March 2014 Featured Book

Featured Book of the Month
Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece
by Michael Gorra '79

“Michael Gorra's ‘Portrait of a Novel’ is not just a study of ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ but is a kind of re-creation, or re-imagining, of Henry James's novel, as well as a sharply limned impression of its author at the time he was composing this masterwork of American fiction. Who would have thought a work of literary criticism would be such a good read?”   —John Banville, Wall Street Journal

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.