Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece

Awards:   Short-listed for James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize: Biography 2013 Shortlisted for James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize: Biography 2013. Shortlisted for James Tait Black Memorial Book Prizes: Biography 2013.
Author:   Michael Gorra (Smith College)
Publisher:   WW Norton & Co
ISBN:  

9780871404084


Pages:   416
Publication Date:   07 September 2012
Format:   Hardback
Availability:   In stock   Availability explained
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Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece


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Awards

  • Short-listed for James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize: Biography 2013
  • Shortlisted for James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize: Biography 2013.
  • Shortlisted for James Tait Black Memorial Book Prizes: Biography 2013.

Overview

Henry James (1843-1916) has had many biographers but Michael Gorra has taken an original approach to this great American progenitor of the modern novel, combining elements of biography, criticism and travelogue in re-creating the dramatic backstory of James's masterpiece, Portrait of a Lady (1881). Gorra shows how this scandalous story came to be written. Travelling to Italy, France and England, he sheds new light on James's family, the European literary circles of George Eliot, Flaubert and Turgenev in which James made his name, and the psychological forces that enabled him to create the most memorable female protagonist. A piercing detective story, Portrait of a Novel provides a brilliant account of the greatest American novel of expatriate life ever written.

Full Product Details

Author:   Michael Gorra (Smith College)
Publisher:   WW Norton & Co
Imprint:   Liveright Publishing Corporation
Dimensions:   Width: 16.80cm , Height: 3.60cm , Length: 24.40cm
Weight:   0.709kg
ISBN:  

9780871404084


ISBN 10:   0871404087
Pages:   416
Publication Date:   07 September 2012
Audience:   General/trade ,  General
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   In stock   Availability explained
We have confirmation that this item is in stock with the supplier. It will be ordered in for you and dispatched immediately.

Table of Contents

Reviews

Starred review. Throughout this work of astonishing scholarship, Gorra directs our attention to the quotidian life of James (and his remarkable family), his composition of the novel (which first appeared in serial installments in the Atlantic here and Macmillan 's Magazine in England), the significance of the events and characters in the story, and the influence of the novel on the subsequent fiction of James and others . Gorra 's approach will appeal to scholars, fans of the James family and lovers of important novels and those who create them.


In his resplendent Portrait of A Novel, Michael Gorra breaks through the remoteness of the Master that majestic but privately enigmatic figure so that Henry James now comes to us with the sensuous immediacy of his quotidian reality: the rooms he lived in, the streets he trod, and the very texture of his inmost sensibility. Remarkably, Gorra achieves this living nearness through a deep literary mining of the heroine of a single novel: Isabel Archer of The Portrait of A Lady. In Gorra's ingenious and capacious reading, James stands before us with a clarity of seeing and feeling given to no previous biographer. --Cynthia Ozick


I wish I could give this sublime marrying of the art and the life 10 stars...Gorra is a delightful guide through James's world, tracing the American's steps in Florence, looking over the Arno from the point that James did, or mounting the stairs of his home in Rye. His investigations never detract attention from his subject, but he permits the admittance that he sheds tears at Isabel's final scene with the dying Ralph. At literary festivals throughout the country, readers always ask writers how they write. This books tells us, but never was demystification such an enjoyable and inspiring experience. --Lesley McDowell


Author Information

The author of Portrait of Novel, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Michael Gorra is the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College and the editor of the Norton Critical Editions of As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury.

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