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Daisy Miller (English Edition)
 
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Daisy Miller (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Henry James
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Chapter I

At the little town of Vevey, in Switzerland, there is a particularly comfortable hotel; there are indeed many hotels, since the entertainment of tourists is the business of the place, which, as many travellers will remember, is seated upon the edge of a remarkably blue lake —a lake that it behoves every tourist to visit. The shore of the lake presents an unbroken array of establishments of this order, of every category, from the “grand hotel” of the newest fashion, with a chalk-white front, a hundred balconies, and a dozen flags flying from its roof, to the small Swiss pension of an elder day, with its name inscribed in German-looking lettering upon a pink or yellow wall and an awkward summer-house in the angle of the garden. One of the hotels at Vevey, however, is famous, even classical, being distinguished from many of its upstart neighbours by an air both of luxury and of maturity. In this region, through the month of June, American travellers are extremely numerous; it may be said indeed that Vevey assumes at that time some of the characteristics of an American watering-place. There are sights and sounds that evoke a vision, an echo, of Newport and Saratoga. There is a flitting hither and thither of “stylish” young girls, a rustling of muslin flounces, a rattle of dance-music in the morning hours, a sound of high-pitched voices at all times. You receive an impression of these things at the excellent inn of the “Trois Couronnes,” and are transported in fancy to the Ocean House or to Congress Hall. But at the “Trois Couronnes,” it must be added, there are other features much at variance with these suggestions: neat German waiters who look like secretaries of legation; Russian princesses sitting in the garden; little Polish boys walking about, held by the hand, with their governors; a view of the snowy crest of the Dent du Midi and the picturesque towers of the Castle of Chillon.

I hardly know whether it was the analogies or the differences that were uppermost in the mind of a young American, who, two or three years ago, sat in the garden of the “Trois Couronnes,” looking about him rather idly at some of the graceful objects I have mentioned. It was a beautiful summer morning, and in whatever fashion the young American looked at things they must have seemed to him charming. He had come from Geneva the day before, by the little steamer, to see his aunt, who was staying at the hotel—Geneva having been for a long time his place of residence. But his aunt had a headache—his aunt had almost always a headache—and she was now shut up in her room smelling camphor, so that he was at liberty to wander about. He was some seven-and-twenty years of age; when his friends spoke of him they usually said that he was at Geneva “studying.” When his enemies spoke of him they said—but after all he had no enemies: he was extremely amiable and generally liked. What I should say is simply that when certain persons spoke of him they conveyed that the reason of his spending so much time at Geneva was that he was extremely devoted to a lady who lived there—a foreign lady, a person older than himself. Very few Americans—truly I think none—had ever seen this lady, about whom there were some singular stories. But Winterbourne had an old attachment for the little capital of Calvinism; he had been put to school there as a boy and had afterwards even gone, on trial—trial of the grey old “Academy” on the steep and stony hillside—to college there; circumstances which had led to his forming a great many youthful friendships. Many of these he had kept, and they were a source of great satisfaction to him.

After knocking at his aunt’s door and learning that she was indisposed he had taken a walk about the town and then he had come in to his breakfast. He had now finished that repast, but was enjoying a small cup of coffee which had been served him on a little table in the garden by one of the waiters who looked like attachés. At last he finished his coffee and lit a cigarette. Presently a small boy came walking along the path—an urchin of nine or ten. The child, who was diminutive for his years, had an aged expression of countenance, a pale complexion and sharp little features. He was dressed in knickerbockers and had red stockings that displayed his poor little spindle-shanks; he also wore a brilliant red cravat. He carried in his hand a long alpenstock, the sharp point of which he thrust into everything he approached—the flower-beds, the garden-benches, the trains of the ladies’ dresses. In front of Winterbourne he paused, looking at him with a pair of bright and penetrating little eyes.

“Will you give me a lump of sugar?” he asked in a small sharp hard voice—a voice immature and yet somehow not young.

Winterbourne glanced at the light table near him, on which his coffee-service rested, and saw that several morsels of sugar remained. “Yes, you may take one,” he answered; “but I don’t think too much sugar good for little boys.”

This little boy stepped forward and carefully selected three of the coveted fragments, two of which he buried in the pocket of his knickerbockers, depositing the other as promptly in another place. He poked his alpenstock, lance-fashion, into Winterbourne’s bench and tried to crack the lump of sugar with his teeth.

“Oh blazes; it’s har-r-d!” he exclaimed, divesting vowel and consonants, pertinently enough, of any taint of softness.

Winterbourne had immediately gathered that he might have the honour of claiming him as a countryman. “Take care you don’t hurt your teeth,” he said paternally.

“I haven’t got any teeth to hurt. They’ve all come out. I’ve only got seven teeth. Mother counted them last night, and one came out right afterwards. She said she’d slap me if any more came out. I can’t help it. It’s this old Europe. It’s the climate that makes them come out. In America they didn’t come out. It’s these hotels.”

Winterbourne was much amused. “If you eat three lumps of sugar your mother will certainly slap you,” he ventured.

“She’s got to give me some candy then,” rejoined his young interlocutor. “I can’t get any candy here—any American candy. American candy’s the best candy.”

“And are American little boys the best little boys?” Winterbourne asked.

“I don’t know. I’m an American boy,” said the child.

“I see you’re one of the best!” the young man laughed.

“Are you an American man?” pursued this vivacious infant. And then on his friend’s affirmative reply, “American men are the best,” he declared with assurance.

His companion thanked him for the compliment, and the child, who had now got astride of his alpenstock, stood looking about him while he attacked another lump of sugar. Winterbourne wondered if he himself had been like this in his infancy, for he had been brought to Europe at about the same age.

“Here comes my sister!” cried his young compatriot. “She’s an American girl, you bet!”

Winterbourne looked along the path and saw a beautiful young lady advancing. “American girls are the best girls,” he thereupon cheerfully remarked to his visitor.

“My sister ain’t the best!” the child promptly returned. “She’s always blowing at me.”

“I imagine that’s your fault, not hers,” said Winterbourne. The young lady meanwhile had drawn near. She was dressed in white muslin, with a hundred frills and flounces and knots of pale-coloured ribbon. Bareheaded, she balanced in her hand a large parasol with a deep border of embroidery; and she was strikingly, admirably pretty. “How pretty they are!” thought our friend, who straightened himself in his seat as if he were ready to rise.

The young lady paused in front of his bench, near the parapet of the garden, which overlooked the lake. The small boy had now converted his alpenstock into a vaulting-pole, by the aid of which he was springing about in the gravel and kicking it up not a little. “Why Randolph,” she freely began, “what are you doing?”

“I’m going up the Alps!” cried Randolph. “This is the way!” And he gave another extravagant jump, scattering the pebbles about Winterbourne’s ears.

“That’s the way they come down,” said Winterbourne.

“He’s an American man!” proclaimed Randolph in his harsh little voice.

The young lady gave no heed to this circumstance, but looked straight at her brother. “Well, I guess you’d better be quiet,” she simply observed.

It seemed to Winterbourne that he had been in a manner presented. He got up and stepped slowly toward the charming creature, throwing away his cigarette. “This little boy and I have made acquaintance,” he said with great civility. In Geneva, as he had been perfectly aware, a young man wasn’t at liberty to speak to a young unmarried lady save under certain rarely-occurring conditions; but here at Vevey what conditions could be better than these?—a pretty American girl coming to stand in front of you in a garden with all the confidence in life. This pretty American girl, whatever that might prove, on hearing Winterbourne’s observation simply glanced at him; she then turned her head and looked over the parapet, at the lake and the opposite mountains. He wondered whether he had gone too far, but decided that he must gallantly advance rather than retreat. While he was thinking of something else to say the young lady turned again to the little boy, whom she addressed quite as ...

From Library Journal

James's brief 1858 classic is here presented as a no-frills edition in Dover's Thrift series. Since the text is a staple in many high school and college literature curricula, Dover provides a painless, inexpensive way of stocking multiple copies.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Bon livre. Très bien pour l'édition Kindle 22 mars 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
J'ai eu besoin de ce livre rapidement pour une étude littéraire. J'ai pu l'obtenir gratuitement sur ma kindle, et cela m'a bien arrangé, car je ne voulais pas l'acheter. Le roman en lui-même est plaisant.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  23 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Henry James' "Daisy Miller" 20 janvier 2013
Par Gretchen Stull - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
Brief, but with a great deal of substance. Daisy is a fascinating character. Like Winterborne, I spent most of the story unsure of her motivations only to realize she had none. She wasn't playing some intricate societal game or trying to create controversy, she just wanted to have fun in a society that denigrated women for defining "fun" in the carefree way of Daisy. It's a simple, beautiful, and all together tragic story of an innocent young woman who wished only to do as she pleased, hurting no one except, ultimately, herself.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic 1 décembre 2012
Par Douglas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is one of James' greatest stories featuring complex characters trying to negotiate complex relationships at a time when the role of women in society was being questioned. If your buying this to pleasure read, and you are not certain what you are getting, you may want to research this title first.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 </spoiler> I watched the movie recently and thought Cloris Leachman was perfect as her ditzy mother 3 juillet 2014
Par Terry - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Daisy Miller is a comparison of social mores of the upper class Europeans & Americans of the 19th century.
Daisy is open and unaffected, but comes off as uncouth to her more conservative European acquaintances.
She does seem to be a little rude and oblivious to European culture. Since Daisy is a visitor, you would think she would be a little more sensitive to the European way of doing things.
I think Henry James is using the bratty little brother and the ignorant, yet opinionated mother as an unattractive example of self centered American tourists. However, he also shows the overly proper and conservative Europeans as narrow-minded and judgmental.

Why does she use the name Daisy if it is not her real name? Is it a nickname? It never seems to be really explained in the book.
<spoiler>
I thought the story ended very abruptly and unemotionally for the death of a main character. Why did she have to die anyway? She could have just dropped out of sight and/or went on with her travels, or back to America, while sending him a message and I think it would have had the same effect.
Daisy catching the "Roman Fever" (Malaria) seemed unrealistically dramatic to me for this type of novel.
</spoiler>

I watched the movie recently and thought Cloris Leachman was perfect as her ditzy mother, but I found Cybil Shepard's interpretation of Daisy Miller rather annoying. I understand she was a chatterbox, but the Daisy in the Henry James novel seemed like a sweeter, more naturally honest young woman, without guile. Cybil Shepard turned her into an unfeeling flirt and the messages from her sick bed didn't feel convincing.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Challenged to read Daisy Miller 6 août 2014
Par K. L. Bauer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I only read this as it was one of the books assigned to my daughter to read over the summer. It was a short book and she challenged me to read it. It was quite different than my usual selection of light romance books, but I did manage to finish it. There were quite a few descriptive words that are no longer used everyday which caused me to highlight the word and look it up on google- this got annoying at times. I enjoyed how he described the countryside however and it was interesting to read about society norms in this time period. It's so different from the "anything goes" society we have today. All that being said, would I have selected this book had it not been an assignment for my daughter? No I wouldn't have, but am I glad I read it? Yes, because we can discuss the book together, and we both learned from it. This was actually my first "historical" book and all in all it wasn't bad.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Well Done Book 21 février 2013
Par Nancy S. Budner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Daisy Miller is not a light read, although it is quite short. Henry James seems to have conflicting views about European and American life values in his period and the book makes you think about how they might be viewed in our own time.
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