Washington Square is a short novel by Henry James. This tragicomedy 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. Readers have sufficiently enjoyed the book to make it one of the more popular works of the Jamesian canon.
Henry James (1843–1916) was an American-born British writer. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James.
He is best known for a number of novels showing Americans encountering Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from a character's point of view allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable narrators brought a new depth to narrative fiction.