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

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

It is a tribute to his book that he makes us feel the life, of the book and its characters and its author, so deeply.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A revelatory biography of the American master as told through the lens of his greatest novel.


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, an eminent literary critic, shows how this novel—the scandalous story of the expatriate American heiress Isabel Archer—came to be written in the first place. Traveling to Florence, Rome, Paris, and England, Gorra sheds new light on James’s family, the European literary circles—George Eliot, Flaubert, Turgenev—in which James made his name, and the psychological forces that enabled him to create this most memorable of female protagonists. Appealing to readers of Menand’s The Metaphysical Club and McCullough’s The Greater Journey, Portrait of a Novel provides a brilliant account of the greatest American novel of expatriate life ever written. It becomes a piercing detective story on its own.
 

About Michael Gorra

See more books from this Author
Michael Gorra teaches English at Smith College. His books include After Empire, The Bells in Their Silence, and, as editor, the Norton Critical Edition of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
 
Published August 27, 2012 by Liveright. 413 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Portrait of a Novel
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Hermione Lee on Sep 07 2012

It is a tribute to his book that he makes us feel the life, of the book and its characters and its author, so deeply.

Read Full Review of Portrait of a Novel: Henry Ja... | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Colm Tóibín on Aug 24 2012

In his "Portrait of a Novel," Michael Gorra also offers an exemplary approach to what remains a complex and fascinating subject.

Read Full Review of Portrait of a Novel: Henry Ja... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for Portrait of a Novel
94%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 41 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×