ONLINE SEMINAR
February 18 | Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady

This seminar is now FULL. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please email us.

In a time of soundbites and hot takes, reading Henry James offers a chance to reflect deeply on complexity and to be patient with the unfolding of personalities and circumstances. James was convinced that seemingly minor actions and thoughts mattered, and that only close attention to daily life and its half-visible undercurrents could produce the wisdom needed to lead a life of integrity. In The Portrait of a Lady, James explores the changing opportunities for young women in the early twentieth century, and the tensions between American and European sensibilities, by focusing on the development of the idealistic and wealthy Isabel Archer.

This seminar will be read-as-we-go; no previous knowledge of Henry James is required.

When: Six weekly seminars on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Eastern, beginning February 18, 2021

Duration: 2 hours per session

Cost: C$350 plus 13% HST (approx. US$273 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We will be using Zoom; you will receive instructions on how to join upon registration. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded.

All seminar payments are nonrefundable. Please note that seminars bought on sale do not count toward Frequent Reader totals.

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

Description

LEADER

Nancy Carr is a writer, editor and discussion leader with many years of experience at the Great Books Foundation. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia and an abiding love of Victorian fiction. She keeps coming back to Henry James because the experience of unwinding his complex sentences always leads to a new discovery.

BOOK

The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James, edited by Robert D. Bamberg
(W.W. Norton/Norton Critical Editions, 1995)
ISBN-13: 978-0393966466

Because there were two versions of the text (the First Edition and the much-revised New York Edition) it’s very important that everyone in the group is working from a Norton edition, which is the New York Edition. Please be sure to get the 1995 Norton above, which is readily available used.
We encourage you to support local bookstores or other independent sellers, especially as alternatives to Amazon.

In the US and the UK, try Bookshop.org World of Books, or Ebooks (electronic books only)

In the US and Canada, try Powell’s Books, IndieBound, and Thiftbooks (used books only in Canada)

In Canada, try McNally Robinson or Indigo

This edition should be available from Powell’s Books. You can also do a search on isbnsearch.org

“Here, in this chapter [27], as it navigates the stream of Isabel’s consciousness, was the “psychological novel” born.”

— John Banville in The Irish Times

In a time of soundbites and hot takes, reading Henry James offers a chance to reflect deeply on complexity and to be patient with the unfolding of personalities and circumstances. James was convinced that seemingly minor actions and thoughts mattered, and that only close attention to daily life and its half-visible undercurrents could produce the wisdom needed to lead a life of integrity. In The Portrait of a Lady, James explores the changing opportunities for young women in the early twentieth century, and the tensions between American and European sensibilities, by focusing on the development of the idealistic and wealthy Isabel Archer.

In his preface to The Portrait of a Lady, James remarks that it began with the vision of “a single character” and its uncertain trajectory: “… all urgently, all tormentingly, I saw it in motion and, so to speak, in transit. This amounts to saying that I saw it as bent upon its fate–some fate or other–which, among the possibilities, being precisely the question.” This sense of open-endedness permeates the novel, as we follow Isabel and her struggles to choose among the paths available to her. James’ work is by turns a comedy of manners, an investigation of romantic attraction, an analysis of willfulness and cruelty, and a celebration of resilience in the face of tragedy. Along with Isabel, we meet indelible characters that include Gilbert Osmond, Ralph Touchett, Madame Merle, Caspar Goodwood, Pansy Osmond, and Henrietta Stackpole. To read The Portrait of a Lady is to be immersed in a fully realized world that compels us to think anew about our own lives and choices.

This seminar will be read-as-you-go.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

Additional information

Choose registration type

Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit