Volume 5, Number 2 (January, 2001)
As part of his responsibility as vice-president, Sanford E. Marovitz also acts as program chair for the Society. As usual, the question of whether the Society should sponsor two sessions or one at the annual conference of the American Literature Association must be answered, and this year, as in most past years, he has decided to organize only one panel for the next conference which will meet in Cambridge in May, 2001. To be called "The Legacy of William Dean Howells," that panel will include papers by three founding members of the Society: Donna Campbell from Gonzaga University, who has served as secretary-treasurer of the Society since its inception, Joseph R. McElrath, Jr., who has spoken on Howells and Charles W. Chesnutt at a previous ALA, and Jesse S. Crisler from Brigham Young University, current president of the Society. Their presentations are "Howells and Freeman," "Howells and Realism," and "Howells, Norris, Millard and the 'Great American Novel."' All three papers thus continue the tradition established by the Society of investigating the relationship between Howells and his contemporaries.
Because of retirement from active affiliation with academic institutions, the Society has lost a few members during the past year, but these resignations have been offset by the addition of several new members. Since indications from past panels point to revived interest in Howells, membership will probably continue to increase.
Although the W. D. Howells Memorial Committee has as yet not determined precisely its intention regarding a conference on Howells similar to meetings it has sponsored in the past at the Howells residence in Kittery Point, there is a distinct possibility that the Committee will offer an invitation-only lecture during the ALA conference to be followed by papers given at Kittery Point. Those invited would be transported to Maine and back to Cambridge in order to participate in the festivities. Further details concerning the Committee's final plans will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
If you have not yet viewed the host of material available at the Society's website, maintained by Donna Campbell, you should take a moment to do so soon at http:/'/www.gonzaga.edu/howells/. Not only does it include a great deal of material on or by Howells himself-on-line editions of a dozen works, periodical versions of several novels, comments by himself and other writers on his work, full text versions of some essays, short stories, poems, and plays, teaching aids, biographical material, annotations of the most current articles on Howells, reviews of his work, a query page, and much else-but in amplitude, accessibility, appearance, appeal, and arrangement it serves as a model for a well-organized, easily engaged, highly informative website. Furthermore, Donna continues to update links from this site to several other American literature sites including the ALA homepage, the Howells-L e-mail discussion group that Donna also maintains, as well as homepages of several other American author societies.