Queries and Replies 2003


2010 2009 2008 2007 2006





Student Queries

(Combined with the Queries pages)





The questions and requests for help posted to this page are those that were originally posted to Howells-L or to the website.  They are posted here so that other readers may be able to help with these questions.  Some other questions and replies appear in the Howells-L archives. If you have a serious scholarly question about William Dean Howells that you would like to have posted on this page and to Howells-L, please use the Query and Reply Form.

Students who would like help with research projects should post questions to the Student Queries page. 
If you would like to respond to one of the questions on this page, please use the Query and Reply Form.  Thank you.

  • Howells on Jack London?
  • Howells References wanted (x)
  • Howells, Owen Wister, and Cowboys
  • Howells and the "Recent Literature" column in The Atlantic
  • Howells's Address on W. 9th St.(X)
  • Howells and Chekov
  • Howells and Chekov
  • Holmes's letters to Howells
  • Howells and Southern Fiction
  • Synopsis for The Lady of the Aroostook
  • Howells Quotation on Kosciusko

    QUESTION: Looking for source of a quotation found in the introduction to documentary drama "Year One of the Empire" concerning the anti-imperialist strugggle at the turn of the 19th-20th century, and the issue of war in the Phillipines: "freedom...will never again shriek when Kosciusko falls." No citation is given for this and another quotation ("son of the morning") from Howells used in the introduction.bbatorsk@nj.devry.edu



    Synopsis for The Lady of the Aroostook

    Good day!

    I am an author of literary encyclopedia and think, you can help me. I need
    to synopsis of The Lady of the Aroostook by Howells. If you can, please mail
    me some information.

    Thank you.


    Howells and Southern Fiction

    I'm trying to determine how much southern fiction Howells had read and, specifically, whether he had read any novels by Augusta Jane Evans (Wilson). While I've found texts dealing with Howells' attitudes about the South, I'm still searching for a comprehensive list of texts in his library or a list of texts he had definitively read. Thanks!
    Bradley Johnson


    Holmes's letters to Howells

    QUESTION: I've read Howells's letters to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., but I've been unable to determine whether or not Holmes's letters to Howells exist and whether or not they've been published anywhere. Does anyone know anything more about this relationship? It seems to have been limited to a short period of correspondence before the Civil war, so both men were quite young.

    Stephen H. Wells swells@ccac.edu

    According to William Moddelmog, Reconstructing Authority (2000), p. 39,
    "Howells and Holmes had been youthful friends; they met at the house of Holmes's famous father in 1860 and established a correspondence in which they exchanged poems and philosophical essays. The correspondence, however, ceased with the Civil War, which Holmes attended as a soldier and which Howells, significantly, did not."

    Moddelmog inserts a footnote here which elaborates somewhat on the H and H relationship via Holmes's father, the Autocrat, by citing from Howells's Literary Friends and Acquaintance, pp. 46-47.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Terry Oggel

    Howells and Chekov

    QUESTION: I am working on The Son of Royal Langbrith, and am looking in particular at chapter XIV, pp. 83-84 (in the Indiana U. P. edition). Judge Garley makes a reference to a study of a Russian Island (Sakhalin, as the note indicates). The note also mentions a book on Sakhalin by Hawes.
    I was wondering if Howells could have had in a mind a book by Chekhov, The Island of Sakhalin, serialized in Russia in 1893 and published in book form in 1895.
    The only hitch is :
    Could Howells have possibly read it by the time he wrote Royal Langbrith ?
    When was it translated into English ? or into French, or into another language which he knew (Spanish, Italian & German) ?
    I don't think that he knew Russian, but I may be wrong.

    I have read extracts of Chekhov's book. It does not express the theory of remorse expressed by Garley, but I think Howells could very well have reinterpreted & modified the book in order to make his point.
    I would be very interested to have you opinion on this and would be very grateful if you could enlighten me.

    Thank you,
    Guillaume Tanguy.



    Lady of the Aroostook

    I'm hoping that you can help me. I have a LADY OF THE AROOSTOOK with a brown hardback cover and spine stamped with gold text. 10cm x 13cm approx (pocket edition, in one shilling volumes??) . It was published by Edinburgh University Press

    The text a couple of pages in reads:
    (then a picture)
    Authors Edition
    VOL 1

    I would be grateful for any information that you can give me,

    Many thanks,


    Dear Hadar, I just came across your inquiry about the Douglas edition of The Lady of the Aroostook. I might be able to give you a few details on it. Douglass published a series of Howells' books in the early 1880's. I have the same edition you have in a matched set of thirteen volumes which was once sent by the publisher to WDH's brother Joseph. Each volume of this set has written on the title page "J. A. Howells Presented by David Douglas Edinburg, Scotland." The books also have J. A. Howells' small Jefferson, Ohio bookplates. Your copy, like mine, probably lists ten volumes in the page facing the title page, but the set I own shows the continuing publishing effort, as it is uniformly bound in thirteen volumes. My binding is in a dark green floral hardcover. "American Authors" is in the lower right quadrant of the cover. The book title is in gold in the upper left part of the cover. The book is not a first printing, though, as I have another copy which is two volumes bound as one. The title page date for this book is 1882, so the book had been out two years prior to the 1884 edition. My note says that this was the only British edition of Aroostook listed. This book is in plain oxblood dark cloth with the title in gold on the thickish spine. This book is also a part of a set of six similarly bound volumes. I hope this comparison helps you with your inquiry. Gary Culbert
    Howells Criticism on Jack London? 
    QUESTION: Does anybody know of any direct reference to Jack London by Howells, in either his letters or his criticism or? Seems a bit odd, as Earle Labor recently pointed out, that Howells would totally ignore London, especially during the younger writer's rapid rise to fame circa 1900-1904.Jonathan Auerbachja44@umail.umd.edu

    Peter Dump

    QUESTION: I have been informed by the Globusz Publisher that the article "American Literary Centres" was written by William Dean Howells.

    I am researching information on the Dump-Dumph family genealogy. Within the body of the aforementioned text is the following line:

    "...and Mr. George Ade and Mr. Peter Dump in their satires form with those named a group not to be matched elsewhere in the country...."

    Does anyone know where I can find copies of Mr. Peter Dump's satires and/or further information about him?

    This Mr. Peter Dump may be my great-great-uncle.

    Mr. Harold L. Dump, pjhh@iland.net



    Howells, Owen Wister, and Cowboys

    QUESTION: I wondered if someone might be able to direct me to a book that treats (or mentions) an exchange between William Dean Howells and Owen Wister. The exchange involves Howells cautioning Wister not to pursue writing a story referring to cowboys' sexual practice. Thank you.
    Karen Chandler


    Here is a reference that might help. Melody Graulich's "What if Wister were a Woman?" (Reading The Virginian in the New West, 2003) notes this incident: "Feeling judged by his father for his 'failures' at business and law, Wister wrote a novel, A Wise Man's Son, 'the story of a young man whose father forced him into business.' He sent it to the man he considered a 'mentor,' W. D. Howells, who recommended that Wister not show such a 'rebellious' work to a publisher" (205). Graulich cites Payne's Owen Wister , p. 74, as the source.

    D. Campbell, 10-5-04


    Howells and the "Recent Literature" columns in Atlantic

    I would like to know if Howells wrote the unsigned "Recent Literature" columns that appeared in ATLANTIC MONTHLY. Specifically, I am interested in the reviews published in 1874. I suspect that he did not write these, but am not sure how to find out.

    Thank you for your time,

    Jonathan Daigle, dissertator
    University of Wisconsin-Madison


    Howells's Address on West 9th St.

    COMMENTS: In 1891 when W.D. Howells first moved to NYC, he lived on West 9th Street, then moved to 17th Street. Please give me his address on Ninth Street. I am doing an article on important authors who lived on West 9th Street. Thank you.


    Howells' address in the late 1880's in NYC was

    46 West 9th St.

    That is how he was heading his letters by 1888 as cited in Life in Letters.... Howells move to NYC from Boston was considerably before 1891, I believe.

    Best wishes,
    Gary Culbert gculbert@echs.bellevue.wa.us

    Expression used by Howells

    I am looking for the origin of an expression used either by Howells or by a critic in relation to Howells. I think that it also features in the title of a critical book on Howells. This expression is :

    " (there has always been) a little ideality in my reality ".

    What I would like to find is the origin of this expression linking IDEALITY and REALITY.

    Thank you ! Guillaume Tanguy, France,





    Comments to campbelld at wsu dot edu.