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Portrait of a Lady (version 3)

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By: (1843-1916)

Portrait of a Lady (version 3) by Henry James is a captivating novel that follows the story of a young American woman named Isabel Archer as she navigates the complexities of love, independence, and societal expectations in Europe during the 19th century.

James' exquisite prose brings to life a rich tapestry of characters and settings, from the opulent drawing rooms of English nobility to the charming streets of Florence. The author's keen observations of human nature and society are reflected in the intricate relationships and interactions between the characters, making for a thought-provoking and engaging read.

Isabel Archer is a compelling protagonist, a fiercely independent and intelligent woman who must grapple with the conflicting desires of her heart and mind. As she faces difficult choices and unexpected betrayals, readers are drawn into her world, rooting for her to find happiness and fulfillment amidst a society that seeks to constrain and control her every move.

Overall, Portrait of a Lady (version 3) is a timeless classic that continues to captivate readers with its exploration of themes such as love, power, and identity. Henry James' masterful storytelling and vivid characterization make this novel a must-read for anyone interested in thought-provoking literature.

Book Description:
Our central character is Isabel Archer of Albany, New York, a young woman of no great means, and no great beauty yet of rich imagination, high ideals and a thirst for knowledge of the world. Carried off by her aunt to England, she quite unexpectedly finds herself the beneficiary of a substantial legacy from her uncle, a very successful American banker in London. It will, her admiring cousin says to his father, allow her “to put a little wind in her sails” and to see the world. Though some American reviewers rather dismissed the book when it appeared in the mid-1880s, for other readers today The Portrait of a Lady has become THE Great American Novel, or at least very close to the top. That is for a number of reasons, including among others the delineations of character and the psychological depths of the work. A few years ago, in a biographical study of James, Michael Gorra drew on it as a central work . James himself tinkered with it over the years, and the text here comes from the so-called New York edition of 1907-09. Much of the action takes place in Italy, particularly n the expatriate communities of Florence and Rome. Without giving anything away, it’s worth noting that James’s ending for the novel has caused some puzzlement, not to say controversy, among readers.

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