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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is SOOO cooool ....., September 1, 2012
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This review is from: Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece (Hardcover)
Wow, this is so cool.

For fans of Henry James, this is a must. Re-read the first two chapters of Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady." You probably have a copy on your bookshelves; if not easily available almost anywhere for less than $6.00 (soft cover). You can download "Portrait of a Lady" for free on the iPad. I still prefer my paper copy.

Then, buy the new hardcover "Portrait of a Novel," by Michael Gorra. I never buy hard covers, but when I saw it at Barnes and Nobel, I just had to get it, so I ordered it from Amazon.

After reading the first two chapters of the "Portrait of a Lady," read the first few pages of Michael Gorra's book.

You will see what I mean. The two books need to be read simultaneously, a few chapters of the long novel, followed by a few pages of the new biography. It is incredible. Lots of fun.

For newbies to Henry James, one may want to read another biography first, or get a quick overview on Wikipedia, but once you think you have an idea of who Henry James was, get these two books and read them side by side. It is most enjoyable.

By the way, I do not recall ever having read Henry James in high school or college. It was a chance/random comment by a dear friend many years ago (seven to be exact), who mentioned that a high school teacher introduced her to Henry James and and has found him very, very rewarding. That friend is a voracious reader, never went to college, and enjoys Henry James. Wow.

Anyway, you will not be disappointed in "Portrait of a Novel."

"Portrait of a Lady" is clearly biographical. It was published in 1881, eleven years after the "love of his life" (Minnie Temple) died of tuberculosis. She was just 24 years old. An incredible story. It is said she influenced everything Henry James wrote after her death. (See comments below. I edited last paragraph to clear up ambiguity.)

Wow.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 19, 2012 11:48:09 AM PDT
Ed Morgan says:
That's an interesting approach -- reading a novel and its portrait side by side. More writers should create these companion volumes. I'd love to see a fully formed, highly literary genre develop. Thanks for the review.

Posted on May 19, 2013 9:02:58 PM PDT
So, THIS book, "Portrait of a Novel", was "published in 1881"? Really? The details say it was published in 2012.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2013 9:39:33 PM PDT
Bruce Oksol says:
"Portrait of a Lady," 1881.
"Portrait of a Novel," 2012.

Side-by-side, great fun to read together.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2013 4:22:48 PM PDT
Right. There's apparently an error in the original user's comment.
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