Washington Square

Literary significance & criticism

"Everybody likes Washington Square, even the denigrators of Henry James", wrote critic Donald Hall,[2] and most other commentators have echoed the sentiment. Although James himself regarded the novel with near contempt, readers have enjoyed its linear narrative technique, its straightforward prose (far removed from the convoluted language of James's later career), and the sharply etched portraits of the four main characters. Even the rusty plot revolving around "the will" has charmed many critics with its old-fashioned simplicity.[3]

Catherine's slow but unmistakable development into independence and wisdom is a notable success for James and has been much appreciated by critics and readers in general.[4]


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