The Portrait of a Lady

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'I don't want to begin life by marrying. There are other things a woman can do' When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt, Mrs Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has brought her to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. Then she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond. Charming and cultivated, Osmond sees Isabel as a rich prize waiting to be taken. Beneath his veneer of civilized behaviour, Isabel discovers cruelty and a stifling darkness. In this portrait of a 'young woman affronting her destiny', Henry James created one of his most magnificent heroines, and a story of intense poignancy. Part of a series of Penguin Classics editions of Henry James's works, this edition contains a chronology, further reading, notes and an introduction by Philip Horne, exploring the sources in life and fiction from which James determined to make his Portrait. Edited and with an introduction and notes by PHILIP HORNE Series Editor: PHILIP HORNE