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 her upon realizing that her father would disinherit her if she married…

2350 words

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 22 June 2024.]

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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