William Dean Howells (March 01, 1837 - May 11, 1920)
Born: 1st March, 1837
Died: 11th May, 1920
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Author
Region: Martins Ferry, Ohio, New York City, New York
Notable works: "The Rise of Silas Lapham", "A Hazard of New Fortunes"

William Dean Howells Facts

Biography

William Dean Howells, (born March 1, 1837, Martins Ferry, Ohio, U.S.--died May 11, 1920, New York City), U.S. novelist and critic, the dean of late 19th-century American letters, the champion of literary realism, and the close friend and adviser of Mark Twain and Henry James.

The son of an itinerant printer and newspaper editor, Howells grew up in various Ohio towns and began work early as a typesetter and later as a reporter. Meanwhile, he taught himself languages, becoming well read in German, Spanish, and English classics, and began contributing poems to The Atlantic Monthly. His campaign biography of Abraham Lincoln (1860) financed a trip to New England, where he met the great men of the literary establishment, James Russell Lowell, editor of The Atlantic Monthly, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hawthorne, and Emerson. On Lincoln's victory he was rewarded with a consulship at Venice (1861-65), which enabled him to marry. On his return to the U.S. he became assistant editor (1866-71), then editor (1871-81), of The Atlantic Monthly, in which he began publishing reviews and articles that interpreted American writers. He was a shrewd judge of his contemporaries. He immediately recognized the worth of Henry James, and he was the first to take Mark Twain seriously as an artist.

Their Wedding Journey (1872) and A Chance Acquaintance (1873) were his first realistic novels of uneventful middle-class life. There followed some international novels, contrasting American and European manners. Howells' best work depicts the American scene as it changed from a simple, egalitarian society where luck and pluck were rewarded to one in which social and economic gulfs were becoming unbridgeable, and the individual's fate was ruled by chance. He wrote A Modern Instance (1882), the story of the disintegration of a marriage, which is considered his strongest novel. His best known work, The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), deals with a self-made businessman's efforts to fit into Boston society. In 1887 he risked both livelihood and reputation with his plea for clemency for the condemned Haymarket anarchists on the grounds that they had been convicted for their political beliefs. In 1888 he left Boston for New York.

His deeply shaken social faith is reflected in the novels of his New York period, such as the strongly pro-labour Annie Kilburn (1888) and A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890), generally considered his finest work, which dramatizes the teeming, competitive life of New York, where a representative group of characters try to establish a magazine.

Howells' critical writings of this period welcomed the young Naturalistic novelists Hamlin Garland, Stephen Crane, and Frank Norris and promoted the European authors Turgenev, Ibsen, Zola, Perez Galdos, Verga, and above all Tolstoy.

Long before his death Howells was out of fashion. Later critics have more fairly evaluated his enormous influence, and readers have rediscovered the style, humour, and honesty of his best works.

Top 21 William Dean Howells quotes

There will presently be no room in the world for things; it will be filled up with the advertisements of things.
Advertisement
Filled
Room
Things
Up
Will
World
The action is best that secures the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
Action
Best
Greatest
Greatest happiness
Greatest number
Happiness
Number
The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested.
He
Interested
Interesting
Man
Secret
The secret of
Universally
Who
How is it the great pieces of good luck fall to us?
Fall
Good
Good luck
Great
How
Luck
Pieces
Us
He who sleeps in continual noise is wakened by silence.
He
Noise
Silence
Sleeps
Who
Primitive societies without religion have never been found.
Been
Found
Never
Primitive
Religion
Societies
Without
Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself.
American
Dear
Heart
Inequality
Itself
Liberty
Wisdom and goodness are twin-born, one heart must hold both sisters, never seen apart.
Apart
Both
Goodness
Heart
Hold
Must
Never
Seen
Sisters
Wisdom
We are creatures of the moment; we live from one little space to another, and only one interest at a time fills these.
Another
Creatures
Fills
Interest
Little
Live
Moment
Only
Space
Time
What the American public wants in the theater is a tragedy with a happy ending.
American
American public
Ending
Happy
Happy ending
Public
Theater
Tragedy
Wants
A man never sees all that his mother has been to him until it's too late to let her know that he sees it.
Been
Has-been
He
Her
Him
His
Know
Late
Man
Mother
Never
Sees
Too
Too late
You'll find as you grow older that you weren't born such a great while ago after all. The time shortens up.
After
Born
Find
Great
Grow
Older
Time
Up
Were
While
You
It is the still, small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom.
Blast
Doom
Small
Small voice
Soul
Still
Voice
If we like a man's dream, we call him a reformer; if we don't like his dream, we call him a crank.
Call
Crank
Dream
Him
His
Like
Man
Reformer
The book which you read from a sense of duty, or because for any reason you must, does not commonly make friends with you.
Any
Because
Book
Commonly
Does
Duty
Friends
Make
Must
Read
Reason
Sense
Which
You
In Europe life is histrionic and dramatized, and in America, except when it is trying to be European, it is direct and sincere.
America
Direct
Europe
European
Except
Life
Sincere
Trying
The conqueror is regarded with awe; the wise man commands our respect; but it is only the benevolent man that wins our affection.
Affection
Awe
Benevolent
Commands
Conqueror
Man
Only
Our
Regarded
Respect
Wins
Wise
Wise man
The mortality of all inanimate things is terrible to me, but that of books most of all.
Books
Inanimate
Me
Mortality
Most
Terrible
Things
Is it worth while to observe that there are no Venetian blinds in Venice?
Blinds
Observe
Venice
While
Worth
Tomorrow I shall be sixty-nine, but I do not seem to care. I did not start the affair, and I have not been consulted about it at any step.
About
Affair
Any
Been
Care
Did
Seem
Shall
Start
Step
Tomorrow
Some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week.
Hour
Longer
Others
People
Some
Some people
Stay
Than
Week

William Dean Howells essays

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Differences Between Realism And Naturalism English Literature Essay
By definition, realism can be regarded as a truthful treatment of materials, which really is a definition given by a popular North american Realist, William Dean Howells. The authors of realism tried to show a truthful representation of truth and their works demonstrated life as it actually was. Rather than telling a story that happened before, Realists tended to give attention to the here and today. Because of the Civil war and the rapid expansion of America, Realists concentrated on the middle class. The middle school was growing rapidly and provided Realists a good chance to create about regular,..
Literary Realism in Editha
Literary Realistic look in EdithaAfter Globe War We, American people and the writers among them had been disillusioned by effects that war had on their society. America needed a materials that would expound what experienced happened and what was going on to their culture. The realistic movement of the late 19th century observed authors accurately depict your life and its concerns. This genuine movement developed because of various changes and transitions in American tradition. In the late 1800's, the United States was experiencing fast growth and change because of a changing economy,..
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