What Maisie Knew (Paperback)
What Maisie Knew is Henry James's damning portrait of adultery, jealousy and possession on the decadent fringe of English upper-class society. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Christopher Ricks. After her parents' bitter divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself turned into a 'little feathered shuttlecock' to be swatted back and forth by her selfish mother, Ida, and her vain father, Beale, who value her only as a means of provoking one another. When both take lovers and remarry, Maisie - solitary, observant and wise beyond her years - is drawn into an entangled adult world of intrigue and sexual betrayal, until she is at last able to cooperate in choosing her own future. As time conquers innocence, Henry James masterfully portrays Maisie's consciousness developing from simple childlike 'wonder' to a rich, morally-scrupulous adult mind. This edition of What Maisie Knew includes a chronology, suggested further reading, three contemporary reviews, Henry James's own commentaries on the work, and an introduction that examines how children figured in his predecessors' novels, and how war is waged between the sexes in What Maisie Knew. Henry James (1843-1916) son of a prominent theologian, and brother to the philosopher William James, was one of the most celebrated novelists of the fin-de-siecle. In addition to many short stories, plays, books of criticism, biography and autobiography, and much travel writing, he wrote some twenty novels. His novella 'Daisy Miller' (1878) established him as a literary figure on both sides of the Atlantic, and his other novels in Penguin Classics include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Awkward Age (1899), The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904) If you enjoyed What Maisie Knew, you might like Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Embodies everything that James excelled at in fiction' Paul Theroux.
About the Author
Henry James was born the son of a religious philosopher in New York City in 1843. His famous works include The Portrait of a Lady, Washington Square, Daisy Miller, and The Turn of the Screw. He died in London in 1916, and is buried in the family plot in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Christopher Ricks is a Warren Professor of the Humanities, codirector of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and a member of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He was formerly professor of English at the universities of Bristol and Cambridge.
Ricks is the author of Milton's Grand Style (1963), Tennyson (second edition, 1989), Keats and Embarrassment (1974), The Force of Poetry (1984), T.S. Eliot and Prejudice (1988), Beckett's Dying Words (1993), Essays in Appreciation (1996), Allusion to the Poets (2002), and Reviewery (2003). He is also the editor of Poems of Tennyson (second edition, 1987), The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse (1987), A.E. Housman: Collected Poems and Selected Prose (1988), Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909-1917 by T.S. Eliot (1996), The Oxford Book of English Verse (1999), Selected Poems of James Henry (2002), and Decisions and Revisions in T.S. Eliot (2003).