With an Introduction and Notes 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' 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' foresight was in understanding the modernity of his subject, which is even more relevant today in the twenty-first century. AUTHOR Although born in the United States, Henry James (1843-1916) was educated in Europe, and spend most of his later life in England, eventually becoming a British citizen. His novels often illustrate the clash of cultures between America and Europe, and in truth were not particularly popular during his lifetime, particularly in the country of his birth. In recent years, his novels have been adapted for film and television, and his supernatural stories, particularly 'The Turn of the Screw', remain highly regarded.
- Publication Date:
- 17 / 01 / 2000