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By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
Topic - Michael Gorra
''The Portrait of a Lady" was the first true success for Henry James; with it he established his literary reputation. Today it is recognized as one of the great American novels, the link, as author Michael Gorra states, "between George Eliot and Virginia Woolf." As such, the book continues to sell 25,000 copies a year.
Isabel's realization of her mistake, in famous Chapter 42, with its use of stream of consciousness predating Virginia Woolf, stands, as Mr. Gorra says, "as one of James' greatest achievements and a turning point in the history of the novel."
And so we read Isabel's story, Mr. Gorra writes, "wishing we could warn her against the others" -- the conniving Madame Merle, poignant and repulsive at once, and especially against the predatory Gilbert, whose egotism lies "hidden like a serpent in a bank of flowers."