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The Howellsian

Volume 6, Number 2 and Volume 7, Number 1 (January 2001 and June 2002)

The Howellsian Volume (November 2002)

Elsa Nettels, Vice-President and Program Chair of the William Dean Howells Society, has announced topics for two panels that the Society will sponsor at the next annual meeting of the American Literature Society to be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 22-25 May 2003. Papers in the first, "William Dean Howells in/and/of the Community," should focus on how the community-in the broadest sense-in which Howells lived at a given time (e.g., Venice, Boston, New York) affected himself and/or his writing, while those in the second, "Howells in the Twentieth Century: His Art, Influence, and Legacy," will be able to treat Howells in a wider context, probing such possibilities as Howells and his biographers, Howells and his critics, Howells's literary reputation, his later novels, his place in the literary continuum, debts other writers, both his contemporaries and those who followed him, owe him, etc. Elsa requests that either fivehundred word abstracts of proposed papers or eight to ten page papers themselves be sent to at 211 Indian Springs Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185 by Monday, 23 December 2002 for consideration for presentations at these sessions.

At this year's American Literature Association Annual Conference, held 30 May-2 June 2002, the Society also sponsored two sessions. The first session, "Private Lies in Social Contexts in Howells's Fiction," was chaired by Society president and emeritus faculty member at Kent State University Sanford E. Marovitz and included papers by Susan Goodman from the University of Delaware ("The Foregone Hazard of New Fictions"), Hildegard Hoeller from the College of Staten Island ( ... The Grotesque Confusion of our Economic': William Dean Howells and the Lost Language of the Gift"), and Laura K. Johnson from Harvard University ("Romance as Reform: The Marriage Fiction of William Dean Howells"); Elsa, Emerita faculty member from the College of William and Mary, chaired the second session, "Philanthropy and Reform in Howells's Fiction," at which Melissa M. Pennell from the University of MassachusettsLowell presented "Social Capital and the Problem of Benevolence in Howells's Annie Kilburn," David J.; Nordloh from Indiana University delivered ... The Sensation of Doing Good': The Uneasy Status of Charity in Howells's The Minister's Charge," and Agnieszka Zylowska Goeller from Rutgers University read "Charity and Realism." As in the past, sessions on Howells drew large audiences at the Conference.

Recently, another relative of Howells joined the Society. Mrs. Philip Toynbee, second cousin twice removed from the Dean, who lives in Clinmor, Oxfordshire, England, has been working closely with Sandy Marovitz both to establish her exact connection with the American branch of the Howells family and to extend the Howells family tree in England beyond her great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Howells, who was William Dean Howells's great-grandfather. Thomas was born in 1739 in Wales, married his wife Susannah in 1772 in London, where they lived for a few years before returning to Wales where he died in 1821. Of their eleven children, the two youngest, one of which was Joseph William Howells (1783-1858), William Dean's grandfather, in about 1810 immigrated to America as young men. Perhaps at some future date this and other genealogical information on Howells's antecedents and relatives could be presented at a conference in a session sponsored by the Society.

[Note: Members also received an updated membership list with this issue of The Howellsian.]