What Maisie Knew

What Maisie Knew

Henry James

Language: English

Pages: 237

ISBN: 1540509516

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


After her parents' bitter divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself shuttled between her selfish mother and vain father, who value her only as a means for provoking each other. And when both take lovers and remarry, Maisie – solitary, observant and wise beyond her years – is drawn into an increasingly entangled adult world of intrigue and sexual betrayal, until she is finally compelled to choose her own future. Published in 1897 when Henry James was becoming increasingly experimental with narrative technique and fascinated by the idea of the child's-eye view, What Maisie Knew is a subtle, intricate yet devastating portrayal of an innocent adrift in a corrupt society.

Henry James was born in 1843 in Washington Place, New York. Attending schools in New York, London, Paris and Geneva, he trained for Law at Harvard in 1862. In 1875 he settled in Paris for a year, where he met Flaubert, Turgenev and other literary figures. He moved in London the following year, and remained in England for the rest of life, becoming naturalized in 1915, a year before his death.

Paul Theroux was born in 1941. After a five-year stay in Africa, he taught at the University of Singapore from 1968 to 1971. He was written many novels, short stories, and travel books.

Patricia Crick, one-time Scholar of Girton College, Cambridge, is a teacher of modern languages.

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she doesn’t?’ Mrs Wix appeared to give this question the benefit of a minute’s thought. ‘Why should he have come – only to go back?’ Maisie produced an ingenious solution. ‘To make her go. To take her.’ Mrs Wix met it without a concession. ‘If he can make her go so easily, why should he have let her come?’ Maisie considered. ‘Oh just to see me. She has a right.’ ‘Yes – she has a right.’ ‘She’s my mother!’ Maisie tentatively tittered. ‘Yes – she’s your mother.’ ‘Besides,’ Maisie went on,

Have you lost it again?’ Maisie surveyed – for the idea of a describable loss – the immensity of space. Then she replied lamely enough: ‘I feel as if I had lost everything.’ Mrs Wix looked dark. ‘Do you mean to say you have lost what we found together with so much difficulty two days ago?’ As her pupil failed of response she continued: ‘Do you mean to say you’ve already forgotten what we found together?’ Maisie dimly remembered. ‘My moral sense?’ ‘Your moral sense. Haven’t I, after all,

from; they couldn’t have told exactly why, but it was a part of their tenderness for him not to let him think they had trouble. What dazzled most was his kindness to Mrs Wix, not only the five-pound note and the ‘not forgetting’ her, but the perfect consideration, as she called it with an air to which her sounding of the words gave the only grandeur Maisie was to have seen her wear save on a certain occasion hereafter to be described, an occasion when the poor lady was grander than all of them

wonderful month of May – as soft as a drop of the wind in a gale that had kept one awake – when he took out his stepdaughter with a fresh alacrity and they rambled the great town in search, as Mrs Wix called it, of combined amusement and instruction. They rode on the top of buses; they visited outlying parks; they went to cricket matches where Maisie fell asleep; they tried a hundred places for the best one to have tea. This was his direct way of rising to Mrs Wix’s grand lesson – of making his

now superfluous as a protector, gathers her up; and the novel ends on a note of failure and thwarted hope. Maisie now knows everything, and that knowledge is the death of childhood. A NOTE ON THE TEXT There are a number of versions of What Maisie Knew. It appeared first in instalments in The Chap-Book (Chicago), January–August 1897, and in a shortened form in the New Review (London), February–September 1897. Maisie appeared, with more changes, as a book in England in September 1897, and in

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