The perils of doing a good deed
The Smoking Car
by William Dean Howells
Saturday, July 25
Mr. Roberts is entrusted with a priceless package
In the Rail Car Series of WD Howells’s plays (such as The Parlor Car, read on May 9),
Lest we forget!
An alternative history of American Civil War monuments
In the spring of 1866, William Dean Howells wondered what monuments to the American Civil War would look like. Howells, who later became the celebrated ‘Dean’ of American literary realism, had served as American Consul in Venice for the war’s duration, and his hopes for commemorative statuary in the triumphant North betray the remove from which he experienced the war’s emotional and physical ferocity. His vision was progressive and productive: instead of mourning the dead, he contended, public monuments to the war should have the power to reform the communities that encountered them.
With the full force of northern victory and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation behind him, he told the readers of the Atlantic Monthly that ‘[t]he idea of our war seems to have interpreted itself to us all as faith in the justice of our cause, and in our immutable destiny, as God’s agents, to give freedom to mankind; and the ideas of our peace are gratitude and exultant industry.’ Commemorating war from a position of peace, he maintained, involved building on the war’s gains rather than dwelling on its devastation and losses; in proving their ‘right to citizenship’ in a Union freshly dedicated to freedom, commemorative architecture and sculpture must prove ‘themselves adequate to express something of the spirit of the new order we have created here’.
Howells’ suggestive invocation of the new ‘rights to citizenship’ granted to emancipated and self-emancipated African Americans drives his point home: to earn their place in the post-war public sphere, monuments to the war must work collectively to bring the ‘new order’ declared by the Emancipation Proclamation into being. [read the rest at the link to Apollo Magazine.]
From the Metropolitan Playhouse, specializing in reviving 19th and early 20th century plays, a WDH play, for your delectation:
Make your Reservation on
THE PARLOR CAR
a farce of isolation in motion, by the “Dean of American Letters”
William Dean Howells
(but no reservation is needed)
Saturday, May 9, 2020
(running time: 45 minutes, with chatter to follow)
Watch the way you wish… Zoom
and, for those who don’t like to watch…
www.MetropolitanPlayhouse.org/virtualplayhouse Virtual Lobby Open starting at 7:55.
Reading at 8:00 pm
(to allow for traffic we start a little late, it’s true)
Miss Galbraith and Mr. Richards, recently separated lovers
One of a series of his “railway car” farces, The Parlor Car is
For current information about the virus and disease, visit the Center for Disease Control website:
Thank you very much. We hope to see you at the theater soon!
220 E 4th Street
New York New York 10009
Updated Message (March 20, 2020)
ALA Conference and Coronavirus:
I deeply regret to inform you that we have had to cancel the ALA conference scheduled for May 21-24, 2020 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. The current situation in California and much of the rest of the country has made it impossible for us to hold this conference. The hotel is suspending normal operations and has agreed to allow us to cancel without penalty.
Please cancel your travel plans and your hotel reservations. [Read the rest at http://americanliteratureassociation.org/ala-conferences/ala-2020-and-covid-19/]
The William Dean Howells Society welcomes proposals for two sessions at the 31st annual conference of the ALA in San Diego, CA from May 21-24, 2020.
HOWELLS OUT WEST
Though born and raised in Ohio, William Dean Howells is often considered the prime shaper and protector of what Nancy Glazener terms the “northeastern urban bourgeoisie” because of his stewardship of the elite east coast literary magazines The Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s. Inspired by our transition from Boston back to the West Coast for ALA 2020, for this panel we seek presentations on Howells’s equally important relationship with the American West, broadly construed.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Howells’s upbringing in the Midwest (or the “Old Northwest”).
- Howells’s personal and professional relationships with Western writers like Mark Twain and Bret Harte.
- The representation of Western characters in his novels (their dialect, their worldviews, etc.).
- Comparisons between Howells’s east coast realism and the naturalism of California writers like Frank Norris and Jack London.
- Readings of Western settings in his novels, such as the divorce sequence in A Modern Instance, or a discussion of Howells’s lesser-known The Leatherwood God, which Edwin Cady figured as “his only true Western novel.”
READING W.D. HOWELLS (1837-1920) A CENTURY LATER
With the 100th anniversary year of William Dean Howells’ death falling a few weeks before this year’s ALA conference, the William Dean Howells Society welcomes submissions on any aspect of Howells’ life, career, influence, and writing, including but not limited to his novels, short stories, plays, poems, travel writing, and literary and cultural criticism. Papers that situate their particular topics within the history and possible futures of the reading and study of Howells are especially welcome.
Please send 250-500 word proposals to email@example.com by *January 30 2020. *Please note if you will require A/V for your presentation.
CALL FOR PAPER PROPOSALS:
READING W.D. HOWELLS (1837-1920) A CENTURY LATER
NEMLA, Boston, MA, March 5-8, 2020
In the 100th anniversary year of William Dean Howells’ death, NEMLA will hold its annual convention in the city that hosted the Ohioan’s rise to literary success and cultural celebrity. From very early in his career, Howells’ literary achievement has been inextricably intertwined, for better and for worse, with his public reputation and cultural influence. Accordingly, this panel welcomes submissions on any aspect of Howells’ life, career, influence, and writing, including but not limited to his novels, short stories, plays, poems, travel writing, and literary and cultural criticism. Papers that situate their particular topics within the history and possible futures of the reading and study of Howells are especially welcome. The panel is offered in cooperation with the W.D. Howells Society.
Submit paper abstracts of no longer than 500 words by September 30 via the NEMLA website, here: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18089. The abstract submission interface opens on June 15. If you do not have a NEMLA account, open one for free here: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/login.
If you intend to use media for your presentation, be sure to include that information in your user account when you submit your abstract. See the information under “Audiovisual Requests and Wireless Internet” for more information about available AV media, here: http://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention/chair.html#title_1622008448.
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified in early October; finalization of panel, with confirmed participants, will be completed by October 15. Presenters’ NEMLA membership/registration must be completed by December 7 for their names and paper titles to be included in the conference program.
I was wondering if someone could answer a question for me; I’m assisting a faculty member at Northern Kentucky University. We are interested in a poem W.D. Howells wrote about Margaret Garner (but the poem may not contain her name). We think it could have been published in either The Ohio State Journal or perhaps the Ashtabula Sentinel, around 1856 (neighborhood). Are you aware of any poem that fits this description? Can you offer any citation information so that we may attempt to find it?
Thank you for your time and assistance,
Northern Kentucky University
The Fall 2018 Howellsian is available here: https://howellssociety.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/howellsian-fall-2018-vol-21-no-11.pdf
William Dean Howells Society – ALA 2019
The William Dean Howells Society will host two panels at the upcoming American Literature Association Conference in Boston, May 23-26, 2019.
1. William Dean Howells and the Affective Turn
In her recent work, Emotional Reinventions: Realist Era Representations Beyond Sympathy, Melanie V. Dawson argues that Howells and other realists introduced a new approach to the analysis and portrayal of affect. This new method, she contends, departed from sentimentalist conventions and anticipated the modernist emphasis on alterity and insular subjectivity. For this panel, we seek presentations on matters of feeling, emotion, or embodiment in the work of William Dean Howells, as well as those that examine his writing from the perspective of affect theory. How did Howells’s treatment of affects diverge from earlier American literature? How have the critical reorientations of the affective turn shed new light on Howells and American literary realism?
2. New Approaches to The Rise of Silas Lapham
In honor of the recent publication of Paul R. Petrie’s new Norton Critical Edition of The Rise of Silas Lapham, we seek presentations that respond to the topics addressed in its selections, including (but not limited to) gender and genre, the politics of realism, and representations of class antagonism in the novel. We are also interested in presentations on teaching the novel, as well as new critical approaches to The Rise of Silas Lapham.
Please send abstracts to Andrew Ball (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 15.
From Paul Petrie:
Dear Dr. Petrie: I am contacting you in your role as editor of the Howellsian.
Two colleagues and I are researching the book covers of a late 19th-century artist, and have reason to believe that a series of William Dean Howells novels, published ca. 1890-1895, in paperback in the Franklin Square Library Series, by Harper & Bros., were done by the same artist. However, these paperback editions are rare and we have only located images of a few of them.
Perhaps you would be so kind as to inquire of the members of the William Dean Howells Society if any of them might own a copy in this series. If so, and if the person would be willing to send a scan of the cover, I would be very grateful to be contacted directly.
Thank you very much for your assistance.
Mary L. Kwas
University of Arkansas System (retired)