The incident that triggered "Daisy Miller" was a story James heard about a young American socialite, travelling in Italy, who fell for an Italian of uncertain social standing. So the impetus behind James' story was, in part, about class and social customs. Americans, coming from a society where social class is tied directly to wealth, often did not understand how, in Europe, social standing depended more on heredity. In fact, from the point of view of upper class Europeans, people like the socialite who inspired James were at best clueless about social forms and, at worst, simply vulgar.
So, one reason James wrote the story was to dramatize the conflict American and Eurpoean attitudes towards class could create. But, if that were all James had in mind, I don't think his story would have endured as it has.
To me, the...
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