What Maisie Knew (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
Henry James is one of the greatest American novelists, and spent his last years in England. Among his numerous works are The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl, his two masterpieces.
Pat Righelato teaches in the School of English and American Literature at the University of Reading. From 1993 through 2000, she was coauthor of the review of contemporary poetry that appears annually in The Year's Work in English Studies. Righelato has also edited the Wordsworth Classics edition of Henry James's What Maisie Knew.