The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Washington Square

One of our Big Read selections, Washington Square by Henry James, was famously adapted into a movie entitled The Heiress in 1949. Now, in 2012, a play of the same name has become a hit on Broadway. In this 21st-century take on a 19th-century novel (James wrote it in 1880), the versatile actress...
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...
An old cover to Henry James's Washington Square , courtesy of Wikimedia According to author Cynthia Ozick , " Washington Square is a novel about imposture, about people who pretend to be what they are not." Take a listen, she'll tell you. Her insight is reinforced by two remarkable Oscar winners,...
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...
Washington, DC Stereograph of the north side of Washington Square, New York City, October 1909 from Library of Congress collection In 1948, fresh from her Oscar-nominated role in The Snake Pit , Olivia de Havilland was encouraged to attend a Broadway production of The Heiress , a stage adaptation...
August 20 , 2009 Washington, DC "Washington Square North, nos. 121-125, Manhattan." Abbott, Berenice -- Photographer. 1935-1938, printed 1935-ca. 1990 from The New York Public Library. Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. Most people have heard...
May 15, 2009 Washington, DC Yesterday, the Arts Endowment announced 11 new NEA National Heritage Fellows , the best of the best of the nation?s artists working in the folk and traditional arts. Tradition is at the heart of many of the Big Read titles, from the rigid etiquette of ?Old New York? in...
April 15, 2009 Washington, DC Happy Birthday Henry James! To celebrate here?s fellow Big Read author Cynthia Ozick?s take on Washington Square (from the Reader?s Guide to Washington Square ). " Washington Square is about people who pretend to be what they are not. This is a book about lies, people...
July 23, 2007 Washington, DC While tabulating responses to our survey of teenagers' favorite books, I've been thinking what I'd do if I ever found myself in front of a teenage English class for a semester -- besides panic, that is. This is where my trusty know-it-all megalomania comes in handy...