Henry James is one of the giants of American literary history. From the novella "Daisy Miller" and classic short stories such as "The Turn of the Screw" to the popular short novel Washington Square
and intricately woven and highly complex later novels such as The Golden Bowl
and The Ambassadors
, James's work is a required stop on any journey through our nation's artistic and cultural heritage.
An undisputed masterpiece, The Portrait of a Lady
is arguably James's most popular work, and certainly the finest of his early novels. It focuses on Isabel Archer, a young, intelligent, and spirited American girl, determined to relish her first experience of Europe. She rejects two eligible suitors in her fervent commitment to liberty and independence, declaring that she will never marry. Thanks to the generosity of her devoted cousin Ralph, she is free to make her own choice about her destiny. Yet in the intoxicating worlds of Paris, Florence, and Rome, her fond illusions of self-reliance are twisted by the machinations of her friends and apparent allies. What had seemed to be a vista of infinite promise steadily closes around her and becomes instead a "house of suffocation." Portrait of a Lady
is at once a dramatic Victorian tale of betrayal and a wholly modern psychological study of a woman caught in a web of relations she only comes to understand too late. This new edition includes helpful notes on the numerous changes James made between the first edition and the revised New York Edition, reproduced here, an up-to-date bibliography, and a new chronology. About the Series:
For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics
has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.