When Isabel Archer, a young American with looks, wit, and imagination, arrives in Europe, she sees the world as "a place of brightness," full of possibility. Rejecting suitors who offer her wealth and devotion, she follows her own path and finds it ...
leads to a dark and constricted future. The Portrait of a Lady is the masterpiece of James's middle period, and Isabel is his most engaging central character. This edition provides a new introduction and notes, and includes Henry James's own Preface.
Honestly, I expected more. I think the novel is extremely long and boring... the author could have told the whole story using less pages. Moreover, it seems the typical story about a woman who wants to break the limits of society.
One of the best books I've ever read. I really loved it even though I took a very long time to read it, but I meant to enjoy it deeply; and I even menaged to adore it! I don't know what the first thing that stuck me about this book was, but theOne of the best books I've ever read. I really loved it even though I took a very long time to read it, but I meant to enjoy it deeply; and I even menaged to adore it! I don't know what the first thing that stuck me about this book was, but the plot, the main characters and the language are carefully shapened and balanced in order to create the perfect romace. This is one of my favourite bits of this novel: "I shall always tell you," her aunt answered, "whenever I see you taking what seems to me too much liberty."
"Pray do; but I don't say I shall always think your remonstrance just."
"Very likely not. You're too fond of your own ways."
"Yes, I think I'm very fond of them. But I always want to know the things one shouldn't do."
Isabel Archer was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast; to have a larger perception of surrounding facts andIsabel Archer was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast; to have a larger perception of surrounding facts and to care for knowledge that was tinged with the unfamiliar. It is true that among her contemporaries she passed for a young woman of extraordinary profundity. Isabel was probably very liable to the sin of self-esteem; she often surveyed with complacency the field of her own nature; she was in the habit of taking for granted, on scanty evidence, that she was right; she treated herself to occasions of homage. Meanwhile her errors and delusions were frequently such as a biographer interested in preserving the dignity of his subject must shrink from specifying. She spent half her time in thinking of beauty and bravery and magnanimity; she had a fixed determination to regard the world as a place of brightness, of free expansion, of irresistible action: she held it must be detestable to be afraid or ashamed. She had an infinite hope that she should never do anything wrong. Of course the danger of a high spirit was the danger of inconsistency. Her life should always be in harmony with the most pleasing impression she should produce; she would be what she appeared, and she would appear what she was. Sometimes she went so far as to wish that she might find herself some day in a difficult position, so that she should have the pleasure of being as heroic as the occasion demanded. Isabel Archer was very fortunate in being independent, and that she ought to make some very enlightened use of that state. She never called it the state of solitude, much less of singleness. She didn’t like to have everything settled beforehand, she liked more unexpectedness. She tried to judge things for herself; to judge wrong, she though, was more honorable than not to judge at all. She didn’t wish to be a mere sheep in the flock; she wished to choose her fate and know something of human affairs beyond what other people thought it compatible with propriety to tell her. She believed that nothing that belonged to her was any measure of her; everything’s on the contrary a limit, a barrier, and a perfectly arbitrary one. But there were days when the world looked black and she asked herself with some sharpness what it was that she was pretending to live for. Her old habit had been to live by enthusiasm, to fall in love with suddenly-perceived possibilities, with the idea of some new adventure. She was not a daughter of the Puritans, but for all that she believed in such a thing as chastity and even as decency. She was still young, after all, and a great many things might happen to her yet.
Most women did with themselves nothing at all; they waited, in attitudes more or less gracefully passive, for a man to come that way and furnish them with a destiny. Isabel's originality was that she gave one an impression of having intentions ofMost women did with themselves nothing at all; they waited, in attitudes more or less gracefully passive, for a man to come that way and furnish them with a destiny. Isabel's originality was that she gave one an impression of having intentions of her own. "Whenever she executes them," said Ralph, "may I be there to see!" ...Continua Nascondi