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The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
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The Portrait of a Lady (1881)

by Henry James

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,70987437 (3.9)9 / 628
  1. 71
    Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (roby72)
  2. 61
    Howards End by E. M. Forster (carlym)
  3. 50
    The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (carlym)
  4. 40
    Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Surprised this recommendation hasn't already been made ... scholars throughout the years have noted Gwendolen Harleth's influence upon James in creating Isabel Archer.
  5. 10
    Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the making of an American masterpiece by Michael Gorra (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Non-fiction work detailing the story behind the novel's writing.
  6. 21
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Nickelini)
  7. 10
    The Reef by Edith Wharton (noveltea)
  8. 01
    Indian Summer by William Dean Howells (Bjace)
    Bjace: Howells ventures into Henry James territory with this tale of an American expatriate in Florence who is caught between two women. Howells teases the reader by starting to write a Henry James ending and then doing something quite different.
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English (81)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (86)
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  AllyWatkins | Aug 31, 2016 |
The 'Portrait' part of the title I understood; the 'Lady' I didn't. Maybe it was my applying 21st century sensibilities to 19th century mores but to me Isabel Osmond nee Archer was the victim of an act of kindness first and a martyr of her own making later. Neither makes one a lady. I read the last few pages with a sigh of resignation. Still, it's masterfully written. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
Novela de personajes. Muy actual ( )
  aliolica | Jun 24, 2016 |
Isabel Archer refuses to follow a life that is too prescribed by classical romantic notions. She is determined to find and follow her own path, or remain unsatisfied. This characteristic rules her as a number of suitors make themselves known. The story is primarily about what leads to the choice she makes, and its repercussions. Several other characters are intriguing and their roles each become clear. I had trouble placing the relevancy of Henrietta's story; I believe it clarifies that James' message was not about refusing women the right to make independent choices, but about ensuring illusions are fully dispelled before a choice is made. I really enjoyed this novel for its being chock full of people who make sharp observations, if not always accurate. There is no comedy of misunderstandings here, only analysis that is either lacking or overdone. Henry James knows how to get inside characters' heads and make himself at home, offering strong, natural motives for actions and dialogue that is brilliant both for what is said and what is not. The ending is very satisfying and comes together beautifully. I'm open to reading more of James' novels, but I suspect this will remain my favourite. ( )
  Cecrow | Jun 13, 2016 |
Took the month of February to read this classic, considered the finest of Henry James. I enjoyed his portrait of Isabel Archer, the representation of the American spirit and independence. Being the benefactor of her Aunt Lydia who decides to show her Europe, we too get to experience that genteel English countryside, the meeting of the the local gentry and understand her reluctance to accept marriage proposals from two would be suitors. Isabel's cousin, Ralph loves her also and wants her to experience all her adventures. He sets in motion a change in his dying father's will so that Isabel becomes a rich women. This seemingly noble gesture sets her up for tragedy as her innocence is manipulated and she finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage where she is but one of the possessions of a Mr. Gilbert Osgood. I have to say it helped me to see the IMDB website which showed the cast of characters used for the film production of this story. Think Nicole Kidman as Isabel and most especially John Malkovich for Osmond. though I haven't seen the movie I can certainly picture him as the intelligent yet mentally cruel husband that binds Isabel to her fate. "It was because she had been under the extraordinary charm that he, on his side, had taken pains to put forth. He was not changed; he had not disguised himself, during the year of his courtship, any more than she. But she had seen only half his nature then, as one saw the disk of the moon when it was partly masked by the shadow of the earth. She saw the full moon now—she saw the whole man. She had kept still, as it were, so that he should have a free field, and yet in spite of this she had mistaken a part for the whole”
Though it takes awhile to develop the characters the ladder part of the novel produces some good plot development . ( )
  novelcommentary | Feb 28, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (100 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Charles R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cargill, OscarAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohn, JanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edel, LeonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krüger, LoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luckhurst, RogerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGovern, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millett, Fred B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, GeoffreyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neilson, William AllanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toibin, ColmAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Dedication
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Quotations
Her reputation of reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.
It may be affirmed without delay that Isabel was probably very liable to the sin of self-esteem....
You are rich when you can meet the demands of your imagination.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439637, Paperback)

When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy Aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. She then finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond, who, beneath his veneer of charm and cultivation, is cruelty itself. A story of intense poignancy, Isabel's tale of love and betrayal still resonates with modern audiences.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:27 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Tells of the psychological impact of European culture upon a spirited young American girl named Isabel Archer when she becomes torn between three very different men and falls prey to the schemes of a sophisticated older woman.

» see all 26 descriptions

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Audible.com

14 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441267, 0141199121

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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