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Literary Friends and Acquaintance; a Personal Retrospect of American Authorship   By: (1837-1920)

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Literary Friends and Acquaintance; a Personal Retrospect of American Authorship by William Dean Howells is an insightful and captivating book that provides an excellent retrospective of American authorship during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Howells, an esteemed American novelist, editor, and literary critic, takes readers on a journey through his personal experiences with notable writers, poets, and influencers of his time. Through a series of anecdotes and recollections, Howells provides a unique perspective on the literary landscape of his era, offering readers a glimpse into the lives and minds of some of America's most celebrated authors.

One of the standout aspects of this book is Howells' ability to capture the essence of each writer he discusses. From his encounters with Mark Twain and Henry James to his friendship with Emily Dickinson, Howells offers insightful observations and reflections that shed light on the personalities and writing styles of these literary giants. His ability to provide both a detailed analysis and a personal connection to each author is truly commendable.

Moreover, Howells' writing style is engaging and eloquent. His prose flows effortlessly, making it a pleasure to read and allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in his narrative. His descriptions of people, places, and events are vivid and evocative, transporting readers to a different era and creating a sense of intimacy with each literary figure.

Furthermore, the book's structure is well-organized and easy to follow. Howells seamlessly weaves his own personal experiences and reflections with his observations of the literary world. Each chapter focuses on a specific author or group of authors, creating a cohesive narrative that provides a comprehensive overview of American authorship during that period.

One of the slight drawbacks of the book is that it may not be accessible to readers who are not familiar with the authors discussed. While Howells does provide some contextual information, a basic knowledge of American literature from this time period would enhance the reading experience. However, for those with an interest in American literature or a desire to learn more about its prominent figures, this book is a valuable resource.

In conclusion, Literary Friends and Acquaintance; a Personal Retrospect of American Authorship by William Dean Howells is a must-read for any literary enthusiast. Howells' intimate glimpses into the lives of renowned authors, combined with his eloquent prose and insightful reflections, make this book a true gem. It offers a greater appreciation for the literary heritage of America and is sure to inspire readers to delve deeper into the works of these influential writers.

First Page:


by William Dean Howells


Biographical My First Visit to New England First Impressions of Literary New York Roundabout to Boston Literary Boston As I Knew It Oliver Wendell Holmes The White Mr. Longfellow Studies of Lowell Cambridge Neighbors A Belated Guest My Mark Twain



Long before I began the papers which make up this volume, I had meant to write of literary history in New England as I had known it in the lives of its great exemplars during the twenty five years I lived near them. In fact, I had meant to do this from the time I came among them; but I let the days in which I almost constantly saw them go by without record save such as I carried in a memory retentive, indeed, beyond the common, but not so full as I could have wished when I began to invoke it for my work. Still, upon insistent appeal, it responded in sufficient abundance; and, though I now wish I could have remembered more instances, I think my impressions were accurate enough. I am sure of having tried honestly to impart them in the ten years or more when I was desultorily endeavoring to share them with the reader.

The papers were written pretty much in the order they have here, beginning with My First Visit to New England, which dates from the earliest eighteen nineties, if I may trust my recollection of reading it from the manuscript to the editor of Harper's Magazine, where we lay under the willows of Magnolia one pleasant summer morning in the first years of that decade... Continue reading book >>

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