Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Henry James's Washington Square. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Washington Square: Introduction
Washington Square: Plot Summary
Washington Square: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Washington Square: Themes
Washington Square: Quotes
Washington Square: Characters
Washington Square: Symbols
Washington Square: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Henry James
Historical Context of Washington Square
Other Books Related to Washington Square
- Full Title: Washington Square
- When Written: 1880
- Where Written: London, England
- When Published: 1880
- Literary Period: Realism
- Genre: Fiction
- Setting: New York City in the 1840s
- Climax: Catherine defies Dr. Sloper in the Alps.
- Antagonist: Dr. Austin Sloper
- Point of View: Third-person omniscient
Extra Credit for Washington Square
Real-Life Triangle. The plot of Washington Square was inspired by Henry James’s friend, English actress Fanny Kemble, who told him the story—recorded in James’s private journal in 1879—of her brother’s engagement to a “dull, plain, common-place girl” with a private fortune, and the disapproving interference of the girl’s father.
Oscar-Winning Adaptation. Washington Square is one of the more frequently adapted of Henry James’s works, the most popular version being The Heiress, a 1949 film adaptation starring Olivia de Havilland as Catherine Sloper and Montgomery Clift as Morris Townsend. The film won four Academy Awards.