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Bliss Perry, 1903.  Perry was editor of the Atlantic Monthly.
From Richard Chase, The American Novel and Its Tradition
From Richard Chase, The American Novel and Its Tradition
Bliss Perry, A Study of Prose Fiction (1903)
Picture courtesy of www.online-literature.com/ bierce/devilsdictionary/
From Richard Chase, The American Novel and Its Tradition
From Richard Chase, The American Novel and Its Tradition
A common complaint is that realistic works forced readers into proximity with people whom they would never invite for dinner.
P. 966.  Howells wrote the “Editor’s Study” for Harper’s Monthly Magazine from January 1886 to March 1892.  For links to all the articles online, go to http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/howells/edstudy.htm
This selection from the “Editor’s Study” for December 1887 features Howells’s famous comparison between the “ideal grasshopper” drawn from art, the model to which most writers aspire, and the “real grasshopper,” the model from life which Howells says that writers should study instead.
Image courtesy of http://www.100freewallpapers.com/animals/grasshopper.jpg
This much-misunderstood passage from the “Editor’s Study” (September 1886) has been used to show Howells’s timidity as a realist in the “genteel tradition.” What he actually advocates is that realist writers look at life rather than affecting a fashionable level of gloom to imitate the works of Russian writers such as Doestoevsky. Howells goes on to add this equally optimistic statement: “It will not do to boast, but it is well to be true to the facts, and to see that, apart from these purely mortal troubles, the race here enjoys conditions in which most of the ills that have darkened its annals may be averted by honest work and unselfish behavior. It is only now and then, when some dark shadow of our shameful past appears, that we can believe there ever was a tragic element in our prosperity.”
This essay is sometimes cited as the one that started the “realism war,” although most of the debate occurred later in the 1880s and 1890s.
From Punch.  See Michael Anesko’s Letters, Fictions, Lives for a good account of the controversy.
James later regretted his harsh, hasty judgment, which Howells learned about years later.
James was, of course, also a pioneer of psychological realism. 
Allen is replying to Henry James’s “William Dean Howells,” Harper’s Weekly  30 (19 June 1886): 394-95 and Maurice Thompson’s “The Analysts Analyzed,” Critic 9 (10 June 1886): 18-22) (Pizer, Documents of American Realism and Naturalism, 99).
Garland, Perry, Pellew, and others associated realism with democracy (Pizer 5).
Aldrich, a friend of Twain’s, was the author of The Story of a Bad Boy and An Old Town by the Sea.
Warner co-wrote The Gilded Age with Mark Twain and lived near Twain in the Nook Farm community in Hartford. He wrote the “Editor’s Drawer” column for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine  before taking over the “Editor’s Study” from Howells in 1892.
Bangs, John Kendrick. "Literary Notes." Harper's New Monthly Magazine 97 (November 1898): 1-2.  Image courtesy of http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/railton/sc_as_mt/70birthday/harpers04.html