' but she is certainly an overwhelming force of character. I'm not going to say anything more because I was surprised/shocked by the ending and I don't want to ruin it...

(How cute is my stegosaurus cookie cutter?? He lives, with lots of other bits of bric a brac on my mantelpiece)

Daisy Miller was an early work of James' and I don't think it is revolutionary but it is a short, accessible entrance into HJ if you were interested in trying him. Otherwise, if you already know and love him, another delicious, bite-size chunk of his style is obviously going to be a good thing!

Verdict: short, sweet, lots of beautiful continental 19th century Europe, great characterisation.

Hope you've all had a nice weekend.

Chuck x


  1. thanks for posting this, was contemplating wether or not to get the epub version of this. i think im gonna get it now :)

  2. Thanks! Sounds great! I love the penguin classics series!