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Thread: The Portrait of a Lady

  1. #1

    The Portrait of a Lady

    I am now reading the book titled The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.I found that reading this book makes me love descriptive paragragh.Henry James tried to write the description so long but it's not boring,on the contrary ,its sound challenging.
    At first,I found that Isabel is is the woman not caring for any man because of her love of independence and her self-confidence. But when Gilbert Osmond asked her to marry him,she incredable accepted it although she knew this man is not the man whom many women in that time desired.He is just a widower.He earned his living by being a painter.Conversely,Lord Warborton who asked her to get married is an ideal man that many ladies craved for in that time. But she refused to be his wife.
    So ,what do you think of this novel? It is about the feminism or something ?
    Anyway,I was so surprised that there used to be a man author who wrote a nevel in feminist style.
    PS Since I'm Thai,the language used to write in a forum may contain some mistakes.I wish you all wil not care for them.
    You can post as many messages as you want to in my message.I'm willing to read it always.
    This is the first forum I have posted in this website for I have just signed in as a member. I am very glad to know you all !!!!

  2. #2
    mind your back chasestalling's Avatar
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    sawadi krap, buenos dias, wilkommen, season's greetings.

    is henry james' portrait of lady an example of feminism? how?

  3. #3
    mind your back chasestalling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasipak View Post
    I am now reading the book titled The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.I found that reading this book makes me love descriptive paragragh.Henry James tried to write the description so long but it's not boring,on the contrary ,its sound challenging.
    At first,I found that Isabel is is the woman not caring for any man because of her love of independence and her self-confidence. But when Gilbert Osmond asked her to marry him,she incredable accepted it although she knew this man is not the man whom many women in that time desired.He is just a widower.He earned his living by being a painter.Conversely,Lord Warborton who asked her to get married is an ideal man that many ladies craved for in that time. But she refused to be his wife.
    So ,what do you think of this novel? It is about the feminism or something ?
    Anyway,I was so surprised that there used to be a man author who wrote a nevel in feminist style.
    PS Since I'm Thai,the language used to write in a forum may contain some mistakes.I wish you all wil not care for them.
    You can post as many messages as you want to in my message.I'm willing to read it always.
    This is the first forum I have posted in this website for I have just signed in as a member. I am very glad to know you all !!!!
    there are two types of men, those who make money and those who don't. among the latter there are those who have inherited money and those who live from paycheck to paycheck so to speak. for a woman to maintain her autonomy she needs to be financially independent, which isabel archer is, and she needs to be with a man who is relatively poor but is too proud to ever beg for money. gilbert osmond is that man and i think miss archer made a fine choice. now be so good to share your thoughts regarding caspar goodwood and we'll have a jolly good time in merry old england.

    what do you say old boy?

    regards,
    an anglophile

  4. #4
    tea-timing book queen bouquin's Avatar
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    I have tried reading The Portrait of a Lady at least twice in the past but alas, I could never get beyond the first 2 or 3 chapters ... same with The American.

  5. #5

    Caspar Goodwood

    As for Caspar Goodwood,I think he is like Lord Warbourton who is an ideal man whom many ladies in that time desired.But Isabel turned him down to marry him. What do you all think ?

  6. #6
    is my namesian. Jamesian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bouquin View Post
    I have tried reading The Portrait of a Lady at least twice in the past but alas, I could never get beyond the first 2 or 3 chapters ... same with The American.
    Really? I did both of those for my fiction class this past spring, along with Washington Square. It is helpful to take one's time with the first half of Portrait and try to enjoy it, as nothing really happens until Volume II. The American, however, picks up relatively soon if I remember correctly - just as soon as Mrs. Tristram tells Newman about Madame de Cintre.
    The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable.
    --Ursula K. Le Guin

  7. #7
    mind your back chasestalling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasipak View Post
    As for Caspar Goodwood,I think he is like Lord Warbourton who is an ideal man whom many ladies in that time desired.But Isabel turned him down to marry him. What do you all think ?
    caspar goodwood is a man's man, he's in it for the sport. lord warburton? he's in love and we ought to pity the fool.

  8. #8
    Lost in the Fog PabloQ's Avatar
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    Must Have Read a Different Novel

    I never understood why Isabel chose Gilbert. It seemed contradictory to her stated independence that she should rush into a relationship with this fellow who appeared ambivalent to her one way or the other. Both Caspar and Warburton seemed genuinely, if not dangerously, to care for Isabel. Each of them seemed infatuated with Isabel on an emotional level. I didn't get that Caspar was in it for the sport, but it seeme to border on the pathetic that neither one of them seemed able to let her go. On other hand, I couldn't understand why Isabel, once confronted with Gilbert's true nature and the underlying lie upon which her relationship was conceived, chose to imprison herself in a marriage in which she could or would never be happy. I was hoping that she would ditch them all, take her money, and run. Instead, I just felt sorry for her.

  9. #9
    Papel-CRAZE! Tersely's Avatar
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    I just started it...bout 50 or so pages in and it is a bit of a challenge. In the first couple of pages everything is so descrptive and they don't really tell you who they are talking bout until after all the details. Put me through a loop but it's starting to pick up a tad. Hope its good.
    "Get thee to a nunnery."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PabloQ View Post
    I never understood why Isabel chose Gilbert. It seemed contradictory to her stated independence that she should rush into a relationship with this fellow who appeared ambivalent to her one way or the other. Both Caspar and Warburton seemed genuinely, if not dangerously, to care for Isabel. Each of them seemed infatuated with Isabel on an emotional level. I didn't get that Caspar was in it for the sport, but it seeme to border on the pathetic that neither one of them seemed able to let her go. On other hand, I couldn't understand why Isabel, once confronted with Gilbert's true nature and the underlying lie upon which her relationship was conceived, chose to imprison herself in a marriage in which she could or would never be happy. I was hoping that she would ditch them all, take her money, and run. Instead, I just felt sorry for her.
    I think Isabel chose Osmond because she thought, perhaps erroneously, that his taste, which for James is a kind of education, would complete her--much as Madame Merle represented a refinement (and or a crush) which she as a young woman could emulate. Warburton and Goodwood were taken with Miss Archer, but she did not want to be possessed by an English lord or an American tycoon, although how much she becomes an ornament in Osmond's collection is an open question.

    She returned to him because she felt the responsibility of her marriage. In today's world that may seem incredible, but she did love the man, before he shut the lights off *one by one* and she may have believed she could save Pansy from a worse fate than not. If Goodwood's desire was the taste of freedom, she had had freedom, and it cost her a great deal of suffering.

    Had Ralph stepped up to the plate it might have been a different novel, as it was he who loved her more completely than the others.

  11. #11
    Lost in the Fog PabloQ's Avatar
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    Hey Jozanny, I really appreciate the insight. Good perspective. Now go find my comments on Wings of the Dove and explain that mess to me.
    No damn cat, no damn cradle - Newt Honniker

    Currently Reading: The Warden - Anthony Trollope

  12. #12
    biting writer
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    Quote Originally Posted by PabloQ View Post
    Hey Jozanny, I really appreciate the insight. Good perspective. Now go find my comments on Wings of the Dove and explain that mess to me.
    Sure, but WOD is The Portrait of A Lady rewritten. Chew on that one for a bit.

    I should add, Portrait is structured better. Dove, Ambassadors, and especially The Golden Bowl, are very tough nuts to crack. I am on a James list-serv with some top notch Jamesians, and I have argued about GB with a passion since 97. The scholars there are my betters, and have given me some decent insights--but not when it comes to The Golden Bowl. This novel is either the most brilliant upending of the Victorian caste system, or. I don't know and don't want to raise my blood pressure. When I am ready I am going to open a discussion of it here on LN. I didn't know James borrowed from Goethe in its creation though. The claustrophobic episodes.
    Last edited by Jozanny; 07-16-2008 at 07:50 PM.

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