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The Portrait of a Lady. Norton critical Edition (Anglais) Broché – 2000

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Descriptions du produit

Book by James Henry

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 800 pages
  • Editeur : W. W. Norton & Company; Édition : 2nd Revised edition (2000)
  • Collection : Norton Critical Editions
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0393966461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340915455
  • Dimensions du produit: 13,5 x 2,5 x 21,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 1.294 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par Anais MLK le 27 août 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Un livre vraiment plaisant à lire ! Recommande à ceux qui aiment la littérature anglaise ! Les techniques narratives sont très complexes.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 commentaires
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"An Englishman's never so natural as when he's holding his tongue." 11 mai 2006
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
When Isabel Archer, a bright and independent young American, makes her first trip to Europe in the company of her aunt, Mrs. Touchett, who lives outside of London in a 400-year-old estate, she discovers a totally different world, one which does not encourage her independent thinking or behavior and which is governed by rigid social codes. This contrast between American and European values, vividly dramatized here, is a consistent theme in James's novels, one based on his own experiences living in the US and England. In prose that is filled with rich observations about places, customs, and attitudes, James portrays Isabel's European coming-of-age, as she discovers that she must curb her intellect and independence if she is to fit into the social scheme in which she now finds herself.

Isabel Archer, one of James's most fully drawn characters, has postponed a marriage in America for a year of travel abroad, only to discover upon her precipitate and ill-considered marriage to an American living in Florence, that it is her need to be independent that makes her marriage a disaster. Gilbert Osmond, an American art collector living in Florence, marries Isabel for the fortune she has inherited from her uncle, treating her like an object d'art which he expects to remain "on the shelf." Madame Serena Merle, his long-time lover, is, like Osmond, an American whose venality and lack of scruples have been encouraged, if not developed, by the European milieu in which they live.

James packs more information into one paragraph than many writers do into an entire chapter. Distanced and formal, he presents psychologically realistic characters whose behavior is a direct outgrowth of their upbringing, with their conflicts resulting from the differences between their expectations and the reality of their changed settings. The subordinate characters, Ralph Touchett, Pansy Osmond, her suitor Edward Rosier, American journalist Henrietta Stackpole, Isabel's former suitor Caspar Stackpole, and Lord Warburton, whose love of Isabel leads him to court Pansy, are as fascinating psychologically and as much a product of their own upbringing as is Isabel.

As the setting moves from America to England, Paris, Florence, and Rome, James develops his themes, and as Isabel's life becomes more complex, her increasingly difficult and emotionally affecting choices about her life make her increasingly fascinating to the reader. James's trenchant observations about the relationship between individuals and society and about the effects of one's setting on one's behavior are enhanced by the elegance and density of his prose, making this a novel one must read slowly--and savor. Mary Whipple
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Essential Henry James 19 septembre 2003
Par Aaron Percefull - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I've come back to this novel after reading it in graduate school thirty years ago, and I remain awed by James's genius. His ability to depict the nuance of social interaction is unparalleled. His psychological understanding of his characters is almost uncanny. Add to that perhaps the most complex, devious, sociopathic villains in literature -- Madame Merle and Gilbert Osmond -- and you have a gripping story of greed, deception, and innocence lost. "The Portrait of a Lady" represents the true epitome of the 19th-century English novel.
12 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
previous review is factually inaccurate 5 août 2006
Par Matheme - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A wonderfully engrossing book for students and amateur fans of the comedy of manners genre.

I must say that the previous commentator gets so many simple "diegetic" facts wrong I wonder why they bothered summarizing the book in the first place. Simple things like the fact that Isabel's Aunt does not live at Gardencourt, but in Florence; she merely visits the former annually. Likewise Ed Rosier is not a lover of Isabel's, but a childhood friend from the states; he "makes love" to Pansy Osmond, Isabel's step-daughter, making for a nice contrast of "true" affection with Isabel's husband's mere seemings in that regard.

Finally the idea that "her need to be independent makes her marriage a disaster" is a gross mischaracterization that makes James sound like some kind of male-chauvanist reactionary. Not that there's anything with that, it's just not the case in the most basic terms of the novel.

Why? First of all, Isabel, bright as she is, enters into marriage knowing full well that it will mean some curtailing of the freedom of her maidenhood, she says as much in a crucial dialogue about her impending marriage with Ralph Touchett, who's Cassandra-like in his unheeded prevision of disaster. (See chapter 34 for the exact lines.) When she says she's ready to gratify her very particular husband's wishes Ralph retorts that she was meant for more than catering to the sensibilities of a "sterile dilettante". This exactly incapsulates why the marriage is a failure: Osmond's sterility is not a simple matter of his not being an active gentleman with a noble/haute bourgeois occupation --- as with Lord Warburton or the senior Touchett --- more importantly, it involves his inability to love a women as vibrant as Isabel (Pansy, of course, is not a problem). This is what Isabel feels acutely shortly into the marriage: not that her husband denies her freedom of movement, but that he denies her the right to a psychological existence of her own. He grows to hate her for precisely what makes her so beautiful --- her wit, her genius, her spirit.

I'm often saddened by the policy of anyone posting reviews on this site. It amounts to the total of most peoples interaction with literary criticism, and it is generally a poor showing.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A masterpiece on human psychology 22 septembre 2009
Par Lola. M - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Reading this novel is like receiving a punch in the stomach - yet from an exquisitely gloved fist. If you like character-driven stories with explosive endings, this novel is for you.

James is a genius in charting the complexities of the human psyche. His predilection for characterization and psychological analysis over plot development is what drives this novel. In fact, there is a lot of "action" - yet confined to the emotional landscape of characters.

James' literary style is very dense and requires a measured pace of reading. If this becomes frustrating (as it did to me occasionally), it's best to read it in spurts. The richness of the novel demands leisurely consumption, like an elaborate French meal, to be appreciated piece by piece.

Here is an example of typical sentence construction:

[QUOTE] Like his appreciation of her dear little stepdaughter it was based partly on his eye for decorative character, his instinct for authenticity; but also on a sense for uncatalogued values, for that secret of a "luster" beyond any recorded losing or rediscovering, which his devotion to brittle wares had still not disqualified him to recognise. Mrs. Osmond, at present, might well have gratified such tastes. The years had touched her only to enrich her; the flower of her youth had not faded, it only hung more quietly on its stem. [END QUOTE]

Despite its density The Portrait of a Lady is more accessible than James' later novels - including The Ambassadors (Oxford World's Classics) - and is a good place to start with this classic author.

The main delight of the novel is in the characters - they are all exquisitely crafted and richly draped. They each have their own set of vocabulary, nuances, visual imagery and body language - from the sharp tongued Henrietta Stackpole to the obedient and docile Pansy Osmond. The novel also has great moments of humour, thanks to James' alter ego Ralph Touchett.

My only critique is the heavy handed analysis at times, which slows down the pace of the novel, as well as James peculiar aversion to paragraphing - the author will often cluster entire timelines, conversations and observations into a single paragraph which spans several pages without interlude.

Ultimately, however the novel is a masterpiece of human characterization that touches on themes of duty versus independence, social custom versus freedom. Despite the lack of plot - or "architecture" as the author calls it - James is an extraordinary storyteller and the ending packs quite a punch.

This novel is best enjoyed without prior knowledge of the plot - so skip the summary on the back and dive right in!

10 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A fabulous novel that is a must read for book lovers 2 août 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
An incredibly well-written, engrossing and provocative story about a woman's choices in love, friendship, marriage and duty. Isabel transitions from one who prized freedom above all else, and this is precisely what she ultimately gives up to instead fulfill the appearance of a happy marriage
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