Henry James’s beloved novel about a young woman’s search for freedom in a world that seeks to tie her to convention
In the wake of her father’s death, young Isabel Archer decides to travel to England to visit her aunt, leaving behind the life set out for her in America and spurning the romantic overtures of her Bostonian suitor. At her aunt’s country estate, Isabel is determined to plot a new course unburdened by routine. But, prodded by convention at every turn, Isabel makes a decision that not only undermines her longing for independence, but may seal her fate forever.
Among one of Henry James’s most timeless works, The Portrait of a Lady is a rich and nuanced depiction of human psychology and the tension between the pull of social norms and the desire for autonomy.
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Henry James (1843–1916) wrote some of the finest novels in the English language, including The Portrait of a Lady, The Golden Bowl, and The Wings of the Dove. The son of a prominent theologian and brother of the philosopher William James, he was born in New York but spent most of his life in England and became a British citizen shortly before his death. A master of literary realism, James is also well known for the groundbreaking novellas Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw.