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Literature and Life (Complete)   By: (1837-1920)

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Literature and Life by William Dean Howells is a captivating exploration of the impact of literature on society and the role it plays in shaping our lives. Howells, a prominent American writer and editor, delves deeply into the relationship between art and reality, challenging conventional notions and shedding light on the transformative power of literature.

Through a series of insightful essays, Howells examines various aspects of literature, from its ability to reflect the social and cultural milieu of a specific time and place, to its capacity to promote empathy and understanding among individuals. His nuanced analysis is informed by both his personal experiences as a writer and his astute observations of the literary scene in the late 19th century.

One of the highlights of the book is Howells' exploration of realism in literature. He champions the movement, arguing that literature should mirror life in its everydayness, focusing on ordinary people and their struggles. In doing so, he asserts that literature has the potential to bridge the gap between different social classes and foster a sense of unity.

Furthermore, Howells examines the relationship between the artist and society, and the responsibility that writers hold in shaping public opinion. He emphasizes the importance of writers presenting an honest portrayal of the world, rather than succumbing to romanticized or sensationalized narratives. This critique of the literary establishment is particularly relevant today, as it invites readers to question the authenticity and purpose of contemporary literature.

Moreover, while Literature and Life was first published over a century ago, many of Howells' ideas remain remarkably relevant. His discussions on the role of literature in sparking social change and promoting empathy are especially timely in an era marked by increased polarization and a growing need for understanding.

The only downside to this book is its somewhat dense and scholarly nature, which might be challenging for readers seeking a more accessible analysis of literature's impact. However, for those willing to invest the time and effort, Literature and Life offers a profound examination of the intersection between art and society, leaving readers with a deeper appreciation for the power of literature to shape our lives.

In conclusion, Literature and Life is a thought-provoking collection of essays that explores the significance of literature in shaping society and illuminating the human experience. Howells' keen insights and eloquent prose make this book essential reading for anyone interested in the relationship between literature and life.

First Page:


by William Dean Howells


Man of Letters in Business Confessions of a Summer Colonist The Young Contributor Last Days in a Dutch Hotel Anomalies of the Short Story Spanish Prisoners of War American Literary Centers Standard Household Effect Co. Notes of a Vanished Summer

Short Stories and Essays: Worries of a Winter Walk Summer Isles of Eden Wild Flowers of the Asphalt A Circus in the Suburbs A She Hamlet The Midnight Platoon The Beach at Rockaway Sawdust in the Arena At a Dime Museum American Literature in Exile The Horse Show The Problem of the Summer Aesthetic New York Fifty odd Years Ago From New York into New England The Art of the Adsmith The Psychology of Plagiarism Puritanism in American Fiction The What and How in Art Politics in American Authors Storage "Floating down the River on the O hi o"

Literary Passions Criticism and Fiction


Perhaps the reader may not feel in these papers that inner solidarity which the writer is conscious of; and it is in this doubt that the writer wishes to offer a word of explanation... Continue reading book >>

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