J P O'Malley

A chapter of history

Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel is a lucid critique of how Henry James came to write a book that would permanently change the art of literary fiction.

The Portrait of a Lady was first published in 1881, with a second revised version appearing in 1908. James’s heroine is the spirited Isabel Archer — a young woman, fond of her freedom, who is betrothed to a respectable New England mill-owner.

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