William Dean Howells

Biography

(1837-1920)

From his days of typesetting as a child for his newspaperman father to his time as chief editor for the Atlantic Monthly, William Dean's Howells lived the writer's life. His first poem was published at age 12, and by age 19 he had been elected clerk of the Ohio State House of Representatives. Two years later he went to work writing for the Ohio State Journal and eventually he would write for Abraham Lincoln's Campaign. Under Lincoln, he served as consul to Venice and upon returning to America began writing, and then editing for the Atlantic Monthly, where he was made chief editor in 1871. Howells' first big novel, A Modern Instance, was published in 1882 and he published several others, including The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), Annie Kilburn (1888), and A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890). Howells was a realist. He was a close friend to Mark Twain, and as editor at the Atlantic Monthly, and then later at Harper's Magazine, he promoted realism through his own editorial writing as well as through the work he accepted for publication. Later in his life he would be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and he eventually became president of the Academy.

(Compiled by Joey Franklin)

See also

Essays by William Dean Howells

I talk of dreams

The dreamer is purely unmoral; good and bad are the same to his conscience; he has no more to do with right and wrong than the animals.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana by Patrick Madden

Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies. If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.

"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier

2011 Symposium on the Essay
Welcome Table Press Symposium on the Essay

Friend of Quotidiana Kim Dana Kupperman's Welcome Table Press is hosting a one-day symposium at Fordham University on Saturday, October 15th, 2011. In Praise of the Essay: Practice & Form will feature talks and discussions by Phillip Lopate, Robin Hemley, Barbara Hurd, and more.

Search

Join Us on Facebook
facebook logo

Changes are happening beneath the hood of Quotidiana. Sign up for our Facebook group to stay up to date on site and essay news.

Essayists
Essays