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The Portrait of a Lady is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates. Like many of James's novels, it is set in Europe, mostly England and Italy. Generally regarded as the masterpiece of James's early period, this novel reflects James's continuing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old, often to the detriment of the former. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, and betrayal.
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The Cambridge Edition of The Portrait of a Lady (1881) offers the most authoritative and most comprehensively annotated text of Henry James's first masterpiece. Extensive textual variants provide complete collation of all published versions since its first appearance in serial form through the New York edition of 1908.From the Publisher:
Actress Nina Foch, who performs this story has played leading roles in many films that have become American classics, including Executive Suite, The Ten Commandments, An American in Paris, and Spartacus.
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