Washington Square

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, Jun 28, 2007 - Fiction - 205 pages
18 Reviews
Henry James's classic tale of romance in urban nineteenth-century America, Washington Square is edited with an introduction and notes by Martha Banta in Penguin Classics. When timid and plain Catherine Sloper is courted by the dashing and determined Morris Townsend, her father, convinced that the young man is nothing more than a fortune-hunter, delivers an ultimatum: break off her engagement, or be stripped of her inheritance. Torn between her desire to win her father's love and approval and her passion for the only man who has ever declared his love for her, Catherine faces an agonising dilemma, and becomes all too aware of the restrictions that others seek to place on her freedom. James's masterly novel deftly interweaves the public and private faces of nineteenth-century New York society; it is also a deeply moving study of innocence destroyed. This edition of Washington Square includes a chronology, suggested further reading, notes and an introduction discussing the novel's lasting influence and James's depiction of the quiet strength of his heroine. Henry James (1843-1916) son of a prominent theologian, and brother to the philosopher William James, was one of the most celebrated novelists of the fin-de-siècle. His novella 'Daisy Miller' (1878) established him as a literary figure on both sides of the Atlantic, and his other novels in Penguin Classics include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Awkward Age (1899), The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). If you enjoyed Washington Square, you might like Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Washington Square is a perfectly balanced novel... a work of surpassing refinement and interest'Elizabeth Hardwick 'Perhaps the only novel in which a man has successfully invaded the feminine field and produced a work comparable to Jane Austen's'Graham Greene

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And for that I love James' writing. - Goodreads
The ending was the worst of all. - Goodreads
What a fantastic novel--and what a cruel premise! - Goodreads

Review: Washington Square

User Review  - Daniel - Goodreads

What a fantastic novel--and what a cruel premise! I have tried repeatedly to describe the basic idea of this book, and I have struck out line after line because each felt too mean to commit to print ... Read full review

Review: Washington Square

User Review  - Jennifer (aka EM) - Goodreads

3.75 for now. ________ Just a quick couple of notes: this is a novella. I felt that it was not the right length for James to make completely free use of those convoluted, tortured, serpentine ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

Philip Horne has spent a decade looking at the thousands of James's letters in archives in the United States and Europe. A Reader in English Literature at University College, London, he is the author of Henry James and Revision and the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of James's The Tragic Muse.

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines.

In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907).

During his career he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.

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