Editor’s Study

Howells’s “Editor’s Study” Columns from Harper’s

Image files from Cornell’s Making of America Site

Because of a change in the link addresses, this links on this page now refer to the “Editor’s Study” column for each month rather than to individual pieces.  Since these are image files, they will take a little longer to load than text or HTML files.  The columns are also available in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat), which is best for printing, and uncorrected text formats. The titles and page numbers given below are those listed in the index for each volume of Harper’s. 

For a complete print version of the “Editor’s Study” columns, see James W. Simpson’s Editor’s Study by William Dean Howells (Troy, N. Y.: Whitston Press, 1983.)
To see what became of the “Editor’s Study” after Howells left it, read the columns by Charles Dudley Warner.

The volume numbers appear in parentheses.

1886  1887  1888 1889 1890 1891 1892
January (72) January January January January January January
February February February February February February February
March  March  March March March March March
April  April April April April April
May  May May May May May
June (73) June (75) June  (77) June (79) June (81) June (83)
July  July July July July July
August  August August August August August
September September September September September September
October October October October October October
November November November November November November
December (74) December (76) December (78) December (80) December (82) December (84)

Volume 72

January 1886

January 1886:
“An Invitation to the Reader,” p. 321
“Some Recent Fiction,” p. 321-323 (Across the Chasm, Mary Murfree’s Prophet of Snowy Mountain, Weir Mitchell’s In War Time, Picard’s A Mission Flower and A Matter of Taste, Belle C. Greene’s A New England Conscience, Edgar Fawcett’sSocial Silhouettes)
“Literary Centres,” p. 324
“A Word about Americanisms,” p. 324 (Lowell and American slang in literature)
“Some Recent Illustrated Books” p. 325-326 ( Holmes’ poem “The Leaf,” Whittier’s Poems of Nature, Jean Ingelow’s Favorite Poems, George Boughton’s Sketching Rambles in Holland, Howells’s Tuscan Cities, Hamerton’s Old and Present Times, D’Amici’s Spain and the Spaniards, Howard Pyle’s Pepper and Salt)

February 1886:
“A Fairytale of Biography,” p. 481 (Life and Correspondence of Louis Agassiz, Agassiz’s accomplishments)
“Souvenirs of a Diplomat,” p. 482 (M. de Bacourt, experiences in America)
“Americanisms in Some Recent English Novels,” p. 484 (Robert Buchanan, Black’s White Heather, Grant Allen’s Babylon)
“Two Remarkable Examples of Sincerity in Fiction,” p. 485 (William Hale White’s Autobiography of Mark Rutherford, and Mark Rutherford’s Deliverance)
“Balzac’s Realism,” p. 486 (Balzac’s Le Pere GoriotCesar Birotteau, and Eugenie Grandet)
“Our Critics,” p. 486 (Critique of critics)

February 1886

March 1886

April 1886

May 1886

June 1886

Volume 73

(annotations by Ashley Miller and Regan Lane; includes books mentioned but not reviewed)
List of books referred to in Volume 73.

July 1886

  • (314)Mrs. Peixada (By Mr. Sidney Luska)
  • (314)Theatrical Conditions (Regarding Luska’s Mrs. Peixada)
  • (315)Our Comic Dramatist (Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Hoyt’s Rag Baby, Mr. Edward Harringtom’s “Dan’s Tribulations,” “Leather Patch”)
  • (317)Mr. Howard’s Play (Bronson Howard’s, “One of our Girls”)
  • (317)The larger Stage (Wolcott Balestier, “A Victorious Defeat”)
  • (318)Mr. Posnett’s Comparative Literature (Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett, T.S. Perry, “English Literature in the Eighteenth Century,” and “From Opitz to Lessing”)

August 1886

  • (475)I. A consoling Reflection for the neglected Author
  • (476)II. Some notable Books without Literary Consciousness: “General Grant’s Memoirs”; Lieutenant Greely’s “Three Years of Arctic Service” (Volume 2, Pilgrim’s Progress, De Foe)
  • (477)III. Miss Woolson’s new Novel (East Angels)
  • (478)III.“Constance of Acadia” (Author Unknown)
  • (478)IV. Two recent Historical Books - Boyesen’s “Story of Norway,” and Royce’s “History of California” (found in Mr. Scudders “American Commonwealth Series”)

September 1886

  • (639)I. Dostoievsky’s latest Novel (“Le Crime et le Châtiment”)(Tourgéneff and Tolsoï, Dostoïevsky’s Le Crime et le ChâtimentLes Humiliés et Offensés)
  • (641)II. The Story of Dostoievsky’s Life in the “Revue des Deux Mondes” (M. Eugene Melchoir de Vogue)(Revue des Deux Mondes, Poor People, The Crime and the Punishment, The Humiliated and the Wronged, The Bedeviled)
  • (641)III. Why American Fiction should be cheerful (The Smiling Aspects of Life, Hawthorne)
  • (642)IV. Vernon Lee’s “Baldwin”
  • (642)V. The Memoir of Mrs. Edward Livingston (by her great-niece, Mrs. Louise Livingston Hunt, Prue and I)
  • (643)VI. General Badeau’s “Aristocracy in England”

    October 1886
  • (801)I. The Bible of All Lovers, (Compiled by Professor Marco Antonio Canini)(Compiled by Canini, Il Libro dell’ Amore, Dizionario Etimologico di Vocaboli Italiani, Dizionario Etimologico di Vocaboli Italian, Amore e Dolore, Vingt Ans d’Exil, Solomon, King of Jerusalem, Soliman II the Magnificent, Sultan of the Turks and The Grand Mogul Shah Alam II, Paur’ Zizi, Bjornson, Tegnér, Oehlenschläger, Burns, Moore, Shelley, Byron, Tennyson, Browning, Barrett-Browning, G. Dante Rossetti, Swinburne, Hugo, Whitman, Longfellow, Lowell)
  • (803)II. Representative Poems of Living Poets (Jeannette L. Gilder) (by Miss L. Gilder, introduction by Mr. G.P. Lathrop, Tennyson, Aldrich’s “Identity,” “Sleep,” Mrs. Akers Allen’s “Among the Laurels,” Mr. Bunner’s “The Way to Arcady,” Mr. Cranch’s “Bobolinks,” Mr. Dobson’s “A Dead Letter, “Ballad of Prose and Rhyme,” Dr. Holmes’ “The Chambered Nautilus,” “The Last Leaf,” “Old Ironsides,” “The Voiceless,” “Mr. Lowell’s “Commemoration Ode,” “A Parable,” “The Present Crisis,” “What is so rare as a day in June?” “The Courtin’,” Mr. Lathrop’s “The Singing Wire,” Mrs. Piatt, Mr. Stoddard’s ode to “Abraham Lincoln,” “The Flight of Youth,” Mr. Maurice Thomson’s “Atlanta,” “A Prelude,” “Wild Honey,” Mr. Trowbridge’s “The Vagabonds,” Mr. Whittier’s “My Playmate”)
  • (804)The Decadence of Poetry (G.P. Lathrop)(Mr. Lathrop, Mademoiselle Bentzon, review of Mr. Stedman’s American Poets in Revue de Deux Mondes, Whitman)
  • (804-5) III. (Introductory essay on poetry by G.P. Lathrop)
  • (805)IV. A Terrible Criticism (G.P. Lathrop on Shakespeare)(Mr. Lathrop, Stedman, Posnett, Perry, Shakespeare)

November 1886

  • (962)I. Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge,”(“Far from the Madding Crowd,” “Under the Greenwood Tree,” “A Pair of Blue Eyes”)
  • (962)II. Some recent Spanish Fiction: Valera’s “Pepita Ximenez” and “Dona Luz”III. Valdo’s :Marta y Maria” and “Jose,”(Valera’s Poetry and the Art of the Arabs in Spain and Sicily, Don Armando Palacio Valdés’ “Riverita”) (964)Verga’s “I Malavoglia”
  • (964)“Misfits and Remnants” (L.D. Ventura and S. Shovitch)(M. Ernest Dupuy, “Les Grands Maitres dela Litterature Russe,” M. Eugene-Melchior de Vogue, “La Roman Russe” (Messieurs LD Ventura and S. Shovich, Dupuy, Les Grands Maîtres de la Littérature Russe and La Roman Russe, by M. Eugène-Melchoir de Vogüé, Gogol, Tourguénief, Tolstoï, Dostoïevsky)
  • (965)IV. Two notable Biographies: Life of Judge Richard Reid; V. Autobiography of Cassius M. Clay,
    (by Wife Elizabeth Jamseon Reid)

Volume 74

December 1886

January 1887

February 1887

March 1887

April 1887

May 1887

Volume 75

June 1887

July 1887

August 1887

September 1887

October 1887

November 1887

Volume 76

December 1887

January 1888

February 1888

March 1888

April 1888

May 1888

Volume 77

June 1888

July 1888

August 1888

September 1888

October 1888

November 1888

Volume 78

December 1888

January 1889

February 1889

March 1889

April 1889

May 1889

Volume 79

June 1889

July 1889

August 1889

September 1889

October 1889

November 1889

Volume 80

December 1889

  • “Thanksgiving and Christmas” p. 155

January 1890

  • “Comity in International Criticism,” p. 318
  • “Mark Twain’s New Wonder Book,” p. 319 (on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court)
  • “Mr. Morse’s Franklin and Franklin’s Humor,” p. 321
  • “An American School Reader,” p. 322.
  • “A Curious Fact Concerning All the Arts,” p. 322

February 1890

  • “Smaller, if not fewer, Books,” p. 480 (Boswell’s Life of Johnson)
  • “Some Excellent English Essays,” p. 481 (E. Hughes’s Some Aspects of Humanity)
  • “The Odd Number,” p. 482
  • “A Very Powerful Novel,” p. 482 (G. P. Lathrop’s Would You Kill Him?)
  • “A Very Suggestive Novel,” p. 483 (Charles Dudley Warner’s A Little Journey in the World)
  • “A New Sort of Political Economist,” p. 484 (Richard T. Ely’s Social Aspects of Christianity)
  • “A Pleasant Study of Literature,” p. 485

March 1890

  • “A Diplomat Comes to Judgment of the Literary Life,” p. 642 (E. J. Phelps’s The Age of Words)
  • “His Charge to the Jury,” p. 643
  • “Some Modest Question of the Righteousness of his Sentence,” p. 644
  • “Why the Prisoner at the Bar thinks it ought not to have been pushed upon him,” p. 645
  • “The Prisoner’s Self-defense, Justification, and Glorification,” p. 646
  • “Some Contumely for Dead Dignities,” p. 647
  • “The Conclusion of the Whole Matter,” p. 647

April 1890

  • “A New Interpretation,” p. 805 (Anonymous God in His World)
  • “Tennyson’s Latest Word,” p. 806 (Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Demeter and Persephone”)
  • “Browning’s Last,” p. 807 (Robert Browning’s “Asolando”)
  • “A Humorist from Kansas,” p. 807 (Poetry by one named “Ironquill”)
  • “A Poet from New Zealand,” p. 809 (J. Glenny Wilson’s Themes and Variations)
  • “In the Garden of Dreams,” p. 809
  • “Between whiles,” p. 809
  • “Wyndham Towers,” p. 809 (Mr. Aldrich’s “Wyndham Towers”)

May 1890

  • “Among Australian Cannibals,” p. 966 (Carl Lumholtz’s Autobiography)
  • “The Anglo-Saxon Strain of Homicide in Mississippi,” p. 967 (Reuben Davis’s Recollections of Mississippi and Mississippians)
  • “A Gilbert and Sullivan Plot in American History,” p. 968 (Henry Adams’s first volume of the history of the United States)
  • “Bigelow’s Life of Bryant,” p. 969 (John Bigelow’s contribution to Warner’s “American Men of Letters” series)

June 1890

  • “The Dramatic Critics and the Dramatists,” p. 152
  • “The Tripartite Distrust,” p. 153
  • “Mr. Herne’s Play, Drifting Apart,” p. 154 (James A. Herne’s Drifting Apart)
  • “Mr. Howard’s Shenandoah,” p. 155 (Mr. Howard’s Shenandoah)
  • “The Senator,” p. 155 (Lloyd and Rosenfeld’s The Senator)
  • “A Made-up Play — A Play that makes American Plays seem like Playthings,” p. 156

Volume 81

July 1890

  • “A Field-Day with Correspondents,” p. 314
  • “Humble-Pie for the Study,” p. 314
  • “Humbler Pie,” p. 315
  • “Not quite so humble, but still humble enough,” p. 315
  • “The Reward of Virtue,” p. 316
  • “Mr. Lowell on Idealism,” p. 317

August 1890

  • “Canon Farrar’s Excellent Paper on Criticism,” p. 476 (Canon Farrar’s article in the May, 1890 Fortune)
  • “The Effect of Bad Criticism Not so Mischievous as its Intent,” p. 476
  • “Why Criticism Cannot Legislate for Literature,” p. 477
  • “The Abuse of Anonymity in all Branches of Journalism,” p 478
  • “Its Temptations,” p. 478
  • “Its Disastrous Consequences,” p. 479
  • “The Ideal Critic,” p. 479
  • “Why the Anonymous Critic Should Cease to Be,” p. 480

September 1890

  • “Mr. John Hay’s Volume of Poetry,” p. 638 (Poems by John Hay)
  • “The Tragic Muse of Mr. Henry James,” p. 639
  • “The Life of Carmen Sylva,” p. 641
  • “The Autobiography of a Japanese Boy,” p. 641
  • “Balzac’s Sons of the Soil,” p. 642 (Honore de Balzac’s Sons of the Soil)
  • “Mr. Lafcadio Hearn’s Youma” p. 642
  • “Mr. George Pellew’s Life of Jay,” p. 642 (George Pellew’s Life of John Jay from the “American Men of Letters” Series)

October 1890

  • “Mr. Harold Frederic’s Novels,” p. 800 (Harold Frederic’s In the Valley, Seth’s Brother’s Wife, and The Lawton Girl)
  • “Mr. Kipling’s Work, en passant,” p. 800
  • “The American Version of an Italian Masterpiece,” p. 801
  • “Tolstoi’s Mistake,” p. 802
  • “Mr. Henley’s Criticism,” p. 803
  • “Miss White’s Miss Brooks,” p. 804

November 1890

  • “Mr. Isaac Taylor’s Origin of the Aryans,” p. 962 (Isaac Taylor’s Origin of the Aryans)
  • “An American’s Anticipation of his Theory,” p. 963
  • “Woman’s Place in a Prehistoric Society,” p. 964
  • “Reasons for Rejecting the Old Philological Theory of the Aryan Invasions,” p. 964
  • “Concluding Reflections,” p. 966

Volume 82

December 1890

  • “A Christmas Dream,” p. 152
  • “The Ideal Commonwealth here at last:  Festive Processions,” p. 152
  • “Dramatic Critics and Playwrights, Literary Critics and Creative Authors,” p. 153
  • “The Last of the Romanticists and the Anonymous Critic,” p. 153
  • “Foreign Authors and Perpetual Copyright,” p. 156

January 1891

  • “Following the Guidon,” p. 316  (Elizabeth B. Custer’s Following the Guidon)
  • “Campaigning with Crook,” p. 316 (Elizabeth B. Custer’s Campaigning with Crook)
  • “The Spirit of the Army as in these and in Mr. Kipling’s Books,” p. 318 (Rudyard Kipling’s Departmental Ditties and Other Verses)
  • “The Strange Poems of Emily Dickinson,” p. 318 (Poetry by Dickinson edited by Mabel Loomis Todd)
  • “The Difficulty of Keeping Enemies,” p. 320  (James McNeill Whistler’s The Gentle Art of Making Enemies)

February 1891

  • “The Latest if not the Last Word about Lincoln,” p. 478 (Nicolay and Hay’s biography of Abraham Lincoln)
  • “His National Proportions,” p. 480
  • “The Good Literature of Lincoln and his Contemporaries,” p. 481
  • “Messrs. Nicolay and Hay’s Method in History,” p. 481
  • “Two Notable Novels,” p. 482 (Bjornstjerne Bjornson’s In God’s Ways and Valdes’s Espuma)

March 1891

  • “In the Footprints of Charles Lamb,” p. 640 (B.E. Martin’s In the Footprints of Charles Lamb)
  • “Walter Scott’s Journal,” p. 640 (Walter Scott’s Journal edited by David Douglas)
  • “Society as I have Found it,” p. 642 (Ward McAllister’s Society as I have Found It)
  • “Joseph Jefferson’s Autobiography,” p. 642 (Joseph Jefferson’s Autobiography)
  • “Curiosities of the American Stage,” p. 643 (Laurence Hutton’s Curiosities of the American Stage)
  • “A Sketch of Chester Harding,” p. 644 (Chester Harding’s Autobiography A Sketch of Chester Harding, Artist, drawn by his own Hand)
  • “London Letters,” p. 644 (G.W. Smalley’s London Letters)

April 1891

  • “An American History of Greek Letters,” p. 802 (T.S. Perry’s History of Greek Literature)
  • “Scope and Influence of that Literature,” p. 802
  • “Modern Heirs of Alexandria rather than Athens,” p. 803
  • “The American Proficiency in one of the Fine Arts,” p. 804 (Comparing Sarah Orne Jewett’s Strangers and Wayfarers and Maupassant’s Tales by Francois Coppee)
  • “A Spanish Woman’s Mood,” p. 805 (Emilia Pardo Bazan Morrina)
  • “The Realistic View of Menials,” p. 806

May 1891

  • “The Possibility of an Exhibition of Poetry,” p. 964
  • “Lyrics for a Lute,” p. 964 (Frank Dempster Sherman’s Lyrics for a Lute)
  • “The Inverted Torch,” p. 965 (Edith M. Thomas’s The Inverted Torch)
  • “Vagabond Verses,” p. 965 (Henry Austin’s Vagabond Verses)
  • “Rhymes of Childhood,” p. 965 (James Whitcomb Riley’s Rhymes of Childhood)
  • “A Little Book of Western Verse,” p. 966 (Eugene Field)
  • “The Sister’s Tragedy,” p. 966 (Aldrich’s The Sister’s Tragedy and Other Poems)
  • “Rose Brake,” p. 967 (Dankse Dandridge Rose Brake)
  • “The Grave of Wordsworth and other Poems,” p. 967 (William Watson’s Wordsworth’s Grave and Other Poems)

Volume 83

June 1891

July 1891

August 1891

September 1891

October 1891

November 1891

Volume 84

December 1891

  • “Another Christmas Dream of Altruria,” p. 153
  • “Interview with the Christmas Boy,” p. 153
  • “Strange State of Things in Altruria concerning literary Property,” p. 154
  • “Tenure of Literary Property made the Norm throughout Altruria,” p. 155
  • “Popularity of this Solution,” p. 156

January 1892

  • “A Handful of Poets,” p. 315 (Orrin Cedesman, Meredith Nelson, William Wilfred Campbell, Denton J. Snider, and J.P. Irving)
  • “Is the Poetic Centre shifting?” p. 317
  • “Possible Effects of Western Competition in Verse,” p. 318 (Poetry by Madison Cawein, Gertrude Hall, Lilla Cabot Perry, and William Sharp)
  • “Unity of all Times and Places in Poetry,” p. 319
  • “A Temptation to Prophesy resisted,” p. 320

February 1892

  • “The Philadelphia Flavor in Fiction,” p. 478 (Thomas A. Janvier’s The Uncle of an Angel, and other Stories)
  • “The Work of a new Talent,” p. 478 (George A. Hibbard’s Iduna, and other Stories)
  • “The New Work of an Established Fame,” p. 479 (Rose Terry Cooke’s Huckleberries)
  • “An Indispensable Novelty,” p. 479  (W.M. Griswold’s Descriptive Lists of Novels)
  • “Some Steps toward a Sane Spelling,” p. 480 (Complimenting Mr. Griswold on his exceptional spelling)
  • “An Attempt at Reparation,” p. 480 (Thomas L. Harris’s Life of Laurence Oliphant)
  • “The Value of Dreams,” p. 481 (Du Maurier’s Peter Ibbetson)
  • “The Latest Version of the Divine Comedy,” p. 481 (Dr. Charles Eliot Norton’s prose version of the Divine Comedy)

March 1892

  • “Magazine Unity and Departmental Variety,” p. 640 (Farewell writings by Howells)
  • “An Attempt to Impart the Open Secret of the Easy Chair’s Influence,” p. 641
  • “The Study’s Failure to Profit by a Good Example,” p. 642
  • “The Future of the Study,” p. 643

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