Saturday, February 2, 2013

James, Henry (Daisy Miller)

OK, I'm going to try and write this without accessing the 30 trillion sites that offer critical analysis of the classic.

Firstly - woah, what a leap back in time. To an age where courtesy, poise and decorum were the only methods of interaction that anyone cared about, at least in polite high society. It is always strange to read the classics for these reasons. Even more interesting (and I did go look up the briefest of bios on Henry James), this is a classic written by an American who lived in both England and the U.S. throughout his life. That was exactly what I was going to guess after finishing this!

The story revolves around the exploits of one Miss Daisy Miller, the original "hippie" of the mid- to late-1800s. She is free and forthright with her opinions, her affections, and her entire modus operandi of interaction with the opposite sex. To say this is shocking for the genteel societies of Europe is to say too little. To us, in current times, it seems almost laughable because it's so hard for us to place ourselves in that time. Heck, we have a hard enough time understanding how our mothers managed the 1940s or so.

I'm going to enjoy discussing this petite volume with my American-women book-club over British high tea. It might almost feel like an oxymoron.

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