The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Love and Pain in Washington Square

Washington, DC


Actress Olivia de Havilland with her copy of Washington Square. Photo courtesy of Dan Stone.

The main character of Henry James?s 1880 novel, Washington Square, is Catherine Sloper, a simple but goodhearted young woman. She is the only surviving child of a celebrated New York City physician, Doctor Austin Sloper, whose wife died while giving birth to Catherine. National Medal of the Arts recipient actress Olivia de Havilland, along with writers Colm Toibin and Cynthia Ozick, and musician Colin Meloy comment on the lifelong struggle that disrupts Catherine?s relationship with her overprotective father. De Havilland brilliantly portrayed Catherine Sloper in the film adaptation, The Heiress. Former NEA Chair Dana Gioia hosts and actress Annette Bening reads an excerpt.

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//audio/LovePainJames.mp3]

[transcript]

To hear the entire Washington Square audio guide, go to The Big Read website.

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