Read by William Roberts (Abridged: 2hrs 24mins)
The Portrait of a Lady focuses first and foremost on the character and experiences of its heroine Isabel Archer. She is, in Henry James' words, the ‘lighted’ character; all the other people in the novel remain relatively obscure. Their dealings with Isabel, for good or ill, serve to reveal more of her character to the reader and to further her along the path of emotional development and maturity. The deep goodness of Ralph and the machinations of Osmond and Madame Merle are revealed only in relation to her.
Henry James Biography