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A Lady From 1881 Gets A New Portrait In 'Mrs. Osmond'

Man Booker Prize winner John Banville has written a sequel to Henry James' The Portrait Of A Lady. 'It was my initial foolhardiness and overweening pride that made me do it,' he says.
Author John Banville in Oxford, England. Source: David Levenson

John Banville has written a novel that is at once an epochal act of imitation, salutation and imagination. He's taken Isabel Archer, Henry James' protagonist in his 1881 novel The Portrait Of A Lady, and painted a portrait beyond that classic frame. The result is a sequel, Mrs. Osmond, in much of the manner of Henry James.

"It was years ago my wife said to me, 'Look why don't you write the second half ?' At the time I thought, 'No, it would be like feeding on the carcass of a lion,'" Banville says. "But then, I guess, last year I needed a change of direction."

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