The Portrait of a Lady


Henry James

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Tonight, we’ll read the first chapter to “The Portrait of a Lady” written by Henry James and published in 1880. It is one of James's most popular novels and is regarded by critics as one of his finest.

This is the story of Isabel Archer, a spirited young American woman who inherits a large sum of money. The novel reflects James's continuing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old, often to the detriment of the former. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, and betrayal.