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By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

My Mark Twain by William Dean Howells My Mark Twain

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) became fast friends with Mark Twain from the moment in 1869 when Twain strode into the office of The Atlantic Monthly in Boston to thank Howells, then its assistant editor, for his favorable review of Innocents Abroad. When Howells became editor a few years later, The Atlantic Monthly began serializing many of Twain’s works, among them his non-fiction masterpiece, Life on the Mississippi. In My Mark Twain, Howells pens a literary memoir that includes such fascinating scenes as their meetings with former president Ulysses Grant who was then writing the classic autobiography that Twain would underwrite in the largest publishing deal until that time...

Five O'Clock Tea by William Dean Howells Five O'Clock Tea

A light-hearted romantic comedy in twelve short scenes, set during a tea party in the home of Mrs. Amy Somers, a widow who is courted by the ingenuous and delightful Mr. Willis Campbell.

Indian Summer by William Dean Howells Indian Summer

In his novel Indian Summer, William Dean Howells presents a mellow but realistic story that has the complete feel of that delightful time of the year, although the plot actually spans several seasons. The Indian summer aspect applies to a sophisticated gentleman, Theodore Colville, who has just entered his middle years as he returns to a scene, Florence, Italy, that played an important part in his early manhood. It was here twenty years earlier that he first fell in love, seemingly successfully until a sudden and harsh rejection...

Book cover The Rise of Silas Lapham

The Rise of Silas Lapham is the most widely read of W.D. Howells’ novels. An example of literary realism, the story is about a farmer (Silas Lapham) who launches a very successful paint business, and moves his family up the social ladder of Boston. Lapham, however, is not one of the new types of American businessman, the ruthless plutocrat, rather he is the old-fashioned trustworthy Yankee trader, and the story deals with how he fares in the industrial capitalist environment. It is also a novel of manners, telling the story of the courtship of a daughter, and the difficulties the family deals with in attempting to move from one social class to another.

A Little Swiss Sojurn by William Dean Howells A Little Swiss Sojurn

A charming brief account of a two months' autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

Book cover Christmas Every Day and Other Stories Told for Children

Five short delightful stories for children, told in the voice of "the papa" to "the girl" and "the boy." William Dean Howells (March 1, 1837 – May 11, 1920) was an American realist author and literary critic. Nicknamed "The Dean of American Letters", he was particularly known for his tenure as editor of the Atlantic Monthly as well as his own prolific writings, including the Christmas story "Christmas Every Day" and the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham. (Reader’s Note for story 3: A pony engine is a small locomotive for switching cars from one track to another.)

Book cover Annie Kilburn

After 11 years in Rome, Annie Kilburn returns home to the US after the death of her father. But the home she knew is dramatically changed in many ways. She starts to work with sick children, and finds herself attached to them, and to the minister who helps her, Mr. Peck.

Book cover Short Stories and Essays (from Literature and Life)
Book cover William Dean Howells Works
Book cover Stories Of Ohio
Book cover Hazard of New Fortunes

Howell’s novel is set in New York of the late nineteenth century, a city familiar to readers of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Basil March, a businessman from Boston of a literary bent, moves with his family to New York to edit a new journal founded by an acquaintance. Its financial support, however, comes from a Mr. Dryfoos, a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer suddenly become millionaire by the discovery of natural gas on his property, and now living in New York with his family in a style he hopes will befit his new wealth...

Book cover Literature and Life (Complete)
Book cover A Modern Instance
Book cover Shapes that Haunt the Dusk
Book cover My Literary Passions
Book cover Roman Holidays, and Others
Book cover Emile Zola
Book cover Criticism and Fiction
Book cover Quaint Courtships
Book cover William Dean Howells Literature Essays
Book cover Familiar Spanish Travels
Book cover The Man of Letters as a Man of Business
Book cover Literary Friends and Acquaintance; a Personal Retrospect of American Authorship
Book cover The Landlord at Lion's Head
Book cover A Traveler from Altruria: Romance
Book cover Quotes and Images From The Works of William Dean Howells
Book cover Ragged Lady
Book cover Buying a Horse
Book cover Dr. Breen's Practice
Book cover Between the Dark and the Daylight
Book cover The Daughter of the Storage And Other Things in Prose and Verse
Book cover Seven English Cities
Book cover The Quality of Mercy
Book cover A Fearful Responsibility and Other Stories
Book cover Modern Italian Poets Essays and Versions
Book cover The Elevator
Book cover A Foregone Conclusion
Book cover Henry James, Jr.
Book cover The Lady of the Aroostook
Book cover Their Silver Wedding Journey
Book cover The Sleeping-Car, a farce
Book cover Southern Lights and Shadows
Book cover American Literary Centers (from Literature and Life)
Book cover Spanish Prisoners of War (from Literature and Life)
Book cover A Belated Guest (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover April Hopes
Book cover A Chance Acquaintance
Book cover Venetian Life
Book cover The Albany Depot : a Farce
Book cover Coast of Bohemia

William Dean Howells is at his iconoclastic best in this exploration of bourgeois values, particularly in the clash between respectable society and the dubious bohemian world of Art and Poetry. Cornelia Saunders has everything going for her in her middle-class world: comfort, good looks, attentive young men. She seems willing to risk it all for the sake of what might be an artistic Gift, venturing with great trepidation to put her foot over the line into Bohemia to see if it might be the thing for her. Skewering the conventions of sentimental literature as usual, Howells keeps the reader guessing to the end as to the fate of Cornelia and her Gift.

Book cover Boy Life Stories and Readings Selected From The Works of William Dean Howells
Book cover Five O'Clock Tea Farce
Book cover My First Visit to New England (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover Evening Dress Farce
Book cover A Psychological Counter-Current in Recent Fiction
Book cover A Boy's Town
Book cover Bride Roses
Book cover The Garotters
Book cover A Pair of Patient Lovers
Book cover The Minister's Charge
Book cover The Story of a Play A Novel
Book cover Some Anomalies of the Short Story (from Literature and Life)
Book cover The Flight of Pony Baker A Boy's Town Story
Book cover Poems
Book cover Studies of Lowell (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover Roundabout to Boston (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover Imaginary Interviews
Book cover London Films
Book cover Complete March Family Trilogy
Book cover The Man of Letters as a Man of Business
Book cover Cambridge Neighbors (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover The Register
Book cover Italian Journeys
Book cover Suburban Sketches
Book cover An Open-Eyed Conspiracy; an Idyl of Saratoga
Book cover Their Wedding Journey
Book cover The Parlor Car
Book cover Through the Eye of the Needle A Romance
Book cover A Likely Story
Book cover Fennel and Rue
Book cover Standard Household-Effect Company, the (from Literature and Life)
Book cover Literary Boston as I Knew It (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover The Kentons
Book cover Editor's Relations with the Young Contributor (from Literature and Life)
Book cover Oliver Wendell Holmes (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover Staccato Notes of a Vanished Summer (from Literature and Life)
Book cover The Leatherwood God
Book cover Questionable Shapes
Book cover Confessions of a Summer Colonist (from Literature and Life)
Book cover White Mr. Longfellow, the (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)
Book cover Last Days in a Dutch Hotel (from Literature and Life)
Book cover Indian Summer (version 2)

Set in Florence's Anglo-American colony in the late 19th century, this is a romantic story of a middle-aged man, returning to the scene of his first but disappointed love twenty years earlier. The doings of Americans abroad were staples of the fictions of Henry James and Edith Wharton, but Howells’s view is rather different. As John Updike has said of it, “the felicity of the writing makes us pause in admiration….A midlife crisis has rarely been sketched in fiction with better humor, with gentler comedy and more gracious acceptance of life’s irrevocability.” ( Nicholas Clifford)


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