The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Regarded as one of James’ finest works, The Portrait of a Lady revolves around the life and the development of Isabel Archer as she embarks on a scrupulous journey of self-discovery, forced to choose between her individual freedom and the preset conventions of society. Moreover, the novel explores themes of existentialism, objectification of women, wealth, suffering, and the conflict between individual longing and social conformity. Set in the second half of the 19th century, the novel opens with the introduction of Isabel Archer, a naive young woman from Albany, New York. Raised in a haphazard manner by her father, Isabel has been encouraged to nurture her independence from a young age, which later results in her becoming cautious in her selection of possible suitors. Following her father’s death, Isabel is visited by her expatriate aunt, Mrs. Touchett, who suggests that Isabel should accompany her back to her home in England. Isabel excitedly accepts the invitation, looking forw… Source:
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