Washington Square Park
Photo of Washington Square Park by life is a scrapbook used under a Creative Commons license.

Henry James, Washington Square (Penguin Classics, 2007).
In an article in Bloomsbury Magazine about books to read about New York City, Nick Rennison writes:

Henry James’s great subject as a novelist was the meeting and mingling of the old world and the new, the interactions between those brought up in the centuries-long culture of Europe and those brought up amid the brash vitality of nineteenth-century America. . . . One of the few works by him where the action (if that is not too strong a word for the events in a James novel) takes place in the New York of his birth is Washington Square. With a typical Jamesian irony his New York novel is not a celebration of the vigour and potential of city life but a measured, melancholy acknowledgement of the social and romantic restrictions imposed on its central character, Catherine Sloper. Plain and dowdy, Catherine lives with her physician father in genteel Washington Square. . . . [A] sad and understated masterpiece. A particular, and stifling, social stratum of nineteenth-century New York is brought subtly to life.

Here’s one electronic version of the book (there are others). Random House posts this bio of James. Google Book Search has various information, including popular passages and links to reviews. Here is a whole fan site (who knew?). Robert Lashley reviews it at Blogcritics Magazine. Heather is a fan. So is dovegreyreader. Jamie Tallman is a little more equivocal.

Buy this book at Amazon.com.

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