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Coast of Bohemia

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By: (1837-1920)

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.

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THE COAST OF BOHEMIA

By W. D. Howells

Biographical Edition

NEW YORK AND LONDON HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS 1899

Copyright, 1893, 1899, by WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS.

All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTORY SKETCH.

In one of the old fashioned books for children there was a story of the adventures of a cent (or perhaps that coin of older lineage, a penny) told by itself, which came into my mind when the publishers suggested that the readers of a new edition of this book might like to know how it happened to be written. I promptly fancied the book speaking, and taking upon itself the burden of autobiography, which we none of us find very heavy; and no sooner had I done so than I began actually to hear from it in a narrative of much greater distinctness than I could have supplied for it.

"You must surely remember," it protested to my forgetfulness, "that you first thought of me in anything like definite shape as you stood looking on at the trotting races of a county fair in Northern Ohio, and that I began to gather color and character while you loitered through the art building, and dwelt with pitying interest upon the forlorn, unpromising exhibits there... Continue reading book >>


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