Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*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.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Daisy Miller is a novella, a fictional form which combines the single focus of a short story with the more leisurely development of...

(The entire section is 1001 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Daisy Miller centers partly on the role of convention in the human community and on the problem of reconciling the right to express...

(The entire section is 348 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As a novel of manners, Daisy Miller fits into the tradition of fiction that presents the prevailing modes of conduct peculiar to a...

(The entire section is 227 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

James found the figure of "the American Girl" congenial to many of his important themes and refined and extended his depiction of her in...

(The entire section is 130 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

A cinematic adaptation of Daisy Miller was directed and produced for Paramount Pictures by Peter Bogdanovich in 1974. The film is...

(The entire section is 140 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

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).

Samuels, Charles Thomas. The Ambiguity of Henry James. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1971. Shows how Daisy Miller fits into James’s view of the guilt of innocence. Daisy is culpable, as are her persecutors—especially the fastidious Winterbourne, yearning for American purity in a fallen world.

Tintner, Adeline R. The Museum World of Henry James. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1986. Concentrates on James’s use of the portrait of Pope Innocent X as analogy and contrast to Daisy’s innocence in the work. Points out the ironic ending: that Winterbourne will be subject to the gossip he sought to avoid.

Wagenknecht, Edward. Eve and Henry James: Portraits of Women and Girls in His Fiction. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978. Looks at the origins of the work, the controversy it aroused, and its literary counterparts. Considers Daisy’s character, her refusal to conform, and her ignorance of corruption.