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Portrait of a Lady (version 2)

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By: (1843-1916)

The Portrait of a Lady is a novel by Henry James, 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 long 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 "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. 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. 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 detriment of the former. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, and betrayal.

First Page:

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY

VOLUME I

By Henry James

PREFACE

"The Portrait of a Lady" was, like "Roderick Hudson," begun in Florence, during three months spent there in the spring of 1879. Like "Roderick" and like "The American," it had been designed for publication in "The Atlantic Monthly," where it began to appear in 1880. It differed from its two predecessors, however, in finding a course also open to it, from month to month, in "Macmillan's Magazine"; which was to be for me one of the last occasions of simultaneous "serialisation" in the two countries that the changing conditions of literary intercourse between England and the United States had up to then left unaltered. It is a long novel, and I was long in writing it; I remember being again much occupied with it, the following year, during a stay of several weeks made in Venice. I had rooms on Riva Schiavoni, at the top of a house near the passage leading off to San Zaccaria; the waterside life, the wondrous lagoon spread before me, and the ceaseless human chatter of Venice came in at my windows, to which I seem to myself to have been constantly driven, in the fruitless fidget of composition, as if to see whether, out in the blue channel, the ship of some right suggestion, of some better phrase, of the next happy twist of my subject, the next true touch for my canvas, mightn't come into sight... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 2 Stars - 6 reviews)

Reviewer: - February 19, 2016
Subject: Choosing readers.
Most of the speakers were excellent, but some were very hard to understand. I think that only native speakers should be used for these readings.
Reviewer: - February 19, 2016
Subject: Choosing readers.
Most of the speakers were excellent, but some were very hard to understand. I think that only native speakers should be used for these readings.
Reviewer: - August 20, 2015
Subject: Don't complain
I think it is very generous of these people to give time reading numerous pages for our enjoyment
Reviewer: - July 16, 2015
Subject: Not great
I can forgive the poor audio but not the many mispronunciations, some incomprehensible, of the non-native speaker featured on several chapters. I spend so much effort trying to understand her that I am unable to appreciate James's prose.
Reviewer: - February 22, 2015
Subject: I agree with other reviewer that recording must have perfect English.
I agree, this recording si also for foreigners to learn correct English too. They must be recorded by perfect English speakers.
Reviewer: - August 7, 2014
Subject: Awful
I am very sorry to say this, but people who cannot pronounce things properly and are foreigners with the heavy accents SHOULD NOT be recording mp3 books!


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