Daisy Miller Themes & Social Concerns

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D aisy Miller, which first appeared in England in Cornhill Magazine in 1878, has always remained one of Henry James's most popular works. It has some characteristics of the novel of manners, a genre, often but not always satiric, which represents the behavior, customs and values typical of a particular social class in a given time and place. Specifically, in it James presents an early version of his "international theme" by juxtaposing the manners and culture of American tourists in Europe with those of Americans who have lived abroad for such a long time that they have become Europeanized. The major aspects of this America-Europe contrast are innocence vs. experience, spontaneity vs. ritual, naturalness vs. artificiality and frankness vs. duplicity. In developing these polarities, James moves beyond the surface to endow his story with deepening social, psychological, and moral significance.

The social dimension arises from the differences between...

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This section contains 1,273 words
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Buy the Daisy Miller Study Guide
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