Daisy Miller

Daisy Miller

by Henry James

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Here is Henry James classic masterpiece, Daisy Miller. Daisy is a youthful, exuberant American girl vacationing in Europe. She typifies the brashness of America that clashes with the European society to which she finds herself drawn. This poignant tragedy plays out as these cultures collide.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940149508532
Publisher: Tower Publishing
Publication date: 03/12/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 797 KB

About the Author

Henry James, son of theologian Henry James Sr. and brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author and literary critic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He spent much of his life in Europe and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for novels, novellas and short stories based on themes of consciousness and morality. James significantly contributed to the criticism of fiction, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest freedom possible in presenting their view of the world. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and possibly unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to narrative fiction. An extraordinarily productive writer, he published substantive books of travel writing, biography, autobiography and visual arts criticism. Source: Wikipedia

Date of Birth:

April 15, 1843

Date of Death:

February 28, 1916

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

London, England


Attended school in France and Switzerland; Harvard Law School, 1862-63

Customer Reviews

Daisy Miller 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
MVAR More than 1 year ago
Daisy Miller is the contemporary of two different worlds. Daisy acts as the symbol of the United States. She is young, fresh and vividly beautiful. Her innocence comes forth her within the specter of her flamboyant flirty conversation. As compared to the Old world virtues, who mock her because of the "extravagance" of her actions. She is seen as uncultured and utterly poised in an unorthodox manner which is to some respect true. Daisy, though, is quick to express the solidarity of her independence and she refuses to conform to the thoughts that others perceive of her. Along comes Winterbourne, probably the tale's protagonist as the image of Daisy is of his opinion and the story is told through his perspective. Winterbourne seems organized and dignified as shown by his everlasting attempt to classify Miss Daisy Miller. He ultimately fails. At first he is captivated and exceptionally attracted to Daisy only to reject her ideals and then soon having to regret it. Daisy, is indeed unique, her unique blend of a personality throws Winterbourne of course which later causes him to deeply worry of her health. Mr. Giovanelli snatches Daisy's attention. A man of a questionable reputation we know nothing of him other than he is an Italian. As Winterbourne ponders on what kind of a person Daisy is, despite their misunderstandings, she ultimately falls ill. Upon her death we learn that she did understand Winterbourne's intentions after it seems like she hasn't. He then speaks to his aunt Mrs. Costello who had flatly rejected her nephew's request to meet with the Millers very early within the story. Although, Winterbourne is unsure of what to do he eventually decides to return to Geneva. The book is entailed with a scene in which different aspects of culture are to meet. A scenario of a very beautiful American girl and an American boy who has adopted European standards.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to read this book for my high school literature class and it was a great surprise of its brilliance.
CBJames on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I only recently started reading Henry James. I could not stand him in graduate school, when I was in my 20's, and never finished him when he was assigned, but twenty years on, I find much to enjoy in his work. I suspect he may be someone you have to grow into; I don't think he has much to say to the young; one needs more life experience before he can be appreciated. But why shouldn't living long come with a few rewards?Daisy Miller may be a good case in point. The main character, Mr. Winterbourne, meets young Miss Miller on one of those protracted vacations wealthy people in 19th century novels so often take. Mr. Winterbourne is at once taken in by Daisy's beauty and by her vivacity; she has a great lust for life and no self-conscienceness to hinder her. Daisy unknowingly breaks all the rules of her society in her search for experience. She does not know what she is doing, but she does not seem to mind.The two separate and then meet up again in Rome where Mr. Winterbourne finds Daisy engaged in an affair of sorts with a gold-digging Italian man. Daisy has so offended society by this time that none of the other Americans abroad will have anything to do with her or her family. Mr. Winterbourne tries to get her to change her ways, to convince her that she should drop the Italian and rejoin the more proper society of her peers, but she refuses. She will have her way whether or not society approves.A friend of mine once told me that Henry James ends his stories with an almost throw-away line or two that seems to put everything that went on up to then in a completely new light. That is the case with Daisy Miller, so though I really want to talk about the ending, I won't spoil it. I will say that I think it also supports my belief that one should wait before reading Henry James. Had I read this "throwaway" ending when I was 20, I would have been outraged at the hypocrasy Mr. Winterbourne displays. Now, I understand why he would do what he does, though it goes against what he has said up to then.My favorite character in Daisy Miller, my favorite in Henry James so far, is Mr. Winterbourne's aunt, Mrs. Costello. Here is her opinion of the Miller family:"They are hopelessly vulgar," said Mrs. Costello. "Whether or no being hopelessly vulgar is being 'bad' is a question for the metaphysicians. They are bad enough to dislike, at any rate; and for this short life that is quite enough."I think if I had read a line like that when I was 20 I would have come to at least dislike Mrs. Costello and possibly Henry James. Now, even though I realize she would certainly have nothing to do with me, I find her very funny. I've certainly moved away from Daisy's age towards Mrs. Costello's age and that has added to my understanding and appreciation of Henry James. Though I spend much of my time reading Young Adult fiction, I'm pleased to find something written with an older audience in mind. If you are under 35 and haven't read Henry James yet, I recommend waiting. Save a few treats for yourself later in life. You won't regret it. It's nice to discover something new, especially when it is also something old.
SweetbriarPoet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very short, sweet book with themes very common to Henry James' work. Although this is one of his better-known stories, I find it a little less interesting than that of [The Tragic Muse]. Perhaps because it is a short story, James tried to make it more transparent. There is some lovely symbolism and a wonderful description of setting in Rome, but the story is short and told from the point of view from a man who has no significant character structure. Henry James is a master of the written word, but his other works are more intense, more ambiguous, and therefore more rewarding than this work.
gwendolyndawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A flirtatious and vacuous American girl meets a European gentlemen. The girl is ultimately destroyed by her own frivolity and innocence. To me, this story is allegorical, with implications far broader than it first appears. Classic Henry James. Recommended.
ccookie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novella only 48 pages long. This is an odd little book. Written in 1878 it chronicles a young American girl¿s willful yet innocent flirtation with a young Italian. She is outgoing and flirtatious and refuses to change her ways in order to fit into a culture and society to which she does not belong.I understand that, for its time, it reflected absolutely scandalous behaviour on the part of this young woman and yet for today's time Daisy's behaviour is quite 'normal'.As a social commentary, it doesn't fit with contemporary situations and yet is a very sad reflection on the concept of arrogance on behalf of those who believe that they are the arbiters of 'good behavoiur'. There are many today who would criticize those that don't fit in instead of applauding them for being such free spirits.I can't say that this is going to go down in history as a great read but I am glad that I read it.
StefanY on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy reading classic literature, you might consider giving Daisy Miller a try. James' eloquent writing style and study of cultural ideas make this a very entertaining read. James looks closely at the culture of 19th century Americans on holiday in Europe. The narration makes for a very good window into the attitudes and opinions of the upper class at the time and the perceived differences between those with "old money" and those with "new money."For the most part, this is a light read. It does contain a few dark moments, and in the end the main character really does not exhibit any real growth. All in all, I found it to be interesting and enjoyed James' humor throughout. He has a very nice way of poking fun at some of the conventions of the time while managing to make these things seem of import to his characters. This infuses the story with the life that it needs to keep the reader interested enough to keep reading.
StoutHearted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Daisy Miller is the story of a naive young woman and the head-over-heels man who chases her. Daisy is an interesting character who seems to be way before her time. In her society, her vivaciousness, recklessness and trust in strangers earns her the scorn of the well-to-do. In today's world, Daisy would be a youtube star and have her own reality dating show. Yet unlike today's 15 minutes of fame seekers, Daisy has an innocence about her that leads her to be unable to comprehend why her behavior should bother anybody. The novella strongly suggests that she is the result of bad breeding, through the character of a dotty, unconcerned and helpless mother and an absent father.The novella's hero, Winterbourne, comes off like the disillusioned lover who suffers under the whims of Daisy. However, it is interesting to note that the beginning and end of the novel finds him rumored to have women on the side. Even Daisy deduces in Vevey that he has another women. Whether Henry James recognized this double standard is difficult to say. Winterbourne's aunt does lament that men can walk about the streets alone but women cannot, yet she does not question this doctrine. It seems the author frowns upon Daisy's behavior, judging by the fate he prescribed for her, having her die while realizing her folly. Yet Winterbourne has no growth at the end; he is back to where he started, adrift in Geneva. I think Daisy's ultimate folly is her lack of cleverness. She is too open to hide what she thinks and feels, which works against her. Others try desperately to warn her, but she sees no sense in denying herself fun and pleasure. It is interesting that while she doesn't "get" society, she still hurts from realizing that she has been completely cut off from it. A clever girl would have been discrete, but Daisy is too open for that. It is clear after being introduced to her family that she was not raised with any sense of propriety and education. Thus, it is hard to completely condemn her, when her earnestness keeps her chaming, and away from being a succubus.Winterbourne comes off as immature as Daisy, yet he escapes unscathed, perhaps because he gets reeled back into society when he casts off his obsessive love. The character is not as fleshed out as, say Age of Innocence's Archer, but goes through the same repressed emotions. Like Archer, Winterbourne has a taboo love for one unacceptable to society, and gives her up to remain a respected part of that society. But unlike Archer, Winterbourne is flat and only seems to come alive when around the Millers in Vevey. In Rome, he becomes an obsessed, jealous version of his Vevey self, but still Daisy's defender until his run-in with her at the Coliseum. After Daisy's death, he becomes flat again. Condemn Daisy as her society or author might, she has this power to bring Winterbourne (whom she rightfully called "dull") alive.What to make of her recklessness, then? Having her succumb to the fever after realizing Winterbourne is no longer her admirer seems awfully dramatic and soap opera-ish. It seems to say that once you are fully cut off from society, you might as well die. This suggests that Daisy's independence was only sustainable if there were admirers around her. Perhaps, like a flower, she thrived on love and positive emotions. These things taken away, she finally shriveled up and died.
MsNikki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Daisy is a free spirited American on vacation in Europe. Her would be suitor is the urbane Winterbourne. Daisy carefree ways are frowned upon in Europe. Henry James' novella about society and manners is still relevant, if a little pessimistic. Who suffers more the one who breaks with convention or the one who follows society's norms? You'll enjoy having to read this story for the answer.
RebeccaAnn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story's easy to follow. A young American girl in the late 1800s who is new to money does not understand society's rules. She flirts and openly goes around with strange men of unknown origins. She cares little for her own reputation. Winterbourne finds her pretty and is instantly attracted to her. When she pushes the boundaries, he shoves right back. In the end, Daisy pays the price. In a society where the double standards favor men, Daisy is punished by the author for being reckless. Winterbourne? He gets off with no harm done to his person. Typical.I liked this story. It was fun and easy. The story was told from Winterbourne's point of view, so it was hard to tell if Daisy was just ignorant of the rules or if she was purposely flaunting them. I personally thought she was ignorant and the "mystery behind Daisy Miller" was just a fantasy Winterbourne forced upon her image. Who knows?All in all, I liked this story!
rayette on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite James, but I enjoyed it. The ending is beautiful and sad.
greentea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I believe I thought about this book more after reading than I did while enjoying it.
juglicerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed most of this novel while I was reading, and I think that the writing is technically proficient. The end was a great disappointment, and left me wondering why I spend the time reading this mercifully short piece. At least I can say that I've read some of Henry James. My first problem with the book may be the result of not understanding the time period. I am not certain how Americans expected young women to behave, although I understand that their customs were much less restrictive than Europeans. I therefore don't know whether Daisy is rebellious, or reckless, or simply behaving in a manner that she understands to be suitable and many Europeans (American Euro-wannabees) misinterprete. Is the problem just that Winterbourne and Daisy don't understand each other's cultural assumptions, or that he is really reacting to Daisy's personality? Given the reactions of some of the Europeans, is Winterbourne following their codes of behavior more stringently than they do, perhaps fawning on Europeans by an excessive zeal to prove that he is like them? I am therefore at a loss to understand what point Miller is trying to make. Is the issue really the virtues of one set of social customs over another, or is it just the difficulties that arise from misunderstanding? I give this 3 stars rather than 2 because it might have made sense if I were reading it when it was written. My other problem may be idiosyncratic: THIS IS A SPOILER. I have little sympathy for anyone foolish enough to "die for love", especially a brief romance. Winterbourne and Daisy obviously aren't suited for each other, and the solution is to move on, not become suicidal. I really don't see their incompatibility as a moral issue on either side. If Winterbourne really can't respect Daisy then he does well not to become seriously involved with her. If he is stuffy and priggish, well, that's how he is and he should choose a compatible wife. When it comes to a serious commitment like marriage, it is necessary to acknowledge how one really is, not delude oneself about how one ought to be. If James' point, as reviewers seem to indicate, is to expose the difference between European and USA manners, the story is not well-constructed, since Daisy's critics are mostly expat Americans; real Europeans are more tolerant of her. The ending seems a bit bizarre. Such misunderstandings have been the basis of comedies of manners or novels of personal angst, but the ending to this novel is too melodramatic and contrived. In Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel, Claudia Johnson has some acerbic things to say about the tradition of killing off women disappointed in love. Does James mean to criticize Winterbourne? It would have been more satisfying (and reasonable) if Winterbourne later realized what a fool he had been when he meets up with the happily married, brilliant hostess Daisy Marriedname, famous beauty and wit, perhaps married to a real European who finds her refreshing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i really loved the plot, probably that i've been through the same thing that Winterbourne ben through. fascinating novel honestly. i could relate to this story without no doubt. After reading this i felt so weird, that one my life years is written in book with just different characters. thank you james for writing my favorite novel all time.    
Guest More than 1 year ago
A lovely novella which hints at the great writer James would become. Like all great literature, its theme rings very true today. A fun read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This short story is an excellent representation of the struggle between cultures and what one must do to survive in this predicament. Daisy is an example of a lady with much character to which one should strive to live up to. Whether one is looking for a short story to enjoy, or to critique the means of cultural existence, they will find Daisy Miller, by Henry James, an excellent choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Henry James is a literary genius and this novella expresses love, innocence, society, and inner turmoil within eighty pages that are saturated with real feeling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
daisy is honest,fresh and open and her heart is pure.the reason Daisy,has nothing in common with her fellow American is because they subscribe to European way of looking at life.
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