HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

What Maisie Knew (1897)

by Henry James

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,113427,579 (3.41)195
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Maisie's parents go through an acrimonious divorce when she is very young, and the court decrees that she will travel between them, spending time with each. They do not hesitate to use her in their war against each other, and she is neglected and abandoned by them as they each remarry and then take further lovers. The story follows her to maturity, when she is able to decide her own fate.

.… (more)
  1. 00
    The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (WSB7, Nickelini)
    WSB7: Striking contrast in the perspicasity and development of the central characters.
  2. 00
    The Children by Edith Wharton (shaunie)
    shaunie: Similar subject matter (child/children being appallingly treated by their thoughtless parents) - Wharton's book is much more readable and entertaining.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 195 mentions

English (38)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I found it interesting reading about parents as messed up as my own, and thanks to my own screwy family, I could relate to Maisie's plight very well. She and I have a lot in common. But, while I could relate to the story, I couldn't always precisely follow the story. In this book, Henry James uses so much current slang and pretentious, overly verbose language that it is a chore keeping up with what is going on in this book. In addition, while I sympathize with poor, dear Maisie, I must point out that she lives a very fancy,comfortable life despite the terrible misery James seems to be trying to describe. For readers in the 1900's or 1920's, especially well-to-do readers from conservative backgrounds, I am sure this book made a lot more sense. For me, as a modern 2014 reader who grew up in similar circumstances to the main character's, the choices Maisie makes and the circumstances for them come across a bit differently. I do think that Maisie did well in choosing as she did, because the possibility of her being drawn into a romance of her own, if she had chosen the other option she was given, would have been very awkward and jarring even to my modern moral sense.

Did I like this book? Not exactly. But, I do think it would make a great book to read and discuss in a class or a book club setting. There would be plenty to discuss. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
This books astounded me. Written 125 years ago by someone who never had kids, this brilliant thinking and novelist wrote the story of a young girl who was pushed & pulled by her divorcing parents, both of whom acknowledged they were using her to hurt the other parent. Then both parents married others, so she had 4 parents, and her natural parents drew further away from her. BUT ... Maisie knew what was going on, as the book goes from her being 8 to being 10. She is very perceptive and very sharp. The book is remarkable for having built this theme so long ago when divorce was quite rare. I love this book. Maisie is a character I expect to remember for a long time. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
Sad story about a girl and her divorced parents. ( )
  autumnesf | Jan 18, 2023 |
I may appreciate this more on a second reading at a different time, but right now it was a miserable and difficult read. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
The heartbreaking 2013 movie, and an evocative paperback cover by Edward Gorey, brought me to this 1908 novel. Custody of Maisie, a six year old daughter of divorce, is shared by her venal father, vain mother, a nanny, and her mother's paramour. Maisie herself tries again and again to predict the actions of this horrible tribe of alleged adults before she falls between the cracks. It's kind of astounding that Henry James wrote a novel of this very same situation at least some sixty years before Kramer vs Kramer. Also progressive for the time period is that blame falls equally to both parents, and there's no automatic assumption that every woman possesses a maternal instinct - in fact, it's the mother's boyfriend who seems to be the most responsible adult in the room - until he isn't. The outdated, overly florid language makes for a very difficult read, but there are gems of forgotten verbiage - "animadvert", "peccant" - that make for tiny treasure hunt moments. ( )
  froxgirl | Feb 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Henry James’s What Maisie Knew is a perfect comedy, a riotous and delightful piece of Olympian foolery—and happily free from Mr. James’s more recondite snarls of speech. It is worth a dozen best-sellers of the current crop. It has more good fun in it, and more shrewdness, and more civilized entertainment than all the masterworks of the Athertons and Sinclairs, the Herricks and Frank Danbys, the Phillpottses and Mrs. Humphry Wards, taken together. It is a first rate piece of writing by a first rate man.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Smart Set, H. L. Mencken
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James, Henryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricks, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Theroux, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
The litigation seemed interminable and had in fact been complicated; but by the decision on the appeal the judgement of the divorce-court was confirmed as to the assignment of the child.
I recognise again, for the first of these three Tales, another instance of the growth of the "great oak" from the little acorn; since What Maisie Knew is at least a tree that spreads beyond any provision its small germ might on a first handling have appeared likely to make for it. (Preface)

The New York edition of James' works, from which this edition of What Maisie Knew has been set, included prefaces by James for each volume. This preface is taken from James' preface to Volume 11, which included two short stories as well as What Maisie Knew. The references to the two stories have been deleted.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Maisie's parents go through an acrimonious divorce when she is very young, and the court decrees that she will travel between them, spending time with each. They do not hesitate to use her in their war against each other, and she is neglected and abandoned by them as they each remarry and then take further lovers. The story follows her to maturity, when she is able to decide her own fate.

.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.41)
0.5 3
1 16
1.5 1
2 22
2.5 9
3 72
3.5 22
4 78
4.5 4
5 41

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 204,512,648 books! | Top bar: Always visible