Washington Square (Oxford World's Classics)

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9780192835185: Washington Square (Oxford World's Classics)

Catherine Sloper lives in Washington Square with her widowed father, a wealthy physician. She is plain, shy, and lacks social graces and conversation. Dr. Sloper cannot conceal his disappointment that she has nothing of her dead mother's beauty and wit. So when the handsome but penniless Morris Townsend begins to court Catherine, Dr. Sloper suspects him of being a fortune-hunter. While Catherine's romantic hopes are encouraged and abetted by her aunt, Lavinia Penniman, her father threatens to disinherit her if she marries Morris. Ultimately, however, it is up to Catherine to find out Morris's true intentions.

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From the Inside Flap:

Washington Square follows the coming-of-age of its plain-faced, kindhearted heroine, Catherine Sloper. Much to her father's vexation, a handsome opportunist named Morris Townsend woos the long-suffering heiress, intent on claiming her fortune. When Catherine stubbornly refuses to call off her engagement, Dr. Sloper forces Catherine to choose between her inheritance and the only man she will ever truly love. Cynthia Ozick, in her Introduction to what she calls Henry James's "most American fiction," writes that "every line, every paragraph, every chapter [of Washington Square] is a fleet-footed light brigade, an engine of irony." Precise and understated, this charming novel endures as a matchless study of New York in the mid-nineteenth century.

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“Henry James is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare is in the history of poetry.” —Graham Greene

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Published by Oxford University Press, New York, NY (1998)
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