Familiar Spanish Travels

QUESTION: I’m a doctoral candidate in Spain, and I am working on Familiar Spanish Travels. So far I have been uable to find anything regarding this book, I mean books, reviews, articles or anything related to it. I don’t know if you could help me, but if so, I would be very grateful. Thank you very much in advance.
Antonio Vicente vicenteazofra@telefonica.net 11/30/04

Brenni lists three reviews of Familiar Spanish Travels:
Bookman 38:387, Dec. 1913
Nation 97:567, Dec. 11, 1913
New York Times Book Review 18:679, Nov. 30, 1913

Firkins has a single complimentary paragraph, speaking in general terms of the value of WDH’s mature return to the subject matter.

Gary Culbert gculbert at echs.bellevue.wa.us


Source of Sarah Orne Jewett Quotation

I’m looking for the source of the following literary allusion: “It is the higher nature that yields, because it is the most generous.”  A Google search will yield only the text in which the allusion occurs (Sarah Orne Jewett’s novel A Country Doctor) and a previous posting of mine with the same query.  It’s possible that she’s quoting inexactly, from memory, or that it’s an English translation of a line whose source is in another language.  Any help in tracing this line to a source will be most appreciated.

Frederick Wegener, fwegener at csulb.edu


Howells Quotation on Novels

QUESTION: I am looking for the source of a quotation attributed to Howells: “We were travellers before we were novellers”.  Any suggestions?

Charles Baraw baraw63 at mac.com 10-3-04

Howells and Alexander Black

QUESTION: I am looking for any documentation of acquaintance between Howells and Alexander Black.  Correspondence or Howells’s reviews of Black’s work (i.e. _Miss Jerry_) would be helpul to my project.

Kaveh Askari


Images of Howells

I am trying to obtain an image (and permission to use it) of William Dean Howells. I am hoping to use this image in a book I am designing called “To Be Young In America: Growing Up With the Country 1776-1940”. The book is being published by Little, Brown & Company Books for Young Readers. A chapter in this book focuses on Howells’ childhood, and an image of him would nicely complement the text. Any ideas on who might have such images & own the rights to them?William J. Kelly Jr.


The Houghton Library at Harvard University has a large Howells collection, including many images, and would be an excellent place to start.
Quotation help needed 
QUESTION: I need the correct rendering of a statement or quote from Boys Town.  Cannot seem to find my copy of this recently acquired book, but the quote seems to be apopros for raising two teenage sons:

“There is a time appointed between childhood and adulthood, the product of which is boyhood.”

thanks,  glenn klein tmt@gnv.fdt.net 

“Wild little Canadian watering-place”

QUESTION: I’m working with _The Rise of Silas Lapham_, and I’m interested in whether or not anyone has identified the “rather wild little Canadian watering-place on the St. Lawrence, below Quebec” where Anna Corey and her daughters meet Irene and Persis Lapham.  I’m interested, especially, in what vacationing there would mean economically, given the Corey family’s dwindling fortune and the Lapham family’s conspicuous consumption.

Fred Johnson
Ball State University 7/19/04

Howells’s Essay on Charleston, SC

I am a reference librarian trying to answer a reference question regarding Howells in a collection that does have a bibliography of Howells.

I am trying to find the publication information regarding Howells’ essay on the city of Charleston, SC. Two travel books published in 1917 by other authors quote from it.

My searching so far has turned up no answer. Any help you can supply will be greatly appreciated. I do know that John Mead Howells did live for a while in Charleston, or visited extensively.

Harlan Greene
Special Collections
Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC  29401 email: greeneh at ccpl.org


According to Gibson and Arms’ _Bibliography_ (1948), p. 154, “In Charleston,” “a travel sketch,” was first published in _Harper’s Monthly_, October 1915 (Vol. 131), pp. 747-757.

So far as I can tell, it was not reprinted by Howells in a later collection.

Terry Oggel

“The Shadow of a Dream”: Translation QuestionQUESTION: I am currently advising a Japanese graduate student about her translation of “The Shadow of a Dream” (which, if it is published, would be the first-ever translation of a Howells work in Japanese). We solved most of the problems, but the very last sentence of the novel confused both of us:
“My wife [Isabel March] does not permit it to be said, or even suggested, that our feelings are not at our bidding, and that there is no sin where there has been no sinning.”
This seems contradictory to the entire tenor of the novel’s concluding chapter. Throughout the book, Isabel has always indignantly refuted the notion that Hermia and Nevil were consciously in love before Faulkner’s death. One would have expected “She does not permit it to be said . . . that there has been sin where there has been no sinning.”
Did the double negative (“does NOT permit to to be said . . . that there has been NO sin . . .”) throw Howells for a loop, or, more likely, am I missing something?

James N. Westerhoven

In order to give you some feedback, here is the comment by Carrington in PLOTS AND CHARACTERS IN THE FICTION OF WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS:
“The Marches feel that Faulkner’s dream had power over his widow and his friend only because they were completely guiltless.  March thinks that even if Nevil had lived he and Hermia would never had married.  Isabel feels that if they had married, they couldn’t have kept their self-respect for each other.  March wonders whether their suffering had a purpose or was simply their fate: he clings to the former belief.  Neither of the Marches is willing to admit the hypothesis that perhaps Faulkner’s dream was based on fact, that perhaps Hermia and Nevil really were in love with each other while Faulkner was still alive” (pp.173-174).
I would read the line in question pretty much as it initially appears, though the longer one looks at it the less clear it is.  Isabel believes we are responsible for our our feelings(i.e., we are culpable for the feelings we allow ourselves to have).  Consequently, one need not have an actual act to be be involved in sin (Don’t say that).  The feeling is enough.  The irony here could be that the potential lovers are so punctilious that the dream itself (rather than their actual feelings) could create a sense of guilt.  Perhaps, then, the sense of guilt could create the sin, rather than the reverse.  In any case, these two people are in an impossible moral quandary (perhaps caused only by Faulkner’s dream).  WDH was, too, and he solved the problem by use of the convenient railway post.  This is probably the least fair authorial trick to solve a problem in all of his work, and it is always good for a laugh when one thinks of how he was inspired to get out of the book by this weird deux ex machina.
Interesting question and interesting insight into Isabel’s moral rigidity.

Gary Culbert 2-25-04

Howells’s poem “Thanksgiving”

QUESTION: I have a poem called “Thanksgiving” written out and signed by Howells. He has dated the poem to New York, 1865, although this copy was written and dated Boston, Oct 29, 1886. I’ve not had any luck finding this in his published works. What do I have here?
Bob J.
Bob Johnson
skanderbeg50 at hotmail.com

first few lines are as follows:

Lord, for the erring thought
Not [u/i]nto evil wrought:
Lord, for the wicked will
Betrayed and baffled still;


The poem “Thanksgiving” was published in Nation (1:708) on December 7, 1865. It was republished several times in anthologies as recently as 1948. Publishing history is available in Brenni (p. 40).

The poem was not published in WDH’s collected poetry volumes.

Gary Culbert (gculbert at echs.bellevue.wa.us.)

Howells’s poem “Thanksgiving” first appeared in a “Minor Topics” column in the Nation, 7 Dec. 1865, and was reprinted in Poems (Boston: James R. Osgood, 1873) and in the later editions of that collection.

A google search on the first line shows the poem was published at least once in 1919. See:



Study Guide Information
QUESTION: Can anyone provide a brief review or where I can find good study guide information regarding Howells “American and Old World Nevelists” work?



Howells and politics 

QUESTION: I’m doing a report on William Dean Howell and have spent several hours looking for what he risked his reputation in campaigning against what political incidents?

I’m also trying to find two of his writings illustrating the role he played in condemning the existence of economic and social systems and the measures he took to carry out this role.   Kyle kimie67@att.net


You might want to look at his activities during the Haymarket affair in 1886.
Howells Quotation from A Boy’s Town 

QUESTION: I need the correct rendering of a statement or quote from Boys Town.  Cannot seem to find my copy of this recently acquired book, but the quote seems to be apopros for raising two teenage sons:

“There is a time appointed between childhood and adulthood, the product of which is boyhood.”

thanks,  glenn klein tmt@gnv.fdt.net 

Mildred Howells’s “The Different Seed”

I am sure this is quite simple to answer but can anyone provide me with the rest of the poem by Mildred Howells ‘The Different Seed’. As it is usually quoted on the Internet and elsewhere it seems to be incomplete. Were her poems published anywhere? Roy Smith 7/3/04

In the Rise of Silas Lapham
1.  Discuss the contrast between old money and new money

2. Describe the multiple ways Silas Lapham rises and falls in the novel.

3. Dsicuss the difference between the ways in which Bromfield Corey and Silas Lapham view money, work and leisure.delanob1@aol.com Madge Barnett 6/4/04

Howells Quotations 
QUESTION: I am a doctoral candidate working in Australia and in the final phase of the writing of my dissertation. My interest is not primarily in Howells himself at this stage.

I am trying to identify a quotation attributed to William Dean Howells, evidently in a letter he wrote to a young American poet who was living in Paris and writing symbolist poetry in the French language. Howells is said to have written thus:

‘A man is not born in his native country for nothing. I wish I might persuade you!’

And he added:

‘I want you to be an American and to write in English. If you must write first in French reinstate yourself afterwards’.

I am keen to identify the source of this quotation. To whom was it written and what was the date of the letter?

I should be most grateful for any assistance with this.

With thanks

John Thompson jrth@netspeed.com.au


Reception of The Rise of Silas Lapham

QUESTION: I was just wondering if anyone could answer some questions on the book The Rise of Silas Lapham.  I was wondering what the critical response at the time of publication and recently of the novel was and is.  Also, I was wonderign what Problems/Controversial issues it was addressing.  If you know a site or could help me out that would be great.  Thanks.Dan
Here are some links:

link to one review from the October 1885 Atlantic.
A link to a review in Catholic World

A link to a review in the Overland Monthly

You can also find some of these in the Norton Critical Edition of the novel and in books on Howells.

Howells and Theodor FontaneQUESTION: I am looking for any connections between Howells and/or the themes of his works and the German author Theodor Fontane. Any information would be welcome but I am particularly interested at present with their treatment of relationships within marriage.Richard Ellington richardellington@yahoo.co.uk 2-1-04

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