A great visit to Henry James’ place

Last week, I went for a visit to Henry James’s place in Rye.

Henry James was an American writer living in England. He is most known for his fin de siècle novel called ‘The Portrait of the Lady.’ The book is a fantastic story about a love triangle and a spirited woman, Isabel Archer, who once makes a bad decision. At the beginning of the novel, Isabel Archer is resistant to marriage despite having many suitors, including the wealthy Lord Warburton and Caspar Goodwood. Early on in the book, she becomes an heiress of a large fortune. However, later in the book, she becomes a part of a nasty scheme by two other American Expatriates.

Although written from a female point of view, the novel borrows from Henry James’s experience as an outsider. Both he and Isabel Archer were Americans living in England at the end of the century. Therefore, the novelty of meeting a true English lord and his house in the country is very authentic. 

The novel received its revival with the film adaptation, directed by Jane Campion, who directed ‘The Piano.’ The movie has a star cast, including Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey and Mary-Louise Parker. Despite such a notable case and a well-known director, the film received mixed reviews, and it is known for its directorial shortcoming. Nevertheless, it is most seen for the fans of Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich.

Henry James lived in London and in Rye, where he resided summer times to seek calm and refuge from the city. His Rye residence, known as the Lamb House, is currently a museum. The upper floors are not open to public view, but at this time of year, the garden attracts visitors, especially in this weather. It is a very quaint place with manicured lawns and a vegetable patch. An interesting fact about the house is that there was conducted first private telephone call in the UK.

My visit to Henry James’ place was brilliant. You can purchase the book and movie ‘The Portrait of the Lady’ following the links. Check some of my other posts about books.