Washington Square (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 Aug 2001
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"Perhaps the only novel in which a man has successfully invaded the feminine field and produced a work comparable to Jane Austen's." -Graham Greene --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Washington Square is the story of an heiress torn between two men. It has been adapted many times for stage and screen, and remains among James’s most popular works. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Written in 1898, this is superficially the tale of a governess who accepts the job of teaching two beautiful, young children whose uncle-guardian wants nothing to do with them. On a symbolic level, however, it is a study of the mores and prejudices of the times and, ultimately, of the nature of Evil. The governess fears that ghosts of the former governess Miss Jessel and her lover, valet Peter Quint, have corrupted the souls of little Flora and Miles and have won them to the side of Evil. The children deny any knowledge of ghosts, and, in fact, only the governess actually sees them. Were it not for the fact that the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, can identify them from the governess's descriptions, one might be tempted to think that the governess is hallucinating.
Though the governess is certainly neurotic and repressed, this novel was published ten years before Freud, suggesting that the story should be taken at face value, as a suspenseful but enigmatic Victorian version of a Faustian struggle for the souls of these children. The ending, which comes as a shock to the reader, is a sign that such struggles should never be underestimated. As is always the case with James, the formal syntax, complex sentence structure, and elaborately constructed narrative are a pleasure to read for anyone who loves language, formality, and intricate psychological labyrinths. Mary whipple
‘TTOTS’ is an excellent example of ambiguous writing. Even at the shocking conclusion, it is not clear if we have just read a ghost story or an example of psychological fiction. It is difficult to say too much without giving too much away about the story, but every event, or encounter with the ghostly figures, has two interpretations. It is very cleverly written, and all the more spooky because of it.
Having said all that, I am not a fan of James’ writing style. The only other book of his that I have read (‘The Ambassadors’) has tortuously constructed sentences that are painful to read. This is also true of ‘TTOTS’. Fortunately, the story of the title is easily gripping enough for this not to be a problem, but the rest of this collection is instantly forgettable because of it. Nevertheless, it is well-worth a read as one of the greatest spooky stories ever told.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite difficult to understand initially and rather intense but worth persevering with Well written if rather stilted in style seemed that the author wax troubled in some way by the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
James, Henry. Washington Square.
Of all Henry James’s misunderstood and abused heroines, Catherine Sloper is the saddest. Read more
A compulsory text for my English Literature degree. It is a good sound novel to apply theories to but I didn't particularly enjoy it.Published 5 months ago by Sophie Riley
Not an easy read or a very satisfying one, but a classic ghost story that has to be read.Published 6 months ago by Jules5691
Type was too small so I can't read it.
I must have bought that edition by mistake.
Stick to penguin in future.
An old favourite I needed a new copy and relived the pleasure of reading this classic mystery/supernatural?Published 10 months ago by Pauline db