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


Overview - Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award: Biograph One of the Best Books of 2012: The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, The Millions, Kirkus Reviews, Boston Phoenix A revelatory biography of the American master as told through the lens of his greatest novel.  Read more...

 
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More About Portrait of a Novel by Michael Gorra
 
 
 
Overview
Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award: Biograph One of the Best Books of 2012: The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, The Millions, Kirkus Reviews, Boston Phoenix A revelatory biography of the American master as told through the lens of his greatest novel.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780871404084
  • ISBN-10: 0871404087
  • Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Publish Date: August 2012
  • Page Count: 385
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Literary
Books > Literary Criticism > American - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-05-07
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this innovative biography, written with flair and unostentatious erudition, Smith College English professor Gorra (The Bells in Their Silence) tells the life of Henry James through the story of the composition of his novel, The Portrait of a Lady. First published in 1881, the novel was a landmark work: James’s scrupulous devotion to craft led him to dramatize the interior life of his heroine, Isabel Archer, in unprecedented fashion. Instead of transparent plots and clear moral conflicts, James opted for subtle clashes of personality and morally ambiguous stories in which action was character and character action. Analyzing James’s letters, journals, stories, and travelogues, Gorra traces the author’s life and literary milieu, alternating a reconstruction of his travels with extensive attention to the novel’s composition and reception. The book reads like an exciting voyage of discovery, beginning with James revising his novel 20 years after it was written, and later depicting his blooming consciousness as an author torn between an American and a European identity. Gorra’s highly engaging introduction to James will be most attractive to lovers of literature who want to learn more about the craft of novel writing and will likely send readers back to the shelves to discover James all over again. Agent: Steve Wassermann, Kneerim & Williams. (Aug.)

 
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