Back when New York was still young, so was heiress Catherine Sloper. A simple, plain girl, she grew up in opulence with a disappointed father and a fluttery aunt in a grand house on Washington Square.
Enter Morris Townsend, a handsome charmer who assures Catherine he loves her for herself and not for her money. But Catherine’s revered father sees in Townsend what she cannot. Now, with her tearful aunt Penniman as his amusingly melodramatic ally, Townsend will present Catherine with the hardest choice of her young life.
With a New Introduction and an Afterword by Michael Cunningham, Author of The Hours
About the Author
Son of the religious philosopher Henry James Sr. and brother of the psychologist and philosopher William James, Henry James (18431916) was born in New York City and spent his early life in America; on and off he was taken to Europe, especially during the impressionable years from twelve to seventeen. After that he lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard, and, in 1864, began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines. Later, he visited Europe and began Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875, he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola and wrote The American. In 1876, he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels: The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903), and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905, he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907). He also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into the war effort in 1914. In 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In January 1916, King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London, and his ashes were buried in the James family plot in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Michael Cunningham is the author of four novels: A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, Specimen Days, and The Hours, which won the PEN Faulkner and Pulitzer prizes. His fiction has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review.
Praise for Washington Square…
“Every line, every paragraph, every chapter…is a fleet-footed light brigade, an engine of irony.”—Cynthia Ozick