Daisy Miller and Washington Square (Barnes & Noble Classics by Henry James, Jennie A. Kassanoff

By Henry James, Jennie A. Kassanoff

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They were wonderfully pretty eyes; and, indeed, Winterbourne had not seen for a long time anything prettier than his fair countrywoman舗s various features舒her complexion, her nose, her ears, her teeth. He had a great relish for feminine beauty; he was addicted to observing and analysing it; and as regards this young lady舗s face he made several observations. It was not at all insipid, but it was not exactly expressive; and though it was eminently delicate Winterbourne mentally accused it舒very forgivingly舒of a want of finish.

P. 27). Craving dissent, Daisy seeks a public sphere in which one can speak one舗s mind without the stifling intervention of self-styled representatives or chap erones. Hers is a world of direct democracy. Unlike Winterbourne, who cloaks his desire to see her beneath the conventional pretense that he has come to Rome to visit his aunt, Daisy is alarmingly direct: 舠I don舗t want you to come for your aunt, ... I want you to come for me舡 (p. 30). Like her frank gaze (舠she avoided neither his eyes nor those of any one else; she blushed neither when she looked at him nor when she saw that people were looking at her舡 [p.

Which should show European critics of American manners and customs the light in which the Daisy Millers are regarded by Americans themselves舡 (James舗s 舠Daisy Miller,舡 p. 107). Other readers, however, were not so sanguine. Daisy Miller was 舠an outrage on American girlhood,舡 they declared (James, Daisy Miller; Pandora; The Patagonia; and Other Tales, p. v). Indeed, her story was so scandalous as to cast doubt on James舗s patriotism. The New York Times, for one, took this charge seriously enough to mount a spirited rebuttal.

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