Annotations for Portrait of a Novel : Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece


Baker & Taylor
Describes Henry James' family, the European literary circles he moved within, and the psychological forces at work when he created one of the most well-known and memorable female protagonists in literature.

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Baker & Taylor
This biography of the author of Portrait of a Lady describes the author's family, the European literary circles he moved within, and the psychological forces at work when he created one of the most well-known and memorable female protagonists in literature. 10,000 first printing.

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Book News
Editor and literary critic Gorra (English, Smith College) describes this work in his preface as the story of a Henry James novel, rather than a biography of James himself; but his clear and engaging narrative manages to do both, illuminating the author's life, working methods, and subtle creativity through the lens of one work. The novel under scrutiny is Portrait of a Lady, with particular focus on the character of Isabel Archer. Liveright Publishing is an imprint of W.W. Norton. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Norton Pub
A revelatory biography of the American master as told through the lens of his greatest novel.

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Norton Pub
Henry James (1843-1916) hashad many biographers, but Michael Gorra has taken an original approach to thisgreat American progenitor of the modern novel, combining elements of biography,criticism, and travelogue in re-creating the dramatic backstory of James'smasterpiece, Portrait of a Lady (1881). Gorra, aneminent literary critic, shows how this novel--the scandalous story of theexpatriate American heiress Isabel Archer--came to be written in the firstplace. Traveling to Florence, Rome, Paris, and England, Gorra sheds new lighton James's family, the European literary circles--George Eliot, Flaubert,Turgenev--in which James made his name, and the psychological forces thatenabled him to create this most memorable of female protagonists. Appealing toreaders of Menand's The Metaphysical Club andMcCullough's The Greater Journey, Portrait of a Novel provides a brilliant account of the greatest Americannovel of expatriate life ever written. It becomes a piercing detective story onits own.

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WW Norton
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award: Biography
One of the Best Books of 2012: The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, The Millions, Kirkus Reviews, Boston Phoenix


A revelatory biography of the American master as told through the lens of his greatest novel.

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