Henry James, ‘Daisy Miller’

June 26, 2005 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

Henry James, ‘Daisy Miller’Sunday was daisy miller day at Dave’s place.

Despite some of us, moi especialment, being somewhat tired and hungover thanks to leannes party the previous night, which was fabulous – thank you annie – we had a fairly lively discussion on Daisy Miller.

The difference of opinion was on how to interpret the main character, Daisy.

Miller’s narrator, the 30 something educated 19th century wealthy American roaming from one luxury hotel in europe to another, and presumably Miller himself, are in love with Daisy. The book is essentially a description of their fascination with her.

However, although in love, his descriptions are ambiguous. It is never clear whether Miller’s narrator genuinely thinks Daisy is fabulous or just stupid and exploitable, and it is never clear which Daisy really is.

So Bookgroupers made up their own minds and everyone chose differently – naive, unwise, scandalous, misunderstood, righteous feminist pioneer – take your pick.

Perhaps some of this ambivalence both in the author and readers reflects societies continuing ambivalence to strong outgoing women.

There were also differences between Bookgroupers on the writing itself. That 19th century Jane Austen style of long winded reserve, that leaves nearly everything unspoken, leaves me cold these days. However, others, particularly Don, loved it.


Entry filed under: american, classic, fiction, historical, travel.

Jonathan Swift, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ A travel book

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