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Washington Square by Henry James
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Washington Square (1880)

by Henry James

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,827522,057 (3.75)169
  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. 00
    The Aspern Papers by Henry James (alalba)
  3. 00
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (zasmine)
    zasmine: Very well defined characters here too
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English (49)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
After muttering, grumbling and hating on Henry James for upwards of 40 years (ever since I struggled and failed to read The Ambassadors for an American Lit course in college), I have finally read and enjoyed one of his novels. In truth, I enjoyed it quite a lot. This is the story of unattractive, un-brilliant, motherless Catherine Sloper, who has no prospects of marriage until she somehow attracts the attention of young Mr. Morris Townsend, of the "other" Townsends. His prospects are no better than hers, for although he is delightful to look at, and a charming dinner companion, he has no money, no career and no family connections of the better kind. Catherine's father, a prominent New York physician, will have no part of Catherine's determination to marry Mr. Townsend; she has her own income from her dead mother and Father cannot change that, but he can and emphatically will remove her from his Will and the assured thirty thousand a year she might expect after his death, unless she gives up Mr. Townsend. The exploration of human emotions, motivations, and relationships in this novel are subtle but superb.
The movie, "The Heiress" with Olivia deHaviland and Montgomery Clift was based on this novel. The outcome is fundamentally the same, but rather more dramatic in the movie.

Review written in September 2011 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Nov 12, 2014 |
A father and his daughter debate a young man's intentions in a story conveying messages about the admixture of pride and love. As the father of a very young daughter I've received its precaution not to invest too much in a singular vision of the future woman my daughter will grow up to be. The author does an admirable job with the daughter's character arc, very convincingly moving her through the stages. I couldn't decide which way I wanted the ending to go, and still have mixed feelings about how it wound up - as I think I'm supposed to.

I was surprised by how present the narrator is in this work, which I thought was antithetical for Mr. James. A quick search confirms this novel was from his early period before he became so entrenched, also explaining the easy reading. This short work is a good place for anyone to start who wants to sample James as an author without getting too bogged down. ( )
  Cecrow | Oct 1, 2014 |
While I did not find it exactly amazing, I did really like Washington Square. Henry James has a way with words that is all his own. One can almost tell immediately when they're reading one of his works. Washington Square actually took me to a place I had been once a couple of decades ago, and I just couldn't help but appreciate the social anthropology found within its pages. In a great many ways, one becomes involved with the lives there. More to come in the blog. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
I cannot believe how much I loved Washington Square! It was great! It actually borders on fantastic! Washington Square is about Dr. Austin Sloper, a very prominent doctor, his daugther Catherine Sloper, a very unassuming girl, and Lavinia Penniman, Dr. Sloper's meddlesome sister and Catherine's aunt. Now, Dr. Sloper is a very smart but calculating and clinical man. It seems he grew colder when his first child died and then his wife during childbirth with Catherine.

Dr. Sloper doesn't care for Catherine. He might love her but he doesn't think well of her appearance or her limited intelligence. When, at a big party, Catherine meets and is smitten with Morris Townsend, Dr. Sloper immediately thinks he's after her money since Catherine already has her 10,000 inheritance from her mother and will get 35,000 after Sloper's death and Townsend blew all of his money coasting through Europe.

It doesn't help matters when Lavinia gets involved acting as a conduit for Catherine and Morris. Things sort of snowball from getting very intricate but simply constructed. I believe in a less gifted author than James (I'm looking at you Nicholas Sparks!) this could have been ridiculous, corny, complicated, and plain stupid.

However, James knows how to write straightforward prose. Events were always quick and just the facts would suffice. A 12-month vacation abroad was about a chapter or so. It was fantastic. Not to say it was scanty. Quite the contrary, it was incredibly verbose. The last few chapters were great. It could have ended happily and been one big cliche instead it ended like it would have in real life. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I cannot believe how much I loved Washington Square! It was great! It actually borders on fantastic! Washington Square is about Dr. Austin Sloper, a very prominent doctor, his daugther Catherine Sloper, a very unassuming girl, and Lavinia Penniman, Dr. Sloper's meddlesome sister and Catherine's aunt. Now, Dr. Sloper is a very smart but calculating and clinical man. It seems he grew colder when his first child died and then his wife during childbirth with Catherine.

Dr. Sloper doesn't care for Catherine. He might love her but he doesn't think well of her appearance or her limited intelligence. When, at a big party, Catherine meets and is smitten with Morris Townsend, Dr. Sloper immediately thinks he's after her money since Catherine already has her 10,000 inheritance from her mother and will get 35,000 after Sloper's death and Townsend blew all of his money coasting through Europe.

It doesn't help matters when Lavinia gets involved acting as a conduit for Catherine and Morris. Things sort of snowball from getting very intricate but simply constructed. I believe in a less gifted author than James (I'm looking at you Nicholas Sparks!) this could have been ridiculous, corny, complicated, and plain stupid.

However, James knows how to write straightforward prose. Events were always quick and just the facts would suffice. A 12-month vacation abroad was about a chapter or so. It was fantastic. Not to say it was scanty. Quite the contrary, it was incredibly verbose. The last few chapters were great. It could have ended happily and been one big cliche instead it ended like it would have in real life. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auchincloss, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balseiro, María LuisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonnafont, ClaudeTranslatorsecondary 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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
The years have passed very quietly.
She liked to wait, it intensified the situation.
Last words
(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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:13 -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 14 descriptions

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Audible.com

8 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441364, 0141194979, 0141389494

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