What Maisie Knew (Wordsworth Classics)

by Henry James | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1840224126 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingtabby-cat-ownerwing of Bellingham, Washington USA on 12/21/2007
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingtabby-cat-ownerwing from Bellingham, Washington USA on Friday, December 21, 2007
With an Introduction by Pat Righelato, University of Reading The child of parents who divorce, remarry and then embark on adulterous affairs, Maisie Farange survives by her intelligence and spirit. For all its sombre theme of childhood innocence exposed to a corrupted adult world, this novel is one of James's comic masterpieces. The outrageous behaviour of the characters on the seedy fringes of the English upper class is conveyed with wit and relish. The dual perspective of a sophisticated narrator richly appreciative of the absurdities of the adult sexual merry-go-round and the candid vision of Maisie, 'rebounding' from one parent to another like a 'shuttlecock', together create an 'associational magic'. Strangely, unexpectedly, from so much that is tawdry, comes a tale of moral energy and subtlety. James's foresight was in understanding the modernity of his subject, which is even more relevant today in the twenty-first century.

Journal Entry 2 by wingtabby-cat-ownerwing from Bellingham, Washington USA on Monday, February 8, 2010
This book has been mailed to TracyW of London, England, UK.

I hope you enjoy this book, TracyW.

Journal Entry 3 by TracyW on Friday, February 19, 2010
I've read it - what a sad sad story. With some funny bits of course, but oh dear, Maisie's terrible parents, and the poor wastrel Sir Claude, I'm guessing a guy not brought up to have to do any work, and Miss Overbury the selfish governess. And then poor Maisie herself, who doesn't appear to have any friends with other children, let alone any stable ones, and having nearly everything she says laughed at by the adults, oh and those heartbreaking scenes where her parents separately basically abandon her.

And it's an interesting puzzle book as you figure out what is meant (eg it took me a while to work out that "fat" was the mysterious word that referred to both what Maisie's legs were missing and her least favourite bit of the roast). This adds interest, although it doesn't help when I am getting interrupted every ten seconds while reading a particularly difficult passage. The way that Henry James presents Maisie's growing awareness of the world around her, in adult terms, is very masterfully done. It makes me want to go and re-read Portrait of a Lady.

Need to clear out some space on my bookshelf.

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