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Student Queries

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Queries and Replies
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.

Queries 1999-2003

(X means that a reply has been posted)
  • "The Sea" (X) (12/6/99)
  • Bibliographic Information on A Woman's Reason and Annie Kilburn (X) (12/14/99)
  • Howells and Dwight Bailey
  • Howells and Howard Pyle (2/06/01)
  • Ashtabula Bridge Collapse
  • Canadian edition of Lady of the Aroostook (X) 
  • Howells editions wanted
  • Howells and Capital University
  • Howells and Christmas
  • Howells's Poetry: Poems of Two Friends
  • Howells and Melville
  • Expression used by Howells
  • Translation of "a la Marquise" in Shadow of a Dream
  • Howells's "The Quest for Nationality"
  • Howells and Updike (X)
  • Howells on Manhattan restaurants
  • Howells and Mark Rutherford
  • Howells Book for Book Club?(X)
  • Howells's "A Word for the Dead" Online? (
  • 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
  • Holmes's letters to Howells
    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

    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.


    "The Sea"
    QUESTION: For the past three months I have been researching Edward MacDowell (1860-1908), an American composer and an enthusiast of Howells.  I have 
    recently read that MacDowell's piece Sea Pieces was inspired by a Howells poem, but I have been unable to find the exact poem.  The title I was given was "The Sea" and it contained the lines - 
    And who shall sound the mystery of the sea? 

    Does anyone have any ideas on where this poem comes from?    amykeyser@hotmail.com

    Unfortunately, I seem to have erased the original question, and I don't know of the poem, but there is a line in The Lady of the Aroostook: 

    "The sea is really the only mystery left us, and that will never be explored." (p. 167) 

    The passage is ambiguous, I think.  Staniford is putting a shawl around Lydia's shoulders, and is so distracted by her physically that he's almost babbling.  In other words, I don't think that, at least at this point, Howells is taking the observation seriously. 

    The best comment in the novel of course is "They were Americans, and they knew how to worship a woman."   (p.95) 

    PS. Thanks to my husband for drawing my attention to that comment. 
    Here is further information on the MacDowell-Howells query.  I have the books at home, so decided to rummage around a bit more. 

    Gibson and Arms could not find a copy of the MacDowell-Howells publication, but they have it cited as number 93-K.  It included eight pianoforte pieces, only three of which could they cite, though enough information is given to indicate that MacDowell did some rummaging around himself when he dug up appropriate Howells lyrics. 

    Piece number III and piece number VIII are from Poems of Two Friends.  I checked my copy of Poems of Two Friends.  The former is "Folksong" for MacDowell but originally "Gone."  The latter is the poem "Through the Meadow." 

    The poem "The Sea" is piece number VII in 93-K.  It is the second part of the poem "Pleasure-Pain" from Howells' Poems from 1873.  Here are the words to part two of that poem, now called "The Sea": 

    One sails away to sea, 
      One stands on the shore and cries; 
    The ship goes down the world, and the light 
      On the sullen water dies. 

    The whispering shell is mute, 
      And after is evil cheer: 
    She shall stand on the shore and cry in vain, 
      Many and many a year. 

    But the stately, wide-winged ship 
     Lies wrecked on the unknown deep; 
    Far under, dead in his coral bed, 
      The lover lies asleep. 

    The line cited in the inquiry is not from this poem.  I can't help with the sources of the other five pieces in the MacDowell publication.  Since Gibson-Arms couldn't find a copy of the first publication in 1893, it is probably pretty scarce.  They did see a German translation of the pieces from 1906. 

    Gary Culbert 
    Another possibility for the source for MacDowell might be Howells' "A Sea-Change" which he describes as a "lyrical farce" and which has a whole raft of poems within it, though it stands as a play and is in his collected plays.  I think it came out around 1888 first in Harper's.  I scanned the text but did not find the cited line, though I didn't look closely. 

    Also, Howells has individual poems published during the 80's and 90's in magazines.  I have a letter in which he refers to a poem published around and only in that time frame, so an hour or so with the bound volumes of Harper's, Century, etc., might bring it up as well. 

    And here is an oddity of an unusual name cropping up more than once in close    proximity.  Just last month I bought from a dealer in Montana a poor copy of Hamlin Garland's CRUMBLING IDOLS.  When I opened it I found it was inscribed to Edward MacDowell in February 1896.  Garland expresses pleasure in MacDowell's "Americanism."  So this is the volume that MacDowell read and that brought those two people together, a friendship thus created which is discussed at length in the MacDowell chapter in Garland's autobiography. 

    I am shocked to see MacDowell's name show up so soon on my screen. 

    Gary Culbert 
    Perhaps the poem is in Poems by Two Friends, which Howells co-wrote with J.J. Piatt.  (I believe the names of the book and the coauthor are accurate. 
    I'm working from memory.) 

    Greg Stratman     12/6/99 
    No, I thought it might be, too, but checked this. 
    Jim Murphy  12/7/99 
    The online edition of Poems (1873 edition) lists a poem called "By the Sea," but it doesn't contain the lines quoted here. 

    Donna Campbell  12/6/99

    Bibliographic Information on A Woman's Reason and Annie Kilburn

    My name is Alan King, and I am a graduate student at Middle Tennessee 
    State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  I am currently enrolled in a course on research and bibliography methods and am doing a descriptive bibliography on Howell's 1886 printing of A Woman's Reason.  I am struggling so far for information and places to search.  My professor has left things a little vague, and I'm not clear just what I'm supposed to be looking for, but if anyone knows of any essays or articles or books that deal with this novel, or Osgood the publisher, then I would greatly appreciate it. 
    Thank you, 
    Alan King 

    Alan King 

    QUESTION: I am a graduate student of English at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tn. In one of my courses I have been assigned to research a book found in our library's "Special Collections."  The book I have been assigned is Howell's Annie Kilburn.  I'm trying to get a history of the novel, its publishing, and Howells.  Might you have any suggestions for sources?  Anything will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your time. 
    Sincerely,      Meagan E. Rikard 

    Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 10:43:17 -0500 
    Subject: Re: Queries on _A Woman's Reason_ and _Annie Kilburn_ 

    The best place to start to answer these questions is by looking in the index of the biographies on Howells.  Try the ones by Kenneth Lynn and Edwin Cady for starters.  As for Osgood--you might look at Micheal Winship's book on Ticknor and Fields, the name of the firm before it became Osgood.  There's also a book on Houghton, the name of the publishing house that Osgood later became.  I think there's also a biography on Fields, also.  Looking in that index for references to Osgood will help you as well. 

    Hope this helps.  Good luck. 

    Augusta Rohrbach 
     There are two excellent books on James T. Fields: 

    Parnassus Corner: A Life of James T. Fields, Publisher to the Victorians by
    W. S. Tryon

    and  Fields of the Atlantic Monthly by James C. Austin

    There is also, as noted a book on the firm of Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

    Moreover, there is a biography (quite good) on James R. Osgood himself.

    It is The Rise and Fall of James Ripley Osgood by Carl J. Weber (Colby
    College Press, 1959).  It is really a very good and readable book.

    Gary Culbert

    Howells and Dwight Bailey
    NAME: Louis G. Bailey, Ph.D. 

    EMAILADDRESS: lgbdal@flash.net

    QUESTION: My great grandfather, Dwight Bailey, grew up in Jefferson, Ohio during the time William Dean Howells was there and working for his father at the Ashtabula Sentinel.  They were the same age, but Dwight contributed poems and short stories for the paper.  A family history, written by my great aunt, Nellie May Bailey Young, tells of an encounter between the two families, and I quote: "Dwight's seatmate at school was the brother of William Dean Howells.  Their father was the editor of the town paper.  The brother would give Dwight copies of the poems that William Dean had written so that Dwight could write a parody to appear in the same paper." 

    I have examined microfilm copies of the Ashtabula Sentinel covering the period from 1853 through 1856, and while I found many poems likely written by William Dean, I found only one that might have been written by Dwight Bailey.  It appeared in the November 24, 1853 issue and was titled as a parody on something.  The complete title and the first part of the poem were illegible on the microfilm, so I can't be specific about them. 

    Can anyone comment about this matter?  I am writing a history of my family, and if I can locate one of the parodies written by Dwight Bailey, I will include it together with a bit of background about William Dean Howells. 

    QUESTION: I am writing a biography of the American artist, author, and teacher, Howard Pyle (1853-1911). Pyle met W. D. Howells in January 1890 and the two corresponded occasionally over the next several years. Between 1891 and 1895, Pyle illustrated various poems by Howells for Harper's Monthly, which were collected in _Stops of Various Quills_ (1895). In an unsigned Harper's Weekly article (July 11,1903), Howells discussed Pyle's _Rejected of Men_ and he later included a Pyle story in the book _Shapes That Haunt the Dusk_. So far I have located some 45 letters to and from Pyle and Howells, but I am eager to find more examples from their rich correspondence. I urge anyone with information pertaining to the Pyle-Howells connection to contact me. 
    Ian Schoenherr 
    Source of Quotation
    NAME: Leighton, Charles H. 


    QUESTION: Where is the following quote found?: "the sincere observer of man will not desire to look upon his heroic or occasional phases, but will seek him in his habitual moods of vacancy and tiresomeness.  To me, at any rate, he is  at such times very precious; and I never perceive him to be as much a man and a brother as when I feel the pressure of his vast, natural, unaffected dullness. 

    To answer Charles LEIGHTON's question, the quote he mentions comes from Their Wedding Journey. (I am speaking from memory and do not have a copy at hand. I hope I'm right!)

    Guillaume Tanguy

    Ashtabula Bridge Collapse
    NAME: Frank Millard 

    EMAILADDRESS: FRMillard@aol.com 

    QUESTION: On Dec. 29th 1876, the Ashtabula bridge collapsed in WDH's hometown where his father continued as editor of the Ashtabula newspaper. During which time WDH was editor of the Atlantic. Do you know if WDH ever wrote about that tragedy? 


    Lady of the Aroostook: Canadian Edition?
    NAME: Peter Tafuri 

    EMAILADDRESS: frost@teisprint.com 

    QUESTION: Regarding "The Lady of the Aroostook", I have what I believe to be the first Canadian edition, but have been unable to find anything about it. Briefly, it is bound in brown cloth, with stamped gilt lettering and 2 scenes  of Venice on the front board, 324 pp, dark green endpapers.  The publisher is Belfords, Clarke & Co., Toronto.  The copyright page is blank, but there is an 
    inscription dated 1879. Any information would be appreciated. 

    Yes, you probably do have a Canadian first, but it is not a happy first. This is a pirated edition put out by notorious piraters.  Howells was infuriated by its appearance and was active in trying to prevent such editions, which imitated American firsts and cut the price and stole profits.  See WDH's letter to his father regarding this piracy -- in the Selected Letters.  It probably didn't do WDH's temper and blood pressure any good to be around Clemens when this topic came up! 

    Gary Culbert 

    Howells's Books in Dust Jackets
    WANTED: Early books by William Dean Howells in dust jackets.Specifically, the green cloth books, with red and gold trim, published by Harper & Brothersbetween 1900 and 1921. These came in yellow paper dust jackets. I want 
    all titles, especially "My Mark Twain," 1910. Any of his books printed in the 1890s in paper jackets also desired. (I am also interested, but less so, in his Houghton Mifflin books from the 1890s which had heavy cloth jackets and are more common.) Also interested in any information about Howells dustjackets, even if you don't want to sell. Will pay well. Mark Godburn, The Bookmark, 31 Academy Street, Salisbury, CT 06068. Email: 
    Howells and Christmas

    I am writing a book, "Merry Christmas, America," about how famous authors 
    and others have spent Christmas through the years, particularly those 
    with Christmas novels and essays themselves. I do have some information 
    about Christmas Every Day, but I would like more details about any other 
    Christmas works. 

    I would like to know how Howells spent Christmas through the years from 
    Ohio to Massachusetts and New York. I had some knowledge of a William 
    Dean Howells Home in Belmont, Mass. Do you know if there are any historic 
    sites for Howells in the U.S. to visit, or does the William Dean Howells 
    Society itself have an annual Christmas celebration around his life? 

    PLEASE NOTE: I'd rather get all lengthy copy by U.S. mail only, no 
    E-mail. If you would like to send me info on the Society, please do so at 
    the following address: Patricia Bates, 115 A, Oakmont Drive, Mt. Juliet, 
    TN 37122. 

    Howells and Capital University
    In a review of a 1924 Yearbook we have found a reference by one of the Professors that William Dean Howells attended Capital University for a time.  This is something that we have never known before and wondered if by chance you might have ever heard of. this?  Capital was founder as a Lutheran seminary and charted as a University in Columbus Ohio in 1850. Based on a time line it appears that the family lived in Columbus at approximately that time period.  Capital also had an Academy which was a  pre-college education institution.. 

    James H Biddle 
    Director of Planned Giving 
    Capital University 
    Columbus OH 43209-2394 
    614-236-6496 FAX 614-236-6147 

    There is no mention of Capital "University" in the 1852-1853 diary (see "'The Real Diary of a Boy': Howells in Ohio, 1852-1853," edited by T. Wortham, The Old Northwest, 10 (Spring 1984), 3-40), nor did I come across any reference to Howells' attendance in my research for The Early Prose Writings of William Dean Howells, 1853-1861 (Ohio University Press, 1990), nor the work I am doing on the political journalism of 1857-1858.  Very likely Howells could have participated in some of the activities sponsored   by the academy, but considering him in any formal sense a student strikes me as unjustified by the evidence that we have. 
    Thomas Wortham, Chair and Professor, Department of English, UCLA 
    Los Angeles, CA 90095 
    During his stays in Columbus, Howells, though young, was working full time on 
    newspapers either for his father or for the Ohio State Journal.  I don't think he had time to attend school  Also, since his father was something of a free thinker (Swedenborgian), he might have objected to a denominational college.  Howells' reminiscences in Years of My Youth are fairly detailed but make no mention of attending school.  If he did, it would be in the late '50s. 

    James L. Murphy 
    Ohio State University Libraries 

    Howells's Poetry: Poems of Two Friends
    QUESTION: I am looking for information/criticism on Howells's poems that are included in his and John James Piatt's 1859 Poems of Two Friends.  I am having 
    a bit of trouble locating information of this early poetry.  Thanks for your 
    assistance.               Mary Manning, manning.84@osu.edu
    Here are some of the results of an MLA search on Howells and poetry: 
    Cady, Edwin H. "Howells in the Modern Tradition: 'Black Cross Farm'." Nineteenth-Century Literature 45.4 (1991): 478-94. 
    Howells, W. D.. Pebbles, Monochromes, and Other Modern Poems, 1891-1916. Ed. Edwin H. Cady. Athens, OH: Ohio UP, 2000. 
    Engel, Bernard F. "The Genteel Poetry of William Dean Howells." Midamerica: The Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature 6 (1979): 44-61. 
    Madsen, Valden J. "The Poetry and Poetic Criticism of William D. Howells." Diss., 1972. 
    Murphy, Brenda. "The Dean Celebrates His Birthday: Two New Howells Poems." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 71 (1977): 368-69. 
    Murphy, James L. "The Poet's Friend? A Jab at the Youthful William Dean Howells." Ohioana Quart. 29.3 (1986): 92-95. 
    Scharnhorst, Gary. "Howells's 'a South Sea Tragedy': A Recovered Poem." Explicator 51.2 (1993): 94-95. 
    ---. "'a Little Scrap of Autobiography': A Lost Speech and Poem by W. D. Howells." ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews 4.3 (1991): 129-32.
    Howells and Melville

    I am a second year Ph.D. student in American Literature.  My question is did Howells write a  review, a journal entry, etc. on Herman Melville.  I am interested to read what Howells had written.  Daniel Pawiloda

    There is a review of Battle-Pieces in the Atlantic Monthly for February 1867.  This review appears in Selected Literary Criticism: 1859-1885, volume 13 of the Indiana Howells edition. Volume 21 has no mention of Melville. 

    You can also check Howells's "Editor's Study" columns, Criticism and Fiction, and other volumes of Howells's criticism.

    Translation of "a la Marquise"

    I am an Italian translator and teacher of translation theory here in Italy. I am currently translating Howells' The Shadow of a Dream for an important Italian publishing house. The translation is being conducted on the 1970 Banta edition. 
    There is one point of the text which, despite my accurate consultation of various sources, I haven't been able to understand, and I was wondering whether you might kindly help me. 

    In Part III - NEVIL - there is this passage: 

    "Shocking! shocking!" said my friend, shaking her head, which had grown charmingly gray, in a marquise manner, and evincing her delight in the boldness with which I handled the matter. 

    The problem is:  "IN A MARQUISE MANNER" which I provisionally translated as "a la marquise" (in italics). 

    Thank you for your kind attention. 
    Giuliana Schiavi

    Dear Mrs. Schiavi, 

    I have read your question. I am afraid I have nothing more to suggest than 
    what you have said. I have not re-read The Shadow of a Dream recently (and unfortunately I do not have the Bloomington edition). Anyway, I suppose "marquise" always has, in Howells's mind, a negative, probably ironical connotation, given his aversion for aristocracy in general. But of course it is implicit and mustn"t be made explicit. 
    Your suggestion of "a la marquise"  sounds fine to me, and concise, which  is needed. However, I do not know the expression (I'm French). Does the expression exist? That was my question. Is it one of those French expressions that is used only in non-French languages? 
    Anyway, good luck with your translation. 
    The thought of translating Howells has already occurred to me! I really would like to give it some thought one day (translating WDH into French). But for the moment I'm writing a PhD on him. 

    Yours sincerely, 

    Guillaume Tanguy 

    I think that M. Tanguy is right: it may be one of those French expressions that is used only in non-French languages. Oscar Wilde uses this phrase in An Ideal Husband, as does Adelaide Stuart Dimitry's War-Time Sketches: Historical and Otherwise. It seems to have been a common phrase to describe a particular look of the hair or hairstyle (perhaps gray at the temples?) worn by women no longer young.  A history of hairdressing or of costumes might provide a good definition. --D. Campbell

    Howells's "The Quest for Nationality"
    QUESTION: I read an article this afternoon by Stephen Knadler named  "Strangely Re-Abolitionized: WDH and Racial Repersuasion." The article  concludes with a quotation from something Howells wrote called "The  Quest for Nationality." I have searched everywhere I can think to  search: indices of biographies and major criticism, internet, Editor's Study index, etc. but cannot track this article (?) down. Knadler's  article has a Works Cited, but this piece is not mentioned. Can you tell me how I can locate "The Quest for Nationality"? 

    Thank you so much for your time--your website is wonderful! 

      Jonathan Daigle 
      University of Wisconsin-Madison, jrdaigle@facstaff.wisc.edu 

    John Updike and W. D. Howells

    QUESTION: I am trying to track down a lecture that John Updike gave on WDH a few years ago--I am sketchy on the details other than the lecture was published as both a pamphlet and in a periodical. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

    --Vicki Keller, kellervl@mail.utexas.edu

    QUESTION: I am trying to track down the occasion of a lecture that John Updike gave on William Dean Howells. It would have been within the last 5-10 years. Are you aware of any lectures that Updike has given on Howells? --Abby Haywood 

    In response to Abby's question, I'm pretty sure it was at the 
    Sesquicentennial celebration of Howells' s birth, at Harvard, in 1987, that 
    John Updike gave the keynote address. 

    Best, Polly Howells Werthman 

    [material omitted] I mentioned a New Yorker piece by Updike on 
    H [in an essay on Howells and Updike] falling within the time period the questioner refers to. 

    [material omitted]

    Hope this helps. 

    Terry Oggel

    John Updike's "Howells as Anti-novelist" was printed in a limited 
    edition of 150 copies by the William Dean Howells Memorial Committee 
    in 1987. I'll quote the pertinent portion of Updike's "Author's Note" 
    prefatory to the essay: 

    "This talk was given at the invitation of the William Dean Howells 
    Memorial Committee on May 1, 1987, in Emerson Lecture Hall, at 
    Harvard, as part of a two-day celebration of the 150th anniversary of 
    Howells' birth. It was then published, somewhat amplifed and altered, 
    in _The New Yorker_ of July 13, 1987. This edition basically 
    reproduces the original version, addressed to an audience of 
    undergraduates and Howells experts." 

    David Nordloh

    Re. question #2: Updike lectured on Howells at Harvard, among other other places (I believe). That lecture, which compares Howells to James, and declares Howells the "winner" in terms of his impact on the development of realistic fiction, was later published in The New Yorker (though Idon't have the date handy). 


    tim spears 


    Here is the reference of a lecture that Updike gave on Howells: "Howells as anti-novelist" Kittery Point, Maine, the W.D. Howells Committee, 1987.

    Updike also wrote a Preface to one of Howells's novels, Indian Summer. The preface was written in 1990. Best, Guillaume Tanguy (France)

    Howells on Manhattan Restaurants

    QUESTION: For a book on the history of dining out in new York, I would be interested to know of anything that Howells might have written on Manhattan restaurants, especially Pfaff's. A stray comment, journal entry, or the like would be valuable. William Grimes grimes@nytimes.com 

    William Grimes asks about Howells and Manhattan restaurants. Delmonicos figures throughout *A Hazard of New Fortunes.* Roger Lathbury, lathbury@gmu.edu 2-10-04

    I run a web site about the author Mark Rutherford (http://www.concentric.net/~Djfrench/). Howells was a fan of Rutherford and had this to say about Rutherford's first two novels: 

    "[The first two books] may yet mark a new era in fiction...they carry so deep a sense of truthfulness to the reader, they are so far in temper from any sort of mere artistry, they are so simply and nobly serious." This was in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 1886.

    I was wondering if anyone knows of any other references to Rutherford in 
    Howells' work.

    Thanks for any help

    David French

    What book besides The Rise of Silas Lapham and A Modern Instance would you recommend for a book club?

    Our book club has decided to "do" a work by William Dean Howells and I seek an informed opinion as to which of his many works we should
    choose. I realize that "The Rise of Silas Lapham"
    and "A Modern Instance" are perhaps his best known works but are there some other works less known? The book must be available in paperback. 


    A VERY belated thank you for your efforts concerning works by William Dean Howells for possible use by our Book Club.
    In addition to your suggestions of "Indian Summer" and "A Hazard of New Fortunes". Lance Rubin suggested "A Traveler from Altruria" and "Hazard" and Gregory Stratman suggested "The Landlord at Lion's Head", "Dr. Breen's Practice" and "Annie Kilburn". Samuel Ludwig also responded but, in thanking him earlier today, I deleted his suggestion. (I am a computer Luddite). Thank you, again, for your efforts. Ted Sheehan

    "A Hazard of New Fortunes" is the most obvious and
    readily obtainable choice, and it is a great novel as

    Mark Harris

    For anyone, but especially such a group as this, I'd suggest Indian Summer, composed before Silas Lapham but published after due to problems with the supposed publisher, James Osgood & Co. It's a good novel, and underrated.

    The Lib of America put out an edition of just that one novel in 1990 with an introduction by John Updike. That introduction is probably the reason that LoA put out a single novel--it doesn't usually do that). Don't know if this edition is still in print. Don't know if the novel is available in
    another paperback.

    After that, Hazard of New Fortunes--for a different Howells, a somewhat disillusioned Howells. As New York differed from Boston in the final decades of the 19th c. Cosmopolitan, full of immigrants; bustling, even frenetic, and hectic. The novel is panoramic, not as neatly controlled as his earlier ones, and at times borders on a loss of narrative
    control. This is available in paperback, last I checked.

    Terry Oggel

    References on Howells
    I am looking for references on Howells and for various texts by Howells :

      1.. the reference of a letter that Howells wrote to James in which he says :

      " I am comparatively a dead cult with my statues cut down and the grass growing over me in the pale moonlight. "

      The letter is quoted by K.S. Lynn in WDH, An American Life (p. 13) and probably by Michael Anesko (Letters, Fictions, Lives).

      The letter is probably in The Life in Letters of WDH, which I have xeroxed incompletely, which is why I haven't found it, or in the Selected Letters of WDH, which I haven't got.

      2.. I am also looking for Howells's Preface of A Hazard of New Fortunes.
      3.. Three of Howell's radical essays :

      'Equality as the Basis of Good Society' (November 1894),
      'The Nature of Liberty' (December 1895),
      and 'Who are our Brethren ?' (April 1896)

      These essays were published either in Forum, or Century or North American Review.

      4.. The following articles on WDH, which I haven't been able to obtain :

    PORTE, Joel, " Manners, Morals and Mince Pie : Howells's America Revisited ", Prospects, 10 (1985), pp. 443-460

    KLINKOWITZ, Jerome : " Ethic and Aesthetic : the Basil and Isabel March Stories of WDH ", Modern Fiction Studies, 16 (Autumn 1970), pp. 303-322.

    Thank you

    Guillaume Tanguy (France)

    Re: The query regarding Howells' letter to James.

    The letter is indeed in Life in Letters, as referenced by Lynn.  It is
    volume 2, pages 349-50.

    Here is the letter in total:

    York Harbor, Maine,
    June 29, 1915

    Dear James:
       If I wait to write you a fit letter, I shall write none; so here goes a
    faint response to the kind mentions you make of me in your "Mr. and Mrs. J.
    T. Fields."  I read it aloud to Pilla for our common pleasure; she knew
    "her" if not him and last summer we passed a night at her house in
    Manchester.  Your paper relumed so many old faded fires, and cast, most
    precious of all, a tender light on your own youth, which used to abash me by
    its worldly maturity.  I remember Fields bringing me a story of yours with
    the question of whether he should take it, and my saying, "Yes, and as many
    more by the same hand as you can get."  That is what young assistant editors
    should be saying now; but are they?  A change has passed upon things, we
    can't deny it; I could not "serialize" a story of mine now in any American
    magazines, thousands of them as they are.
        We are much at war for you over here; but we do not seem to help much;
    we are almost as bad as Russians who don't fight at all as they write.  All
    York Harbor is for the Allies, beginning with Mrs. Bell, who lives two doors
    away from me.  She still is the brightest of octogenarians.  Perry was down
    to see me before dooming himself to Hancock.  He is your most pathetically
    constant adorer, and on the whole I should say your worship was speading
    among us.  I am comparatively a dead cult with my statues cut down and the
    grass growing over them in the moonlight.
        There is now a great wash of young poetry on these shores, some of it
    not so bad.  Pilla and I spend our days gardening by day and reading by
    night.  We have a deliciously large, cool house -- no such oven as we baked
    you in at Kittery Point ten years ago.  I am doing my miserable memoirs,
    which really make me sick; but I promised to do them.  I end them with going
    off to Venice. It is something awful and I wonder the more at the grace and
    ease with which you carry off your past in those two blithe books of yours.
    Your (sic) affectionately,
    W. D. Howells

    Gary Culbertson

    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
    A Word for the Dead" Online?
    i am currently working on an essay about the haymarket affair for a history course taught by prof. daniel walkowitz at nyu about reform and radicalism in America. 
    although i have already searched all the library catalogues accessible to me, i could not get hold of william dean howells "a word for the dead" yet. nevertheless i would like to include it in some way or the other into my essay. 
    i would therefore really appreciate it if you could tell me any book or website where the full text has been published so that i could possibly approach the library staff with more specific queries. if any member of the william dean howells society should be in posession of the full text and could send it to my e-mail account (in case the text is not too long) i would be eternally grateful. 

    yours sincerely,
    anita wolfartsberger, mailto:awolfartsberger@yahoo.de

    Re:  The Query regarding "A Word for the Dead"

    "A Word for the Dead" can be reconstructed easily from two books on WDH.  

    The bulk of the letter, lacking the opening paragraph is included in Cady's volume, The Realist at War, on pages 73-77.  The first paragraph is in William Alexander's book William Dean Howells: The Realist as Humanist (Burt Franklin & Company, 1981) on page 89.

    The Cady should be readily available, and it is the most of the lengthy letter.  If you would like a transcription of the first paragraph from
    Alexander, let me know.

    Gary Culbert

    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



    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.