Book Discussion: Washington Square, by Henry James

William Glackens, Washington Square 1910 William Glackens, Washington Square 1910

Set in the New York of James’s early childhood, Washington Square is one of Henry James’s most appealing and popular novels, with the most straightforward plot and style of any of his works.

Dr. Austin Sloper is a wealthy and domineering father who is disappointed in his daughter, whom he dismisses as plain and simpleminded. The gentle and dutiful Catherine Sloper has always been in awe of her father, but when she falls in love with Morris Townsend, a penniless charmer whom Dr. Sloper accuses of being a fortune hunter, she dares to defy him. A battle of wills then ensues that will leave her forever changed. Readers have long admired the way that the innocent Catherine, misled by her meddling aunt and mistreated by both her father and her suitor, grows in strength and wisdom over the course of the novel.

John Singer Sargent, Two Girls Fishing, 1912 John Singer Sargent, Two Girls Fishing, 1912

The Library Book Club will discuss Washington Square on Thursday, January 28 at 12:00 in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are invited to join in via Google Hangouts.

For information about future book discussions at the Library, see the Library Book Club webpage or contact Harold Henkel at