Washington Square: Styles of Money

Washington Square: Styles of Money

by Ian Bell
     
 

With the publication in 1880 of Washington Square, the great American novelist, short story writer, and critic Henry James forged a new form of fiction, one combining the realism of the European novel with the romanticism of the American tradition. James's story, set in New York City's fashionable Washington Square, where James spent his own boyhood, tells of the shy… See more details below

Overview

With the publication in 1880 of Washington Square, the great American novelist, short story writer, and critic Henry James forged a new form of fiction, one combining the realism of the European novel with the romanticism of the American tradition. James's story, set in New York City's fashionable Washington Square, where James spent his own boyhood, tells of the shy Catherine Sloper, caught between the demands of her wealthy father, Dr. Austin Sloper, and those of her young suitor, Morris Townsend. This novel of James's early period was written shortly after he settled in London; with the exception of The Bostonians (1866), it is the last of his works to be set in America. Moreover, along with The Europeans (1878), it is one of only two works in which James set his action in a distinct historical past: both novels, written within two years of each other, are located in the America of the 1840s. Despite the significance of Washington Square in James's work, in recent years the novel has been largely neglected, as scholars have focused increasingly on his later writing. This new critical study by Ian F. A. Bell decisively rectifies that situation, providing readers with an outstanding guide to appreciating the novel. "Washington Square inaugurated the shape of modern fiction and was conceived during that transitional moment when the modern economy began to emerge from its nineteenth-century forms," Bell maintains. Tracing the economic and aesthetic changes pervading American society at the time of the novel's action and at the time of its writing, Bell skillfully places the novel in its historical, literary, and critical contexts. What follows is a thoughtful reading of Washington Square that consistently delineates the social and historical forces influencing the novel and the resultant cultural shifts necessitating the kind of innovativeness James brought to his endeavor. A distinctive, well-reasoned presentation of interest to students and scholars alike, Was

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805783599
Publisher:
Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/1993
Series:
Masterwork Studies, #11
Pages:
1993
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.79(h) x 0.84(d)

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