William Dean Howells; a study of the achievement of a literary artist

William Dean Howells; a study of the achievement of a literary artist

by Alexander Harvey
     
 

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This is an OCR edition with typos.
Excerpt from book:
THE HOWELLS AMERICAN A Miracle of the literary art of Howells is achieved time and again in this use of what to an inexperienced critic might seem the hackneyed. Howells…  See more details below

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free.
This is an OCR edition with typos.
Excerpt from book:
THE HOWELLS AMERICAN A Miracle of the literary art of Howells is achieved time and again in this use of what to an inexperienced critic might seem the hackneyed. Howells never consents to go beyond the facts of human experience for his material. His art rests upon life as we Americans live it. He has no adventitious aids in the form of artificial plots, gods out of machines, climaxes. The scene is commonplace. The conversation is that which we all overhear. The types are familiar. The effect is invariably beautiful. It seems incredible that things like this can happen all around us without our special wonder. It is amazing to find that we Americans can be so interesting in our dullness, our insipidity, our lack of the picturesque in character, our temperamental destitution. More unexpected than anything else is the discovery that American humor is in its essence so subtle, so refined, so complex and yet so patent. There is an impression that American humor is a form of horseplay when it is not wild exaggeration. Howells has disproved that fallacy. Turning, now, from Howells the literary artist to another aspect of his work altogether, it seems to me that he has understood his countrymen, the essential native American, with a comprehensiveness unexampled in fiction. Dickens understood the English in many respects, but he did not understand his countrymen through and through as Howells understands Americans through and through. For instance, Dickens is not apparently happy in delineating all ranks and types of Englishmen. Howells goes from the bottom of American society to the top with equal ease although not, I admit, with equal sympathy. Here again he suggests Balzac. The cultivated American gentleman, the finished American lady, the country bumpkin, the factory Perfect A...

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940022111255
Publisher:
New York, B. W. Huebsch
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
303 KB

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