The Portrait of a Lady is Henry James’s classic novel featuring the strong and spirited Isabel Archer, the embodiment of women’s independence and strength. The heroine of this powerful novel, often considered James’s greatest work, is the vivacious young American Isabel Archer. Blessed by nature and fortune, she journeys to Europe to seek the full realization of her potential—or in modern terms, “to find herself”—but what awaits her there may prove to be her undoing. During her journey, wooers vie for her attentions, including an English aristocrat, a perfect American gentleman, and a sensitive expatriate. But it is only after the ingenue falls prey to the schemes of an infinitely sophisticated older woman that her life takes on its true form. With its brilliant interplay of tensions and characters, The Portrait of a Lady is a timeless and essential American novel. With an Introduction by Regina Barreca and an Afterword by Colm Tóibín
The author of over twenty novels, twelve plays, and one hundred and twelve short stories, Henry James (1843-1916) is the acknowledged "Father of the Psychological Novel." With his seminal masterpiece, The Portrait of A Lady (1881), he ushered in the birth of what was to be the emergence of psychological fiction. Although a steady progression of other great novels and works would follow this one, it is this work, therefore, that will be the focus of the present study.
The Portrait of a Lady is a novel about a privileged Victorian woman, Isabel Archer, and how her life evolves due to the choices she makes. Isabel is from a genteel family of Albany, New York who comes of age in the late 1860s. Independent and educated for her time, she had been raised by her father after the early death of her mother. Isabel is very bright and intimidates the young men around her; she has one serious suitor, Caspar Goodwood, a man with very good prospects, whom she spurns.
‘A Khushwant Singh short story is not flamboyant but modest, restrained, well-crafted...Perhaps his greatest gift as a writer is a wonderful particularity of description’—London Magazine Khushwant Singh first established his reputation as a writer through the short story. His stories—wry, poignant, erotic and, above all, human—bear testimony to Khushwant Singh’s remarkable range and his ability to create an unforgettable PBI - World. Spanning over half a century, this volume contains all the short stories Khushwant Singh has ever written, including the delightfully tongue-in-cheek ‘The Maharani of Chootiapuram’, written in 2008. ‘Khushwant’s stories enthrall...[He has]an ability akin to that of Somerset Maugham...the ability to entertain intelligently’—PBI - India Today ‘His stories are better than [those of] any PBI - Indian writing in English—Times of PBI - India ‘The Collected Short Stories leaves the reader in a delightful, inebriated trance’—Sunday Chronicle ‘He is not an ordinary short story writer...[Collected Stories] is delightful reading’—Hindustan Times
The Portrait of a Lady is a novel by Henry James, first published as a book in 1881. It is one of James's most popular long novels, and is regarded by critics as one of his finest. Henry James (1843–1916) was an Anglo-American writer who spent the bulk of his career in Britain. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. Story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, a beautiful, intelligent, and headstrong American girl newly endowed with wealth and embarked in Europe on a treacherous journey to self-knowledge, is delineated with a magnificence that is at once casual and tense with force and insight. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates. Like many of James's novels, it is set in Europe, mostly England and Italy. Regarded as a masterpiece, this novel reflects James's continuing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old, often to the detriment of the former. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, and betrayal. Adapted for the screen in 1968 and 1996 with Nicole Kidman.
The Portrait of a Lady is arguably Henry James' most appealing and accessible novel. The introduction to this volume of specially written essays situates the novel in its cultural and historical context and discusses the important revisions that James later made to the text. The essays that follow address the novel's place in the tradition of modern narrative, its relation to popular women's fiction on the question of marriage, the influence of Henry James' brother William, and the character of the heroine seen from a psychoanalytic point of view.
Henry James looked at his society-its rules and foibles-with a sharp, unsparing eye. Shifting from America to Europe, the new world and the old, he saw how rigid conventions could destroy lives and happiness. Five of James's classic, richly textured novels, in their entirety, present a cast of indelible characters and events: Daisy Miller, the tragic tale of an innocent young American girl in Rome; Washington Square, set in the heartless upper crust of James's native New York; The Portrait of a Lady, the master craftsman's acknowledged masterpiece; The Bostonians, a tart, high comedy about marriage and nascent feminism; and The Aspern Papers, about an editor's desperate attempts to get hold of letters by a romantic poet to his mistress--who has no intention of giving them up.