'One ought to choose something very deliberately, and be faithful
to that.' Isabel Archer is a young, intelligent, and spirited
American girl, determined to relish her first experience of Europe.
She rejects two eligible suitors in her fervent commitment to
liberty and independence, declaring that she will never marry.
Thanks to the generosity of her devoted cousin Ralph, she is free
to make her own choice about her destiny. Yet in the intoxicating
worlds of Paris, Florence, and Rome, her fond illusions of
self-reliance are twisted by the machinations of her friends and
apparent allies. What had seemed to be a vista of infinite promise
steadily closes around her and becomes instead a 'house of
suffocation'. Considered by many as one of the finest novels in the
English language, this is Henry James's most poised achievement,
written at the height of his fame in 1881. It is at once a dramatic
Victorian tale of betrayal and a wholly modern psychological study
of a woman caught in a web of relations she only comes to
understand too late. This edition reproduces the revised New York
Edition, with James's own Preface.