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William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was an American realist author. Born in Ohio, he was rewarded for his biography of Abraham Lincoln, used during the election of 1860, with a consulship in Venice. Upon returning to the U.S., he wrote for various magazines, including Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Magazine[?]. He wrote his first novel, The Wedding Journey, in 1872, but his career took off with his first realist novel, A Modern Instance.

Howells also wrote plays, criticism, and essays about conteporary literary figures such as Henrik Ibsen and Leo Tolstoy, which helped to establish their reputation in the United States. Nevertheless, Howells's own reputation in American literature has waned somewhat, with his novels being considered "prudish." According to him, the vast majority of people who would read his works were women and he wrote in a way that would not offend them.

In 1928, eight years after Howell's death, his daughter published his correspondence as a biography of his literary years.

Books by William Dean Howells

  • Their Wedding Journey (1872)
  • The Lady of the Aroostook (1879)
  • A Modern Instance (1882)
  • The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885)
  • Indian Summer (1886)
  • A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890)
  • A Boy’s Town (1890), autobiographical
  • The Quality of Mercy (1892)
  • An Imperative Duty (1893)
  • A Traveler from Altruria (1894)
  • Through the Eye of the Needle (1907)
  • My Year in a Log Cabin (1893),
  • Impressions and Experiences (1896), autobiographical
  • Literary Friends and Acquaintances (1900)
  • My Mark Twain (1910)
  • Years of My Youth (1916), autobiographical



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