The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Henry James Was From Outer Space

Portrait of Henry James. Used by permission of Billy Hathorn

Okay, he wasn't really from outer space. But you'll hear where that title comes from when you listen to today's post featuring Irish novelist Colm Toibin; Big Read author, Cynthia Ozick (The Shawl); and larger-than-life critic, Gore Vidal. All three of these writers are featured on the Big Read audio program about the inimitable Henry James and his 1880 work of love and deceit, Washington Square.

If you're interested in visuals as well as audio, Washington Square was adapted into a major motion picture, The Heiress in 1949, earning actress Olivia de Havilland an Oscar for her role as Catherine Sloper. De Havilland is featured prominently on our Big Read program for this very reason. What's more, the story still lives in 2012. The Heiress is currently a hit Broadway play starring the remarkable David Strathairn and Jessica Chastain. [1:26]





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