The Portrait of a Lady

By Henry James
Read by Wanda McCaddon

22.83 Hours 11/01/1995 unabridged
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Beautiful, spirited Isabel Archer, an American heiress newly arrived in Europe, is widely expected to quickly marry. But Isabel does not look to a man to furnish her with destiny; instead she desires, with grace and courage, to find it herself. Two eligible suitors are refused in favor of her pursuit of glorious independence. But then, Isabel becomes utterly captivated by the languid charms of the cunning Gilbert Osmond. To him, she represents a superior prize to be won; through him, she faces a tragic choice. A subtle and poignant psychological novel of love and betrayal, The Portrait of a Lady is widely considered to be James’ masterpiece. F.R. Leavis declared that “we can’t ask for a finer exhibition of James’ peculiar gifts.”

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Summary

Summary

Beautiful, spirited Isabel Archer, an American heiress newly arrived in Europe, is widely expected to quickly marry. But Isabel does not look to a man to furnish her with destiny; instead she desires, with grace and courage, to find it herself. Two eligible suitors are refused in favor of her pursuit of glorious independence. But then, Isabel becomes utterly captivated by the languid charms of the cunning Gilbert Osmond. To him, she represents a superior prize to be won; through him, she faces a tragic choice.

A subtle and poignant psychological novel of love and betrayal, The Portrait of a Lady is widely considered to be James’ masterpiece. F.R. Leavis declared that “we can’t ask for a finer exhibition of James’ peculiar gifts.”

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The masterpiece of the first phase of James's career…offers a shrewd appraisal of the American character and embodies the national myth of freedom and equality hedged with historical blindness and pride.” Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
“This book isn’t about the disappointments that inhere in the traditional marriage plot. It’s about what a woman does when she begins to acknowledge her own complicity in the life she has chosen…Isabel shows us that our bad decisions do not end our story. They begin it.” NPR
“Richly perceptive.” New York Times
“Isabel Archer…is an impressive figure, and one follows her in her free flight with so much admiration for her resolution and strong pinions that when she is caught in the meshes of Osmond’s net one’s indignation is moved, and a noble pity takes the place of frank admiration…Mr. James is at great pains to illustrate his characters by their attitudes, their movements, their by-play, yet we carry away but a slight impression of their external appearance; these are not bodily shapes, for the most part, but embodied spirits.” Atlantic, 1882

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Henry James

Henry James (1843–1916), American novelist, short-story writer, and man of letters, was born in Washington Place, New York, to a family of distinguished philosophers and theologians. He attended schools in New York, Boston, and throughout Europe, where he later settled. A major figure in the history of the novel, he is celebrated as a master craftsman who brought his great art and impeccable technique to bear in the development of abiding moral themes.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 22.83
Audience: Adult
Language: English