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Washington Square (Everyman's Library)by Henry James
Synopses & Reviews
"Washington Square is perhaps the only novel in which a man has successfully invaded the feminine field and produced work comparable to Jane Austen's," said Graham Greene.
Inspired by a story Henry James heard at a dinner party, Washington Square tells how the rakish but idle Morris Townsend tries to win the heart of heiress Catherine Sloper against the objections of her father. Precise and understated, the book endures as a matchless social study of New York in the mid-nineteenth century.
The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with afford-
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bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-
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Washington Square is one of Henry James’s most appealing and popular novels, with the most straightforward plot and style of any of his works.
Set in the genteel New York of James’s early childhood, it is a tale of cruelty laced with comedy. Dr. Austin Sloper is a wealthy and domineering father who is disappointed in the unremarkable daughter he has produced; he dismisses her as both plain and simpleminded. The gentle and dutiful Catherine Sloper has always been in awe of her father, but when she falls in love with Morris Townsend, a penniless charmer whom Dr. Sloper accuses of being a fortune hunter, she dares to defy him, and a battle of wills ensues that will leave her forever changed. Readers have long admired the way that the innocent Catherine, misled by her meddling aunt and mistreated by both her father and her lover, grows in strength and wisdom over the course of her ordeal.
About the Author
Cynthia Ozick, a recipient of a Lannan Award for fiction and a National Book Critics Circle winner for essays, is the author of Trust, The Messiah of Stockholm, The Shawl, and The Puttermesser Papers. She lives in New York.
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