Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
*Vevey (vuh-VAY). Small resort city on the northeastern shore of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, a large lake in the Swiss Alps. Daisy Miller, a seventeen-year-old American girl from Schenectady, New York, is traveling with her mother and younger brother. The Millers are vacationing in Europe to acquire some culture and because that is what they think rich people do. They are staying at an elegant resort hotel. Also staying at the hotel is American Frederick Winterbourne. Winterbourne went to school at Geneva and spends most of his time with other wealthy Americans in Europe. It is Winterbourne’s consciousness that readers follow through the story. Miss Miller and Mr. Winterbourne meet casually on the grounds of the hotel because of Miss Miller’s young brother Randolph. Ordinarily it would be improper in high society for a young lady to make the acquaintance of a gentleman without being formally introduced by a mutual acquaintance. At a resort, however, people are more relaxed about social formalities. When Miss Miller suggests that she is eager to see the nearby Castle of Chillon, Winterbourne offers to accompany her. Afterward, Winterbourne leaves Vevey for another social engagement. All of the action in part 1 takes place at Vevey. Winterbourne and Miller agree to see each other in Rome, where many wealthy Americans will spend the winter.
*Castle of Chillon
*Castle of Chillon. Ancient castle in Vaud on the...
(The entire section is 552 words.)
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Ideas for Group Discussions
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Graham, George Kenneth. Henry James: The Drama of Fulfilment. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1975. Concentrates on the tragicomedy of Winterbourne’s attempt to understand Daisy. Examines the interplay between the social and the personal, and the rational and the emotional.
Hoffmann, Charles G. The Short Novels of Henry James. New York: Bookman Associates, 1957. Examines how Daisy Miller presents European social codes as constraints on evil—and Daisy’s defiance as foolish American innocence of evil. Looks at the theme of appearance (Daisy’s corruption) versus reality (Daisy’s innocence).
(The entire section is 236 words.)