Category Archives: Howells in the News

Howells in the News: Richard White on Howells at the OUP Blog

Abraham Lincoln, the politician whose memory and legacy dominated the Gilded Age, died as this book begins, but he never really vanished. The novelist and critic William Dean Howells captured part of the reason when he reviewed John Hay’s and John Nicolay’s monumental biography of the president in 1890. Howells wrote that “if America means anything at all, it means the sufficiency of the common, the insufficiency of the uncommon.” Lincoln had come to be both the personification of the American common people and the nation’s greatest—and most uncommon—president. Howells thought it was the nation’s common people and common traits that most mattered.

Howells, famous then and largely forgotten since, knew most everyone, but he always remained detached. He watched, and he wrote. His interventions in politics remained minor. Howells was a Midwesterner, and this was the great age of the Midwest. Originally a committed liberal, he came to acknowledge liberalism’s failures and insufficiencies, and then struggled to imagine alternatives. He did so as a writer, and he and his fellow Realists created invaluable portraits of the age. In his confusion, his intelligence, and his honesty, he reminds us that for those living through the Gilded Age it was an astonishing and frightening period, full of great hopes as well as deep fears. When Howells cryptically embraces the common, it is worth listening to him. Understanding his judgment of the “sufficiency of the common, the insufficiency of the uncommon” provides a lens for assessing the Gilded Age.

“W. D. Howells” by Underwood & Underwood, featured in The North American review. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
https://blog.oup.com/2017/09/william-dean-howells-gilded-age-excerpt/
Advertisements

Public lecture by Daniel Mrozowski June 15 at the Mark Twain House: “My Dear Howells:” The Literary Friendship of Samuel Clemens and William Dean Howells

From Paul Petrie:

The Trouble Begins at 5:30

This Thursday, June 15

5:00 Reception, 5:30 Lecture

“My Dear Howells:” The Literary Friendship of Samuel Clemens and William Dean Howells

Lecture by Daniel Mrozowski

The personal and professional relationship between Mark Twain and William Dean Howells was one of the most important in American letters. Howells was a significant literary gatekeeper as editor of the Atlantic Monthly and a major novelist in his own right. Understanding their relationship illuminates the culture, business, and ideas that animated post-Civil War American literature.

Daniel Mrozowski is a visiting lecturer in English at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Mrozowski is the president of the William Dean Howells Society of America, a scholarly organization dedicated to the study of the 19th-century editor, author, and critic that sponsors regular panels at the annual American Literature Association convention.  Dr. Mrozowski’s research and writing focuses on 19th-century American literature and its intersection with business history. He is working on a book about the rise of the corporation and its influence on American fiction during the Gilded Age.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 Lecture Series is sponsored by Connecticut Humanities.

This event is presented at no cost but reservations are highly suggested.

Call 860-247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.

Other Fun Stuff Coming Soon:

 

 

Saturday, June 17, 5 to 6:30 p.m.


International Wine Tasting Sponsored by Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum 

 

Taste wines from Italy, Spain, Australia, Argentina, and America accompanied by a selection of savory appetizers & decadent desserts.

Music provided by Rob McCrann.

All proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Sponsors:

Pond House Café            *          Whole Foods         *       Taylor Rental

Wines from Frederick Wildman & Sons, LTD: Wine Enthusiast Importer of the Year Award 2016:          

El Coto Blanco, Rioja, Spain

El Coto Crianza, Rioja, Spain                                                                              

Melini Chianti Riserva DOC, Tuscany, Italy

Hewitson Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide, Australia    

Cavicchioli 1928 Prosecco, Veneto, Italy

La Linda Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Wines from Allan S. Goodman, Inc.:                      

Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay, WA

Motto Zinfandel, California

Questions: friendsmth@yahoo.com or 617-905-1912

Tickets are $35;  advance purchase by JUNE 15 required. No tickets will be sold at the door.

To purchase tickets click here. Deadline: June 15, 2017!

 

 

Saturday, June 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Day-Long Writing Workshop: Using Our Voice for Others with Susanne Davis

 

Howells in the News: Howells and Rice Public Library in Kittery, Maine

From http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20131104-NEWS-311040315

KITTERY, Maine — This Tuesday will mark the 125th anniversary of Rice Public Library as Kittery’s longstanding literary institution — a bastion of knowledge and information.

But, for a time, Kittery was also home to another literary institution, whose influence extended far beyond the southernmost tip of Maine — the eminent author, editor and critic William Dean Howells. Today, the periodicals room on the ground floor of the Rice building — known as the Kay Howells Room — serves as a link between the library and the famous writer’s family.

Howells was truly a giant of American letters as the 19th century evolved into the 20th, to the extent that to this day the nationwide William Dean Howells Society is devoted to advancing his scholarship. Every five years the American Academy of Arts and Letters bestows the William Dean Howells Medal upon what it considers the most distinguished novel published during that span.

Howells published more than 30 novels and volumes of poetry during his career, including his most notable book “The Rise of Silas Lapham” and the charming short story “Christmas Every Day.”

Howells is best known as perhaps the leading advocate of realism in literature; his reign as editor of the then-powerful Atlantic Monthly; and as critic and champion of other great writers of his day, especially his good friend Mark Twain.

Howells purchased a summer home in Kittery Point in 1902, after he’d already been proclaimed “the dean of American letters.” He referred to the Pepperrell Road house as his “rugged little nest on the Maine coast” and entertained friends like Twain and Henry James there.

“If it could be managed, I should like to spend the rest of my winters at Florence or Rome, and my summers at Kittery Point,” he wrote to his sister in 1903. [read more at the link above] 

Howells in the News: Twain and Howells at The Atlantic

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/new-from-the-atlantic-books-em-the-mark-twain-collection-em/277795/

Excerpt:

Each of Twain’s stories for the magazine was encouraged and improved by Howells, who became Twain’s most useful public champion and his most trusted editor–a relationship that the Twain biographer Ben Tarnoff explores in his introduction to the collection. “[Howells] didn’t simply make Twain a better writer; he also explained Twain’s significance to the wider world,” Tarnoff writes. “He elevated the author of The Innocents Abroad from a popular entertainer to a transformative literary figure–into the “Lincoln of our literature,” as Howells called him.”

Writing to Howells in 1874, while the two were editing Old Times on the Mississippi for the magazineTwain described a burden he felt of being known merely as a humorist. He bemoaned the expectations of an audience that simply wanted him to “stand on his head every fifteen minutes.” Writing forThe Atlantic, he told his friend, offered him a new relationship with readers and a new way to feel about his work. “It is the only audience that I sit down before in perfect serenity,” he wrote.