Wednesday, September 22, 2010
He calls Isabel Archer a "single small cornerstone" in the "square and spacious house" that is the novel. Everything that happens in the novel begins with and affects Isabel. She is "an intelligent but presumptuous" "young woman" in "perfect isolation. She stands aloof and rejects the offers of others in order to maintain her independence, which she highly values. The one character with which James expresses disappointment is Henrietta Stackpole, whom he calls "incomplete." Described as only a wheel to the coach, Henrietta was included by James in order to add levity and liveliness to the story.
The above painting is Portrait of a Lady (1455) by Rogier van der Weyden.