Washington Square is a short novel by Henry James. Originally published in 1880 as a serial in Cornhill Magazine and Harper's New Monthly Magazine, it is a structurally simple tragicomedy that recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, unemotional father. The plot of the novel is based upon a true story told to James by his close friend, British actress Fanny Kemble. The book is often compared with Jane Austen's work for the clarity and grace of its prose and its intense focus on family relationships. James was not a great fan of Washington Square. He tried to read it over for inclusion in the New York Edition of his fiction (1907–1909) but found that he could not, so the novel was not included. Readers, though, have sufficiently enjoyed the book to make it one of the more popular of James' works.
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