The Portrait of a Lady, Volume 1

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4 stars; 25 reviews)

The Portrait of a Lady is a novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly and Macmillan's Magazine in 1880-1881 and then as a book in 1881. It is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates. Like many of James's novels, it is set mostly in Europe, notably England and Italy. Generally regarded as the masterpiece of his early phase of writing, this novel reflects James's absorbing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, betrayal, and sexuality. (Summary from Wikipedia) (12 hr 28 min)


Author's Preface 38:17 Read by Clarica
Chapter 01 20:44 Read by Kirsten Ferreri
Chapter 02 11:36 Read by Kirsten Ferreri
Chapter 03 17:41 Read by Kirsten Ferreri
Chapter 04 17:47 Read by Martina
Chapter 05 31:10 Read by Dawn
Chapter 06 25:22 Read by Dawn
Chapter 07 22:35 Read by Merryb
Chapter 08 17:24 Read by Betsie Bush
Chapter 09 17:10 Read by Martina
Chapter 10 29:31 Read by Martina
Chapter 11 2:11 Read by Dawn
Chapter 12 30:35 Read by Lucy Burgoyne (1950 - 2014)
Chapter 13 46:40 Read by eva
Chapter 14 18:41 Read by Lady Maria
Chapter 15 45:42 Read by eva
Chapter 16 27:17 Read by Sage Tyrtle
Chapter 17 21:08 Read by Lucy Burgoyne (1950 - 2014)
Chapter 18 38:04 Read by Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Chapter 19 53:16 Read by Dawn
Chapter 20 34:15 Read by Dawn
Chapter 21 17:22 Read by Dawn
Chapter 22 36:24 Read by J. M. Smallheer
Chapter 23 21:38 Read by Martina
Chapter 24 33:14 Read by hefyd
Chapter 25 14:00 Read by hefyd
Chapter 26 32:57 Read by hefyd
Chapter 27 25:35 Read by hefyd


Regarding readers' accents

(5 stars)

Yes, at times and in particularly lengthy works such as this, readers from around the world generously give their time and mind to read a chapter or two for we English speaking folk. It is an exercise of patience to listen, and that is a beautiful thing! In the beginning, I read War and Peace; why not, I thought! I wanted to see what the fuss was about! There was one voice I dreaded. At first. I could tell in the first seconds by the quality and background of his recording environment that his chapter was next. I bristled; I felt my "American" pride and prejudice, but recognized those feelings only as indignation. "That thick accent", I thought, " business reading this (RUSSIAN!) masterpiece in "barely decipherable language! An Asian, REALLY" . Then, Leo's heart-stirring just whipped me. Next time the gentleman's voice came on, I connected with him (in Montana, of all places. He sounded like he'd been holed up since Pearl Harbor, his "accent" was so "thick"). I felt the humanity of all connected over time, space, and love of it all.

Re: Casting issues

(0 stars)

Thank you for your thoughtful review. There is no 'casting' at LibriVox. Readers volunteer to read whatever they wish. The reading is acceptable as long as they are understandable. I appreciate that 'understandable' is subjective. If there is any question of intelligibility, the reading is reviewed by a mix of experienced listeners. Occasionally even readers with standard British pronunciation (RP) are apparently unintelligible to some US listeners ;). I, as a reader whom you have reviewed elsewhere, have discovered this, to my surprise.

Portrait of A Lady

(4 stars)

I find that the readers are easier to understand if I have a hardcopy of the book to glance at now and then. It is my opinion that each reader has merits and consistent attempts at pronunciation, making interpreting their translation acceptable. I enjoy the variety and some of the voices are beginning to sound familiar. Such a treat.

awful. avoid

(1 stars)

1 reader has a heavy italian accent that makes half her words uncomprehensible. another has a hoarse voice and a heavy cockney accent. another has a german accent and her recording has a very low volume. other readers affect a low voice when reading male voices.. others cannot pronounce correct l'y Italian or french words.... i gave up at chap. 13. this should be fun not a painful slog..

Great Story....One reader's accent too thick

(4 stars)

I enjoyed this story immensely! The only drawback is that one of the reader's accent is so thick that she is barely understandable, which was very disappointing

Accents And Casting Issues

(0 stars)

Dear LibrivoxBooks, Maybe I'm just fortunate, but I don't have problems understanding people with accents. Nevertheless, the issue goes beyond any one person, for it involves everyone undertaking a community reading. As a hypothetical example (although not that much of one)-- I find it jarring to have a man with a thick southern accent followed by a woman with a fine English accent, followed by someone with . . . well, you get the idea. I'm familiar enough with the voices of the volunteer readers to know that some go together very well. That's a good casting strategy, in my opinion. Another one is to use the voices of those with accents to the best possible effect. If one would imagine the narrator of a story having a particular accent, it seems to me that someone with that type of accent is well-served, along with the listeners, to using it effectively in that way.

The Lady

(4 stars)

I enjoyed the story and the recordings were of great help. There is 1 problem :( : It was hard to understand one reader. I had to replay the chapters. All in all, great job and many thanks. Best Regards to All. S.