Download The Portrait of a Lady Audiobook

The Portrait of a Lady Audiobook, by Henry James Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Henry James Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN: 9781483074023
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (10 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Beautiful, spirited Isabel Archer, an American heiress newly arrived in Europe, is widely expected to quickly marry. But Isabel does not look to a man to furnish her with destiny; instead she desires, with grace and courage, to find it herself. Two eligible suitors are refused in favor of her pursuit of glorious independence. But then, Isabel becomes utterly captivated by the languid charms of the cunning Gilbert Osmond. To him, she represents a superior prize to be won; through him, she faces a tragic choice.

A subtle and poignant psychological novel of love and betrayal, The Portrait of a Lady is widely considered to be James' masterpiece. F.R. Leavis declared that "we can't ask for a finer exhibition of James' peculiar gifts."

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Richly perceptive.”

    New York Times

  • “How did this nineteenth-century male writer create Isabel Archer, one of the most intriguing women characters in all of literature, capturing her journey from buoyant but naïve girl to wiser, more compassionate grown-up? Henry James was an American-born genius, in love with Europe, and fascinated by the interaction of the Old World (Europe) and the New (America). Where these sensibilities clashed, James found drama, wisdom, tenderness. Few write about the path from openhearted to slightly more seasoned than this master stylist.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “This book isn’t about the disappointments that inhere in the traditional marriage plot. It’s about what a woman does when she begins to acknowledge her own complicity in the life she has chosen…Isabel shows us that our bad decisions do not end our story. They begin it.”


  • “The masterpiece of the first phase of James's career…offers a shrewd appraisal of the American character and embodies the national myth of freedom and equality hedged with historical blindness and pride.”

    Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

  • “Isabel Archer…is an impressive figure, and one follows her in her free flight with so much admiration for her resolution and strong pinions that when she is caught in the meshes of Osmond’s net one’s indignation is moved, and a noble pity takes the place of frank admiration.”

    Atlantic, 1882

  • O Magazine Pick of 25 Books Every Woman Should Read in Her Lifetime

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lenore | 5/19/2011

    " I read this in my 20s while in Paris. My boyfriend and I only had the one copy between us, so I would read a page, then tear it out and give it to him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 4/27/2011

    " I'm not a writer, just a reader and I loved this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tessa | 4/18/2011

    " if it weren't for the last third of this book, it'd be a five. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trish | 4/17/2011

    " Sadly beautiful and well worth the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annemarie | 4/15/2011

    " At points this was difficult to read and felt a little dull. I'm certain others could read this book with pleasure, I didnt. But I would like to read it again with an eye for gender studies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christa | 4/13/2011

    " My other all time favorite! A classic. I love the way Henry James writes and I could read this book over and over again. The characters are wonderful and Mr. James uses language so wonderfully! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ke | 4/9/2011

    " The story was beautifully told. All the characters had unique voices and points of view.

    I thought the Osmond character was a bit too mustache-twirling.

    Isabel had a feel of a horror film last girl. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lily | 3/23/2011

    " Thoroughly enjoyed it. Psychological character descriptions are layers and layers deep. Will remember many of the main characters, they are so intriguing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelley | 3/16/2011

    " I really had a hard time reading this, as James writes with such a full use of the language. The characters are a bit stereotypical, but the story has enough plot twists to make it interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 3/9/2011

    " Classic, however the fact that he spent a whole page on describing a tea pot will never leave my memory of this book! "

About the Author

Henry James (1843–1916), American novelist, short-story writer, and man of letters, was born in Washington Place, New York, to a family of distinguished philosophers and theologians. He attended schools in New York, Boston, and throughout Europe, where he later settled. A major figure in the history of the novel, he is celebrated as a master craftsman who brought his great art and impeccable technique to bear in the development of abiding moral themes.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.