William Dean Howells

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Howells, William Dean


Born Mar. 1, 1837, in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio; died May 11, 1920, in New York City. American writer.

Howells was the son of a journalist. He became a reporter and later wrote a biography of Abraham Lincoln during the election campaign of 1860; from 1861 to 1865 he was the US consul in Venice. In the early novels, including Their Wedding Journey (1872) and A Chance Acquaintance (1873), Howells painted a penetratingly vivid picture of the life of the American aristocracy. Later, however, in the mid-1880’s, under the influence of the social strife in the USA, he emphasized themes of social criticism in his works, for example, the novels A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890; Russian translation, 1890) and The World of Chance (1893; Russian translation, 1898). Howells’ views became radicalized: he declared his sympathies with the socialism of the Christian reformist trend in the Utopian novels A Traveler From Altruria (1894; Russian translation, 1895) and Through the Eye of the Needle (1907) and condemned imperialistic wars. Howells was also the author of several books of travel essays, including Venetian Life (1866).

An authoritative literary critic, Howells was a champion of realistic art, and he popularized Russian (Turgenev and Tolstoy) and Western European (Ibsen, Zola, and Hardy) literature in the USA.


Representative Selections. New York [1961].
In Russian translation:
“Edita.” In Amerikanskaia novella, vol. 1. Moscow, 1958.


Istoriia amerikanskoi literatury, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
Elistratova, A. A. “Vil’iam Din Gouels i Genri Dzheims.” In Problemy istorii literatury SShA. Moscow, 1964.
Gilenson, B. A. “U. D. Khouells i sotsialisticheskoe dvizhenie.” Uch. zap. Ural’skogo un-ta, 1970, issue 15, no. 98.
Brooks V. W. Howells: His Life and World. New York, 1959.


References in periodicals archive ?
7) See Sender Garlin, William Dean Howells and the Haymarket Era (New York: American Institute for Marxist Studies, 1979), Robert L.
William Dean Howells traces the writer's life from his boyhood in Ohio before the Civil War, to his consularship in Italy under President Lincoln, to his rise as editor of the Atlantic Monthly.
The second chapter, "Creating Humor: Mark Twain and William Dean Howells," is an excellent, detailed account of the two men's forty-one-year friendship, one in which there was never even the whisper of a falling out.
I look forward to following in the tradition of William Dean Howells, Bernard DeVoto, and Lewis Lapham.
WHEN this short poem by William Dean Howells was first published in
As a means of theorizing African American literary history, Jarrett pairs his deans and truants against a long literary and social timeline: William Dean Howells and Paul Laurence Dunbar in the 1890s, Alain Locke and George S.
GORE VIDAL is America's premier man of letters," says Jay Parini in his introduction to The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal, and if after reading Vidal on William Dean Howells, Tennessee Williams, various dead Kennedys, and "American sissy" Theodore Roosevelt the reader denies it--well, hie on back to the MFA prison.
Few literary laymen concentrate much attention these days on William Dean Howells, John Peale Bishop, or Herbert Read, or are caught up in the Leavis-Snow controversy.
In 1889, following the completion of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Twain wrote to his friend and literary critic William Dean Howells, "Well, my book is written-let it go.
I also enjoyed reading "A Hazard of New Fortunes," written by William Dean Howells in 1890, which details the difficulties of securing viable living space in the New York metropolitan area.
The current situation for Warren is much like the situation was for William Dean Howells, one of Warren's most similar nineteenth-century predecessors, before critics like Amy Kaplan, Wai Chee Dimock, and Brook Thomas engineered new ways of reading and hence new interest in Howells's fiction.
Lutz focuses his analysis on specific figures in the varied intellectual landscapes of turn-of-the-century America including Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Dreiser, William James, Hamlin Garland, Edgar Saltus, Frank Norris, William Dean Howells, Mary E.