Washington Square (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback) by James Henry
Washington Square marks the culmination of James's apprentice period as a novelist. With sharply focused attention upon just four principal characters James provides an acute analysis of middle-class manners and behaviour in the New York of the 1870's a period of great change in the life of the city. This change is explored through the device of setting the novel's action during the 1840s similarly a period of considerable turbulence as the United States experienced the onset of rapid commercial and industrial expansion. Through the relationships between Austin Sloper a celebrated physician and his sister Lavinia Penniman his daughter Catherine and Catherine's suitor Morris Townsend James observes the contemporary scene as a site of competing styles and performances where authentic expression cannot be articulated or is subject to suppression.