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About The Portrait of a Lady:
The portrait of a lady is a novel by Henry James. It was first published as a Serial in The Atlantic Monthly and Macmillan’s magazine in 1880-81 and then as a book in 1881. It is one of James’s most popular novels and is regarded by critics as one of his finest. The portrait of a lady is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who in confronting her destiny finds it overwhelming. She inherits large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian by two American expatriates. Like many of James’s novels, it is set in Europe, mostly in England and Italy. It was generally regarded as the masterpiece of James’s early period, this novel reflects James’s continuing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old, often to the determine the former. James’s first idea for The Portrait of a Lady was simple, a young American woman confronting her destiny, whatever it might be. Only then did he begin to from a plot to bring out the character of his central figure. This was the uncompromising story of the free-spirited Isabel losing her freedom. The Portrait of a lady has received critical acclaim since its first publication in The Atlantic Monthly, and it remains the most popular of James’s longer fictions. Contemporary critics recognize that James had pushed the analysis of human consciousness and motivation to new levels, particularly in such passages as the famous Chapter 42, where Isabel meditates deep into the night about her marriage and the trap she seems to have fallen into. James made an in-depth account of Isabel’s deepest terrors in his preface to the 1908 New York Edition of the novel.
About Henry James:
Henry James, OM was born on 15th April, 1843 and died on 28th February 1916. He was an American born British writer. 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 psychologists William James and diarist Alice James. He is best known for a number of novels showing American encountering Europe and Europeans. His method of writings from a character point of view allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting. He contributed significantly to literary criticism, and wrote plays. James alternated between America and Europe for the first 20 years of his life. James was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912 and 1916.
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