William Dean Howells: The Minister's Charge

(2149 words)
  • Max Lester Loges (Lamar University )

The Minister’s Charge or The Apprenticeship of Lemuel Barker marks a significant change in the fiction of William Dean Howells. He described the book to his friend Henry James as “an example of work in a new way—the performance of a man who won’t and can’t keep on doing what’s been done already” (Nettels, 153). Howells’ theme of mankind’s unity and the responsibility of individuals to each other was influenced by several works of Leo Tolstoy (such as The Cossacks), which he had been recently reading. Tolstoy’s advocacy of placing others’ interest before one’s own seemed to open up new opportunities for what Howells wanted to express in his own books. He described the discovery as being “somewhat …

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Loges, Max Lester. "The Minister's Charge". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 February 2016
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=176, accessed 27 September 2016.]