Henry James, Washington Square

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Writing to his friend and fellow novelist William Dean Howells in January 1880, Henry James announced the forthcoming serialization of his new novel Washington Square. As if to disown it, while at the same time calling attention to the special quality and significance of what he had undertaken, he styled it “a poorish story in three numbers – a tale purely American, the writing of which made me feel acutely the want of the ‘paraphernalia’”. As James’s notebooks testify, the main source for Washington Square was a story that the English actress Frances Anne Kemble had told him about her brother: he, a handsome, selfish, penniless soldier, had captivated the heart of a plain, dull heiress, but had deserted …

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Citation: Buonomo, Leonardo. "Washington Square". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 March 2007 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8692, accessed 07 February 2023.]

8692 Washington Square 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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