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The Portrait of a Lady — Volume 1 by Henry James
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The Portrait of a Lady

by Henry James




VOLUME I

PREFACE

"The Portrait of a Lady" was, like "Roderick Hudson," begun in
Florence, during three months spent there in the spring of 1879.
Like "Roderick" and like "The American," it had been
designed for publication in "The Atlantic Monthly," where it
began to appear in 1880. It differed from its two predecessors,
however, in finding a course also open to it, from month to
month, in "Macmillan's Magazine"; which was to be for me one of
the last occasions of simultaneous "serialisation" in the two
countries that the changing conditions of literary intercourse
between England and the United States had up to then left
unaltered. It is a long novel, and I was long in writing it; I
remember being again much occupied with it, the following year,
during a stay of several weeks made in Venice. I had rooms on
Riva Schiavoni, at the top of a house near the passage leading
off to San Zaccaria; the waterside life, the wondrous lagoon
spread before me, and the ceaseless human chatter of Venice came
in at my windows, to which I seem to myself to have been
constantly driven, in the fruitless fidget of composition, as if
to see whether, out in the blue channel, the ship of some right