William Dean Howells: Annie Kilburn

(1232 words)
  • Max Lester Loges (Lamar University )

Annie Kilburn was written during a time of great sorrow and consternation in the life of William Dean Howells. His sister, Victoria, had recently died from malaria and his daughter Winifred’s strange illness was growing worse. Furthermore, he was suffering repercussions from his recent call for clemency for the defendants in the Haymarket Riot trials. These troubles caused Howells, a man basically devoid of any faith in a supernatural religion, to seek some sort of identification with or commitment to something larger than himself -- something that calls forth that which is best within man. Howells found his answer in the philosophy of Leo Tolstoy, claiming that the famous author “was the human being with whom [he found …

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Loges, Max Lester. "Annie Kilburn". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 July 2016
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6575, accessed 25 September 2016.]