Penguin Classics presents Henry James’ Washington Square, adapted for audio and available as a digital download as part of the Penguin English Library series. Read by William Hope.
“Why, you must take me or leave me... You can’t please your father and me both; you must choose between us”.
When timid and plain Catherine Sloper acquires a dashing and determined suitor, her father, convinced that the young man is nothing more than a fortune-hunter, decides to put a stop to their romance. Torn between her desire to win her father’s love and approval and her passion for the first man who has ever declared his love for her, Catherine faces an agonising dilemma, and becomes all too aware of the restrictions that others seek to place on her freedom. James’ masterly novel deftly interweaves the public and private faces of 19th-century New York society; it is also a deeply moving study of innocence destroyed.
Part of a series of vintage recordings taken from the Penguin Archives. Affordable, collectable, quality productions - perfect for on-the-go listening.
Public Domain (P)2012 Penguin Books Ltd
avarice, disappointment, repression
The final encounter between Catherine and her suitor is poignant and touching. You feel that the passage of time has brought knowledge to the heroine.
I thought that the encounters between father and daughter were charged, yet restrained. Masterfully written.
No, I savoured the reading and wished it had gone on longer.
William Hope is a brilliant reader! I enjoyed the colourful, bright energy he gave to the text. I will seek out other books he has read.
"Cruelty in Washington Square, as Taught by Masters"
I would rank this highly among the audiobooks I have listened to. My only criticism is that I think the narration was a little slow and would have been better done by a female actress.
I read Washington Square in my ‘teens and have been a fan of Henry James ever since. It is hard to believe that this is a 19th century novel (1881) as it is so intense. It translates very well as an audiobook.
I have not listened to any of William Hope's other narrations.
The reading of Dr Sloper's will is very moving. After his death, he leaves the bulk of his fortune to medical charities, leaving his daughter with the house in Washington Square and a small annuity from her mother.
One of the first films I can remember watching on television was the 1949 film ‘The Heiress’ directed by William Wyler, with an Oscar-winning performance by Olivia deHavilland as Catherine Sloper and with Montgomery Clift as Townsend. I found it very moving, particularly the last line of the film, when her aunt asks her how she can be so cruel, Catherine responds, "I have been taught by masters." This was a script addition to the book.
"What a depressing story!"
I'd kept hoping for a 'happy resolution,' but the silly girl 'won't' love anyone else .....
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