Overview

Spirited, beautiful young American Isabel Archer journeys to Europe to, in modern terms, "find herself." But what she finds there may prove to be her undoing, especially when an infinitely sophisticated lady plots against her.


Young Phillip Pirrip's life is shaped by an act of kindness which raises him from poverty to wealth. ...

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The Portrait of A Lady

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Overview

Spirited, beautiful young American Isabel Archer journeys to Europe to, in modern terms, "find herself." But what she finds there may prove to be her undoing, especially when an infinitely sophisticated lady plots against her.


Young Phillip Pirrip's life is shaped by an act of kindness which raises him from poverty to wealth. One of the greatest works of classic literature, this novel is a timeless tale of love, hope and humanity. (Digest)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440620805
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/3/2007
  • Series: Signet Classics Series
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 649,787
  • File size: 723 KB

Meet the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines.



In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907).



During his career he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.



Regina Barreca is a professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut. She is the editor of seven books, including The Penguin Book of Women's Humor, and the author of four others. She writes frequently for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Hartford Courant.


Biography

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines. In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907). During his career, he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1843
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      February 28, 1916
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      Attended school in France and Switzerland; Harvard Law School, 1862-63

Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 95 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2010

    Must Read for Young Men and Women

    This is not a Romance novel...but a study in narcissitic tendencies and how they attract and find each other in the heroine Isabel Archer. I read this book in one week. Saw the DVD with R. Chamberlain, awesome. I had to get the book even though the DVD had a copy on it. There are some memomorable quotes I extracted and actually did some journaling simultaneously to excavate my painful feelings of having psychological battle with a control freak. There are delightful characters of various layers, not a smut read, but intellectually stimulating and surprising ending. Only wish someone could write a second part to see how Isabel's marriage turned out, if she went back that man! Best fiction I ever read! Recommend for late teens and up

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2002

    I Had to Read it In Pieces

    This book was blood chilling. How some humans can calculatingly make others lives miserable without so mach as twitch amazed me. I think that Isabel really loved Ralph but couldn't admit it. It was a very well written book and I thought it worth reading. But I liked Wurthering Hights better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2010

    Loving the Classics

    :)

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2009

    "Heroic as the Occasion Demands"

    Heroic as the Occasion Demands
    The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James, takes place in late 18th century England. The exposition occurs at an estate known as Gardencourt, the home of the Touchett family. As the novel begins, we are introduced to Mr. Touchett, his son Ralph, and a visitor named Lord Warburton. Mr. Touchett is an American expatriate who is much derided for his nationality, but has adapted well to his new land; he has become very rich through his various businesses and is aging without apparent detriment to his mental state. We soon find that Mrs. Touchett is about to arrive from a trip to America with her niece, Isabel Archer, in tow. Isabel is soon described as the heroine of the novel, and is a very spirited, clever, and independent young woman for her time. Much time is spent describing her character, often in a fourth-wall-breaking manner; the narrator refers to her directly as the heroine of this novel and explains his intent in writing certain of her actions.
    Isabel is visiting temporarily from Albany, New York and is hosted at Gardencourt. She becomes intrigued with what she views as the picturesque way in which the English lead their lives, and befriends the Touchetts as well as Lord Warburton. Mrs. Touchett is shown to not care very much for her husband, and she never really did. They live entirely separate lives. Lord Warburton is a self-contradiction; he holds revolutionary views but is, in fact, a noble and would be greatly harmed by a revolution. Warburton takes great interest an Isabel and for a time tries to court her, but she rejects his advances. She is also courted by a wealthy man from Boston named Caspar Goodwood who travels to England solely to see her. Caspar is very much in love with Isabel, but she demands that he return to America and stay out of contact with her for two years as she has no intention of marrying. Her relationship with Mrs. Touchett is pleasant, though their personalities seem designed to come to a point that they may become enemies later on. Mr. Touchett is becoming quite old; perhaps there will be some bitter dispute over inheritance.
    The main theme of the novel seems to be Isabel's heroic search for her identity and her desire to be a good and independent person. She wants to think well of herself and equally wants to truly be good; she trembles at the thought of causing harm to anyone and Isabel dreams of someday being put in a difficult position so that she can "be as heroic as the occasion demands," finally able to prove herself in some way. By the end, this novel truly becomes a "portrait" of Isabel Archer as a whole, with her character fully fleshed out and grown to completion through her experiences.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2006

    Portrait of a Lady...not bad

    I read this book for a project and I thought it was pretty good. The story is great but the passages get really long and boring sometimes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    From a High school teen

    i read this book for class. i myself dont like this book. it was not my fav. i loved 'valley of the dalls' do

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2004

    True Portrait of a Lady

    I would recommend The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James to young adults and adults who seek to read the classics and enjoy romance and suspense at the same time. This book is a complicated read and much of this reading involves thinking. Because of the way James wrote this book, things are not specifically stated in the story and you must interpret these things the way you see them. The story of Isabel Archer is told by her cousin, Ralph Touchett. When Isabel first visits her cousin in Europe she is lively and seems as though she doesn¿t wish to be tied down. Her desire to be free from the bonds of marriage is expressed many times throughout the book. When she meets Gilbert Osmond and his daughter everything changes. Osmond tells Isabel what she wants to hear to encourage a possible marriage. Isabel¿s life suddenly has lost its vitality and becomes miserable when she marries Osmond. Osmond begins to control Isabel¿s life but she continues to stay for love of her stepdaughter. The end of this book leaves you in suspense with no final conclusion. Although this book¿s plot develops slowly, its suspense keeps you from putting it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2003

    Absolutely Amazing Portrayal

    In A Portrait of a Lady, Henry James displays his brilliant understanding of human nature. Isabel is one of the most compellingly real female characters created by a male author. James not only focuses on the strengths of his heroine, but also on the weaknesses, making the characterization more intriguing. The plot is much slower than in most popular modern books, and it therefore may take a bit of patience for many readers.

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