Writing Techniques in The Portrait of a Lady

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This section contains 1,325 words
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In the Preface to the New York Edition of The Portrait of a Lady, James recalls that one of his major challenges was how to endow his image of "the slim shade of an intelligent but presumptuous girl . . . affronting her destiny" with "the attributes of a big Subject." To accomplish this, he could have surrounded his heroine with a rich social context of characters and events according to the conventions of the realistic social novel as developed by Jane Austen and George Eliot. Or, he could have equipped her with a complex personal consciousness and adopted the metaphoric language of the tradition of the romance as it had been brought to perfection by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He decided to aim for a delicate balance of crucial elements from both traditions, incorporating social history while making the growth of his heroine's consciousness his compositional center. He thuse created a highly...

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This section contains 1,325 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Portrait of a Lady Study Guide
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The Portrait of a Lady from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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