Washington Square

Front Cover
Macmillan, 2005 - English language - 63 pages
This classic novel, originally published as a serial in Cornhill Magaine and Harper's New Monthly Magaine, tells the story of the struggles between a daughter and her intelligent, controlling father from the viewpoint of an unnamed narrator. This book is often compared to Jane Austen's works for the clearness of its prose and its extreme concentration on human troubled relationships. Henry James tells the story of Catherine Sloper, plain and obedient, daughter of the widowed, well-to-do Dr. August Sloper of Washington Square. When a handsome, incompetent man-about-town proposes to Catherine, her father forbids the marriage because he believes the man to be after Catherine's fortune and future inheritance. The conflict between father, daughter, and suitor provokes consequences in the lives of all three that make this story one of James's most piercingly memorable. The inspiration for James's Washington Square came from a tale about a jilted heiress, which James heard from the actress Fanny Kemble. The novel provides a social portrait of Washington Square and lower Manhattan during the late nineteenth century and remains a memorable work--one featured in several films. Henry James (1843-1916), American novelist and critic, was an innovator in technique and a distinctive prose stylist. More than any previous writer, James refined the technique of narrating a novel from the point of view of a character, thereby laying the foundations of modern stream-of-consciousness fiction. Among his many acclaimed novels are The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, The Golden Bowl, and The Wings of the Dove.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - technodiabla - LibraryThing

Very dense slow read for me. I thought the character development was genius. But the plot just didn't warrant the density. It could be summarized in 3-5 sentences. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Rdra1962 - LibraryThing

I liked this book, but I did not like any of the characters. It holds up well as a snapshot of another time, a different society. Prefer Jane Austim et al. Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Henry James, American novelist and literary critic, was born in 1843 in New York City. Psychologist-philosopher William James was his brother. By the age of 18, he had lived in France, England, Switzerland, Germany, and New England. In 1876, he moved to London, having decided to live abroad permanently. James was a prolific writer; his writings include 22 novels, 113 tales, 15 plays, approximately 10 books of criticism, and 7 travel books. His best-known works include Daisy Miller, The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, and The American Scene. His works of fiction are elegant and articulate looks at Victorian society; while primarily set in genteel society, James subtlely explores class issues, sexual repression, and psychological distress. Henry James died in 1916 in London. The James Memorial Stone in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, commemorates him.

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