Venetian Life by W. D. Howells

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Synopsis

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was an American realist author and literary critic. He wrote his first novel, Their Wedding Journey, in 1871, but his literary reputation really took off with the realist novel A Modern Instance, published in 1882, which describes the decay of a marriage. His 1885 novel The Rise of Silas Lapham is perhaps his best known, describing the rise and fall of an American entrepreneur in the paint business. His social views were also strongly reflected in the novels Annie Kilburn (1888) and A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890). While known primarily as a novelist, his short story "Editha" (1905) - included in the collection Between the Dark and the Daylight (1907) - appears in many anthologies of American literature. Howells also wrote plays, criticism, and essays about contemporary literary figures such as Ibsen, Zola, Verga, and, especially, Tolstoy, which helped establish their reputations in the United States. He also wrote critically in support of many American writers. It is perhaps in this role that he had his greatest influence.
 

About W. D. Howells

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William Dean Howells was born on March 1, 1837, in Martin's Ferry, Ohio. Howells was forced to drop out of high school to work as a typesetter for his father. He later taught himself, becoming adept at German and Spanish. He soon became a reporter, eventually becoming editor of The Atlantic Monthly and Harper's magazines, as well as a literary critic. During his lifetime, Howells rubbed elbows with the great American authors of his day, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1861, he received a consulship at Venice, returning to the U.S. several years later to become assistant editor for The Atlantic Monthly. While his accomplishments are centered in the world of journalism, he also wrote numerous volumes of poetry and novels, such as The Undiscovered Country and A Chance Acquaintance. This last book, like many of his novels, was originally published in serial installments in The Atlantic Monthly. Many of his writings explore the changing face of society in America, often contrasting it with life in Europe. His novel entitled, The rise of Silas Lapham illustrated what was referred to in the late 1800's as the rise of the Nouveau Riche. Howells was known for his comedic descriptions of the differences in class that existed at that time. Howells's other significant contribution to literature was his notice of and commentary on the merits of Henry James and Mark Twain. He received several honorary degrees from universities as well as a Gold Medal for fiction (later renamed after him as the Howells Medal) from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He died on May 11, 1920 in New York City.
 
Published May 17, 2012 by Reprint Services Corp. 198 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, Biographies & Memoirs, Action & Adventure, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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