Their Husbands' Wives: Harper's Novelettes

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William Dean Howells, Henry Mills Alden
Kessinger Publishing, Apr 1, 2005 - Fiction - 188 pages
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1904. From the Introduction: In a certain sense all wives are Their Husbands' Wives, but in naming their little collection of tales, of varied interest but of single purport, the editors have had peculiarly in mind those wives who perpetuate in the latest woman the ideal of the earliest. It is an ideal which shines alike through the tender humor of Mr. Clemens's charming fantasy of the primal world, Mrs. Stuart Phelps's romance of our great, everyday, latter-day life, Mrs. Roach's interesting study of the truest and most modern of types, Mr. Pottle's rather grimly faithful portrayal of a situation for more frequent in marriage than has been owned, Mr. Hibbard's delicate divination of the secret of a woman's soul, and Mrs. Ellery Channing's hopeful and delightful hypothesis in a region of the heart perhaps too little explored by practical science.

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About the author (2005)

William Dean Howells was born on March 1, 1837, in Martin's Ferry, Ohio. Howells was forced to drop out of high school to work as a typesetter for his father. He later taught himself, becoming adept at German and Spanish. He soon became a reporter, eventually becoming editor of The Atlantic Monthly and Harper's magazines, as well as a literary critic. During his lifetime, Howells rubbed elbows with the great American authors of his day, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1861, he received a consulship at Venice, returning to the U.S. several years later to become assistant editor for The Atlantic Monthly. While his accomplishments are centered in the world of journalism, he also wrote numerous volumes of poetry and novels, such as The Undiscovered Country and A Chance Acquaintance. This last book, like many of his novels, was originally published in serial installments in The Atlantic Monthly. Many of his writings explore the changing face of society in America, often contrasting it with life in Europe. His novel entitled, The rise of Silas Lapham illustrated what was referred to in the late 1800's as the rise of the Nouveau Riche. Howells was known for his comedic descriptions of the differences in class that existed at that time. Howells's other significant contribution to literature was his notice of and commentary on the merits of Henry James and Mark Twain. He received several honorary degrees from universities as well as a Gold Medal for fiction (later renamed after him as the Howells Medal) from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He died on May 11, 1920 in New York City.

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