Washington Square

Washington Square

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Overview

Washington Square by Henry James

"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-
able hardbound editions of impor-
tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-
fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring
as its emblem the running torch-
bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-
gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101635568
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,004,590
File size: 951 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

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.

Date of Birth:

April 15, 1843

Date of Death:

February 28, 1916

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

London, England

Education:

Attended school in France and Switzerland; Harvard Law School, 1862-63

Customer Reviews

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Washington Square 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
swift__cat More than 1 year ago
Henry James is the master of "showing" without "telling". Washington Square is a good book to start with if you are interested in this author. In some of his later books it might require some discussion to identify the antagonist, but it is not a lack of skill which makes this so. James writes his characters with such complexity that you feel as if you are spying on real people. The main character of Washington Square is a young woman who moves in the constricting circle of both society and her father's wishes. As a suitor presents himself for her hand, the reader will be silently deliberating his intentions. In the end, the reader will still be deliberating. Read it and discover the mystery/realism/skill of Henry James.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In an age when trash like 'The Da Vinci Code' is hyped as great fiction and discussed by book clubs (such as one of mine) with a straight face, I rejoiced to read a novel that depended entirely on personality and character, something the incomparable James does here. The four principal characters, an entirely sympathetic heroine, her fairly worthless lover, her autocratic and unsympathetic father, and her meddlesome aunt, are set against one another masterfully. I urge you to read it, even to read it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a nice break from all of the 'Oprah's Book Club' garbage that everyone seems to be reading. This book is for people interested in reading serious literature who don't need to have their hand held w/comments from the author @ the end of the book. That being said, this a very quick read and is more accessible than something by Austen, for example. Catherine is a wonderful character; her issues and emotions still have relevance in today's society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great little novel for people who love history. It made me wish I had lived in turn of the century New York. I would also like to say that it illustrates the amount of change that has occurred over the last one hundred years. Was it a good change? I am not so sure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To start out, I would like to explain how i dont like to read. I dont care for Mark Twain or many other classic authors. My mom had bought me this book over 5 years ago. I never read it because i just didnt take interest in it. One day I was bored and went over to my shelf and saw the book. I read the back and it seemed interesting. I live in NY so the fact that it takes place in NY fascinated me. I started reading it and never put the book down. I read it strait through without stopping. Its one of the best books if not the best I have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its the first james book i have read, and found it most enjoyable, much easier to read than the golden bowl and portrait of a lady, i highly recommmend it!I fell in love with Catherine!!!!!
comett More than 1 year ago
Henry James' Washington Square (1881) is one of his shorter novels, but flows smoothly and has a plot that is easy to follow. Commas, dashes, and elongated sentences remain as prevalent as ever, although New York might be a less romantic setting than his European venues. Nevertheless, the theme of two adversaries competing for an innocent with the villain aided and abetted by a (not so) useful idiot is not atypical of James. Dr Austin Sloper is a well respected member of society who prides himself on being a good judge of character. His daughter Catherine, by contrast is deemed to be very average at best, both physically and intellectually. Indeed, general narration and Dr Sloper remind us of this so often that we may be forgiven for concluding that there must be more to this young woman than meets the eye. And to her credit, Catherine possesses tremendous intestinal fortitude and stoicism, both of which contribute to her ultimate survival, despite life's disappointments. Her suitor, Morris Townsend, is perceived as a ne'er-do-well gold digger by her father, who takes it upon himself to protect his daughter from this man, a handsome charmer who has very much won Catherine over. And while romantics may hope Townsend's intentions are honourable, readers learn early on that Dr Sloper's instincts are correct. On one hand, Dr Sloper does not appear to mind using his daughter as a pawn in a metaphorical chess match that he actually seems to enjoy. But then again, his positioning vis a vis Morris Townsend suggests that he genuinely has Catherine's best interests at heart. Indeed, he is protecting her from someone who will squander her fortune and subject her to a life of unrequited love. Surely there are better options and Dr Sloper seems more accepting of other suitors. The meddling and (not so) useful idiot is Catherine's aunt (and Dr Sloper's sister) Lavinia Penniman. Like Catherine, she is very much smitten with Morris Townsend and is quite willing to help him woo her niece. The good news for Catherine is that dear Aunt Penniman is no constructive help to Townsend, and merely possesses inflated notions of her own importance and ability to shape events. Again, James proves himself a literary giant who does not disappoint. He does a masterful job with character development and pitting adversary against adversary. In Catherine, he creates a sympathetic heroine and innocent who survives, gaining tremendous inner strength in the process. All of this is augmented by a well constructed and compact plot that is easy to comprehend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here! Is this your den?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Movie was better than the book
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Shrew More than 1 year ago
It was enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school over the summer. It seemed as though it would be a great classical novel. I was sadly mistaken. The characters were plain and uninteresting. Catherine, not to mention her aunt, was annoying and pretty much spineless. This book was also way too long considering nothing happened. I had great hopes for the ending, but that too left me stunned and angry. There was a little plot build up at the end, but then once again nothing happened. In two words this book is a 'horse tranquilizer' and a complete waste of my time.