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My First Visit to New England (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)   By: (1837-1920)

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In My First Visit to New England, William Dean Howells takes readers on a captivating journey through the rich landscapes and diverse communities of this historic region. Through his vivid descriptions and insightful observations, Howells not only introduces readers to the physical beauty of New England but also provides an intimate glimpse into its unique culture and people.

Through his narrative, the author becomes a companion for the readers, sharing his personal experiences and encounters during his first visit to this enchanting part of the United States. Howells' writing style is masterful, effortlessly combining elements of memoir, travelogue, and sociological study. This allows him to present a multifaceted portrait of New England, showcasing not only its natural splendor but also its people's values, traditions, and way of life.

What truly sets this book apart is Howells' ability to capture the spirit of New England. With each page, readers feel their curiosity and anticipation building as they explore picturesque landscapes, bustling cities, and quaint towns. Whether it is the majestic mountains of Vermont, the idyllic shores of Maine, or the intellectual hub of Boston, Howells' prose brings every setting to life and immerses readers in the essence of these places.

Beyond its scenic beauty, this book also delves into the history and social fabric of New England. Howells provides a nuanced understanding of the region's unique character, shaped by its colonial past, Puritan roots, and vibrant intellectual tradition. He doesn't shy away from addressing the contradictions and complexities of New England society, painting a balanced picture of its triumphs and shortcomings.

Moreover, throughout his narrative, Howells introduces readers to a diverse array of individuals he encounters during his visit. Whether it is the passionate fishermen of Gloucester or the contemplative scholars of Cambridge, each person represents a piece of the larger New England mosaic. Howells' keen observations and empathetic storytelling allow readers to forge a connection with these characters, gaining a deeper understanding of their lives and the communities they inhabit.

Although originally published in the late 19th century, My First Visit to New England remains an important literary work for anyone seeking to explore and understand the essence of this captivating region. Howells' ability to vividly capture the beauty, culture, and people of New England makes this book an engaging and enlightening read. Whether one is planning a trip to the area or simply looking for an immersive reading experience, My First Visit to New England is sure to leave a lasting impression.

First Page:


by William Dean Howells


Biographical My First Visit to New England First Impressions of Literary New York


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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