Originally serialised in the Cornhill Magazine during 1880 and published in book form later that year, Washington Square is short novel relating the damaging relationship between the domineering Austen Sloper and his sweet but essentially dull daughter Catherine. When she meets and is courted by Morris Townsend, Austen Sloper disapproves, considering the suitor to have designs on the family inheritance. Although ultimately, this is shown to be true, the father's refusal to grant approval to a marriage that the daughter desires creates distance between them. In the context of James' full portfolio, Washington Square is a light work, however it presages the familiar Jamesian pattern of character development over plot. In ordinary circumstances, the level of plot movement might be dealt with in a few chapters, but James' preference is for the characters to enable a plot rather than be changed by it.