Travelling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? When she strikes up an intimate friendship with an urbane young Italian, her flat refusal to observe the codes of respectable behaviour leave her perilously exposed. In "Daisy Miller" James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces.
Henry James was born in 1843 in Washington Place, New York, of Scottish and Irish ancestry. In addition to many short stories, plays, books of criticism, autobiography and travel, he wrote some twenty novels, the first published being Roderick Hudson (1875). They include The Europeans, Washington Square, The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Princess Casamassima, The Tragic Muse, The Spoils of Poynton, The Awkward Age, The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl. Born in South London on 28 January 1935, Professor David Lodge is Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where he taught from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to write full-time. Changing Places (1975), was Lodge's first book in a trilogy of campus novels with Small World (1984), and Nice Work (1988). His new novel, Author, Author: A Novel (2004), opens in December 1915 with the dying Henry James, and journeys back to the 1880s to explore James's 'middle years'. David Lodge lives in Birmingham. Philip Horne is Professor of English at University College London.