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The Portrait of a Lady

Cover of The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of a Lady

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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’s masterpiece. F.R. Leavis declared that “we can’t ask for a finer exhibition of James’s peculiar gifts.”

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’s masterpiece. F.R. Leavis declared that “we can’t ask for a finer exhibition of James’s peculiar gifts.”

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  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    11 - 12

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About the Author-
  • 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 but later settled in Europe. 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.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Classic books make you realize why you listen to audiobooks in the first place; they're interesting, have great characters and are well crafted. Laural Merlington's narration of this classic starts off unevenly, but she finds a rhythm around tape two and takes off from there. She has a sweet voice, which she uses to create diverse characters, especially that of Isabel Archer, the book's protagonist. Merlington gives Isabel a voice that ranges from obsequious to forceful; this range allows us to become more involved in her plight. R.I.G. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine There are few hours in life more agreeable than hearing a fine story told well. Wanda McCaddon's distinguished British accent provides a smooth narration of one of Henry James's most-loved novels. This 1881 story tells of Isabel Archer, an American heiress, as she meets the upper classes in England during her first trip abroad. A love story ensues, full of Jamesian conflict, and Archer eventually chooses among several suitors and decides how she will lead her life. One of James's most piercing psychological novels, this book benefits from McCaddon's even, perfectly paced delivery. Her reading brings out the subtlety of this wonderful work. K.M. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature “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.”
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Blackstone Audio
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Portrait of a Lady
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