- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (November 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141441372
- ISBN-13: 978-0141441375
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 133 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Maisie Knew (Penguin Classics) Revised Edition
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“Reading Henry James is like putting a new faculty to the test. This is the true morality.”—Anita Brookner
About the Author
HENRY JAMES (1843–1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines.
In 1869, and then in 1872–74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima(1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century,The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907).
During his career he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.
CHRISTOPHER RICKS is professor of humanities at Boston University and most recently author of Dylan’s Visions of Sin.
Top customer reviews
Maisie's knowing plays out in several ways. I won't spoil it for you.
I read a couple of James's novels in grad school; they did nothing for me. I think I wasn't mature enough for them. What Maisie Knew has made me a James fan, eager to re-read those two and more. By pure luck I've fallen into a Wings of the Dove reading group. It comes to me exactly at the right time. (less)
The story line is the raising of a small girl by her divorced parents. Both parents dislike each other and use the child to find out what each other is doing and use that information to further their mutual dislike and share their feelings with the young child whenever the child is residing with one of the parents.
The parents remarry and the child is introduced to her step-parents. The step-parents each develop a relationship with the child. They become more caring and concerned with her well-being and enjoy spending time with her, unlike her biological parents.
There is also a governess in the cast. She also develops relationship with the child and each of the step-parents.
James' writing style is quite verbose and makes it difficult to understand the relationships and what each adult is trying to accomplish in their relationship with the child. James writes in long, winding sentences that seem to go forward and then double back on themselves to add extra information or explanation of what the meat of the sentence is.
I have read Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens and others and enjoyed them. Perhaps if I had read this while attending a lit class focused on James I might have a better opinion of his work. As it is...this is my last attempt at reading Henry James.
However, you do feel for and with Maisie. She is a little girl that no one wants except one wizened old woman. No one wants her because, to a greater or lesser extent, she interferes with the various and divers sexual dalliances.
Sad, but sadly, her plight is unremarkable.