The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics)

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9780141439631: The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics)

When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. It is only when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the cultivated but worthless Gilbert Osmond that she discovers that wealth is a two-edged sword and that there is a price to be paid for independence. With its subtle delineation of American characters in a European setting, Portrait of a Lady is one of the most accomplished and popular of Henry James's early novels.

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Review:

"Excellent and responsible editing of a crucial text in American literature."--E.N. Feltskog, University of Wisconsin

From the Publisher:

Isabel Archer has been brought to England from Albany, New York, by her Aunt Touchett to extend her education, possibly to marry well.

Isabel, proud and independent, has other ideas. She has no desire to marry and wishes to create her own future, rather than finding it as a wife. Consequently she refuses two very eligible suitors: Lord Warburton and Caspar Goodwood, who has followed her to Europe from America.

When her uncle Lord Touchett dies, leaving Isabel a fortune, he unwittingly does her a great disservice, for on a visit to Italy she is introduced by Madame Merle to Gilbert Osmond. Osmond is a charming but worthless dilettante who sees Isabel as a beautiful prize, a mother for his daughter Pansy, and a source of easily attained wealth. From his cruel cynicism comes Isabel's tragic disillusionment.

In his exquisitely crafted and deeply ironic novel, Henry James depicts the heart and soul of a young woman whose destiny is taken from her own hands.

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