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The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics) by…

The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics) (original 1881; edition 2011)

by Henry James (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,664127584 (3.9)9 / 756
Young Isabel Archer, a beautiful American, travels to Europe where her naivete - and recent inheritance - attracts many suitors. But despite her great promise, she falls victim to her own provincialism. Exposing the differences between the New and the Old Worlds, James's masterpiece examines the themes of freedom, sexuality, and betrayal.… (more)
Title:The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Henry James (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (2011), Edition: 1, 768 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1881)

  1. 80
    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.
  2. 70
    The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (carlym)
  3. 81
    Howards End by E. M. Forster (carlym)
  4. 81
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (roby72)
  5. 41
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Nickelini)
  6. 20
    The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (Crypto-Willobie)
  7. 20
    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.
  8. 10
    The Reef by Edith Wharton (noveltea)
  9. 11
    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.
Read (23)
AP Lit (9)
1880s (1)
Europe (169)

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English (116)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (126)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
Did you ever meet a character so charming and fun that you wished you knew them in real life? I would have liked to pal around with Isabel Archer, American heiress and orphan. When her father dies, Isabel makes the journey to visit her aunt, Mrs. Touchett. Despite being outspoken and extremely independent, Isabel makes fast friends with her European cousin, Ralph, an older woman named Mrs. Merle and a few eligible bachelors who express an interest in Isabel. Everyone bores Isabel until she meets dashing suitor, Gilbert Osmond. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what she saw in him. Ignoring the warnings of her family and friends, Isabel throws caution to the wind and marries Mr. Osmond, only to discover he control over her is fueled by jealousy and greed. When he forbids her to see her dying cousin, I just about lost my mind. Who does that? Obviously, this is not the end of the story, but The Portrait of a Lady is a classic so you know what happens next. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Mar 29, 2023 |
  LarkinPubs | Mar 1, 2023 |
This book is a character study about a woman who comes into money and values her freedom, but ironically chooses a husband who marries for money and limits her freedom. It uses travel and social gatherings as plot devices to further develop the characters. It was published in 1881, so be prepared for lengthy sentences written in the style of a past era. Makes me glad I didn't live back then. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Hmmm, this is one of those classics you are supposed to read. Instead I listened to it. All twenty-three hours. One of those books you force yourself to finish, mainly because you started it.

I found really not much of redeeming value in this long tiring portrayal of the miseries of the lovelorn. Isabella, and I strain to remember if that was her name the object of the tortures of committing her life to a man though she fought it pretty much every step of the way. Well more than this man as it turned out. In fact a number of them.

And through the twists and turns a of a relatively mindless plot I was left hanging in suspense at the conclusion as I tried to decipher what every did happen to her. Was that just me? Maybe, but I also have to say it didn't really seem to matter that much. ( )
  knightlight777 | Aug 15, 2022 |
I have read the first two chapters of this book no less than 5 times. Every year in college, there would be some Saturday evening where, for one reason or another, I would not want to hang out with other people. I would go down to the cafe, buy some pizza, grab Portrait of a Lady and starting reading. The first year it was a random choice. The second year, I wanted to read more of it and never got past rereading the first chapters. After that, it was just tradition.

After years of being charmed by the first couple chapters of the book, I was quite disappointed. This is through no fault of the book itself. The plot was excellent and James can present characters vividly enough that you feel like you know them (and, generally, would not really like them). What bugged me was the way the book was paced. James would spend a chapter describing a single conversation in all of its detail and then skip ahead two years and tell us that in the intervening time someone had been married, had and lost a child, and become miserable. It just bugged me. However, I am glad I finally read Portrait of a Lady; it was engaging, and I have not been reading enough books by dead people lately anyway.
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (174 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aiken, JoanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Charles RobertsIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cargill, OscarAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohn, JanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edel, LeonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heer, Inge deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacques, RobinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, JohannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krüger, LoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luckhurst, RogerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCaddon, WandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGovern, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millett, Fred B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, GeoffreyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neilson, William AllanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Röckelein, GottfriedÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallman, R. W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toibin, ColmAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Hageland, A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
First words
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
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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Young Isabel Archer, a beautiful American, travels to Europe where her naivete - and recent inheritance - attracts many suitors. But despite her great promise, she falls victim to her own provincialism. Exposing the differences between the New and the Old Worlds, James's masterpiece examines the themes of freedom, sexuality, and betrayal.

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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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