"Washington Square" is a novel by Henry James. It is a structurally simple tragicomedy that recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, domineering 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 to Jane Austen's work for the clarity and grace of its prose and its intense focus on family relationships. The four principal characters are Catherine, a sweet-natured woman who is a great disappointment to her father, being physically plain and, he believes, mentally dull, Dr. Sloper, Catherine's father, Mrs. Penniman, Catherine's widowed aunt, and Morris Townsend, a tall, handsome man of about thirty.