The classic Henry James novel The Portrait of a Lady (1881) follows the story of a young American woman named Isabel Archer. Isabel is independent and spirited but sometimes finds herself overwhelmed. Though she is an American, the story mainly takes place in England and Italy. When she inherits a great fortune, two American expatriates scheme to acquire it.
The story line provides plenty of room for James to work with what will become familiar themes in his work; contrasts between the old world and new world, class differences, personal freedom and responsibility, as well as loyalty, trust and betrayal.
The Portrait of a Lady was serialized in both The Atlantic Monthly and Macmillan's Magazine in 1880-1881 and then published as novel in 1881.