William Dean Howells: A Critical Study

William Dean Howells: A Critical Study

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William Dean Howells: A Critical Study

William Dean Howells: A Critical Study

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Excerpt

Criticism has been reluctant to associate with William Dean Howells those human qualities he most prized or to identify the informing spirit of his art with the spirit of democratic living upon which he was most insistent. He will presently be established in the critical consciousness as a literary leader, as a social historian, and as an unrivalled technician. In the mind of the student of letters, he will emerge from the great artistic evolution that was consciously forming the world-literature of his time--the realistic movement, as we loosely style it--the most conspicuous figure on this side of the Atlantic. Many of less exclusive interests will look to him, with astonishment at the accuracy of his methods and at the length and singleness of his devotion, as an indispensable recorder of the national life. And his perfection in all that relates to literary handling ought to become a still more compelling source of refreshment and renewal to the fellows of his craft. But these valuations of his worth . . .

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