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Washington Square by Henry James

Washington Square (1880)

by Henry James

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,436672,341 (3.75)282
  1. 20
    Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Similar stories of daughters oppressed by overbearing fathers, and what happens when a young suitor enters their lives ...
  2. 10
    The Heiress [1949 film] by William Wyler (TheLittlePhrase)
  3. 00
    The Heiress by Ruth Goetz (TheLittlePhrase)
    TheLittlePhrase: the heiress is based on washington square
  4. 00
    The Aspern Papers by Henry James (alalba)
  5. 00
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (zasmine)
    zasmine: Very well defined characters here too

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» See also 282 mentions

English (63)  Spanish (2)  Japanese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Worth it but not my main cup of tea.
  JoshSapan | May 29, 2019 |
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. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I love Henry James's books so much I named my cat after him and have read almost everything he ever wrote. Washington Square remains a favorite and I think this is the book I would give to anyone who believes that Henry James was nothing more than just a 'stodgy old man who went around the barn way too many times' to say what he had to say. ( )
  booksandcats4ever | Jul 30, 2018 |
The writing is excellent but the story is quite sad. Poor dull Catherine loves a man who is quite handsome but a fortune hunter. Catherine's father knows this and stops the courtship. Catherine's life is essentially ruined, as far as love and marriage are concerned. A very sad story. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
“Don’t underestimate the value of irony—it is extremely valuable.”

This novel centres around Catherine Sloper, the daughter of respected physician Dr. Austin Sloper. When Catherine's mother dies when she is only three years old Catherine is raised up by her father,who never remarries, and a few years later by her widowed fraternal aunt Mrs Lavinia Penniman. Mrs Penniman has been left financially impoverished but almost as compensation has a surfeit for romantic melodrama and unrealistic imagination.

Dr. Sloper is almost immediately disappointed in his daughter, firstly because she is not a boy but when she becomes an adolescent because she is neither beautiful like her mother nor clever like himself. He expects nothing much to come of his daughter and whilst he never actually voices his disappointment his attitude ends up stunting her emotional growth. So when Catherine meets charming smooth talking Morris Townsend and he begins to court her she is instantly smitten.

Aunt Lavinia plays the role of a middleman between the couple but her father is immediately suspicious of the young man's true motives because Catherine is a wealthy heiress in her own right who can expect to inherit much more on her father's death.The doctor views Morris as a lazy charmer who has identified Catherine as the source of his fortune whilst in contrast Lavinia does what she can to stoke the coals of romance.

Catherine is old enough to make it impossible for Dr. Sloper to simply ban the romance or withhold the inheritance left to her by her mother but he informs Catherine that if she marries against his will he will disown her. In contrast whilst Morris's primary motivation is undoubtedly financial he ends up treating Catherine with far more consideration than her own father. However, when he realises that she will not inherit her father's wealth Catherine becomes a far less attractive prospect and after a fairly tortuous courtship he decides to finish it. Even after her father's death Catherine never marries preferring to follow her own personal hobbies and interests.

Deception and betrayal are the obvious themes of this book with each of the main characters believing that they were either deceived or betrayed by the others. However, truth and imagination also feature heavily. This is rumoured to be one of the author's least favourite pieces of work because unlike many of his other works he never tried to revise it. Personally I cannot say that I am at all surprised. I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed it. However, I did finish it which gained it an extra point. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Apr 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auchincloss, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balseiro, María LuisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonnafont, ClaudeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
du Maurier, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, DonaldAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heesen, Martha,Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ozick, CynthiaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poole, AdrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Lawrence BeallIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Doren, MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
During a portion of the first half of the present century, and more particularly during the latter part of it, there flourished and practised in the city of New York a physician who enjoyed perhaps an exceptional share of the consideration which, in the United States, has always been bestowed upon distinguished members of the medical profession.
The years have passed very quietly.
She liked to wait, it intensified the situation.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for Washington Square by Henry James. It should not be combined with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
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Wikipedia in English


Book description
Conflict relationships. The heroine's naivete against the heartless ambition and hypocrisy of her suitor and the ruthlessness of her father. He is wise and knows what her suitor is after but his way of dealing with his daughter is heartless.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432264, Paperback)

Washington Square (1881), by Henry James, tells the story of Catherine Sloper, the plain, obedient daughter of the widowed, well-to-do Dr. August Sloper of Washington Square. When a handsome, feckless 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:37 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In the Washington Square area of New York City in the late nineteenth century, devastating betrayals by both her father and her lover leave shy and fragile Catherine Sloper permanently scarred.

» see all 23 descriptions

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Average: (3.75)
1 7
1.5 4
2 30
2.5 8
3 157
3.5 44
4 230
4.5 30
5 113

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441364, 0141194979, 0141389494

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909175838, 1909175846

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

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