William Dean Howells: A Hazard of New Fortunes

(908 words)
  • Michael Anesko (Penn State University)

With this novel, published in 1890, William Dean Howells (1837-1920) at last answered the call of his own campaign for literary realism in American letters. For years he had used his editorial powers at the Atlantic and Harper’s to promote realist theory and technique and to advocate on behalf of novelists who shared his dedication to the “simple and truthful treatment of material”. While his other fictions of the 1880s were all the while building in this direction – from The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) to The Minister’s Charge (1886) and Annie Kilburn (1889) – A Hazard of New Fortunes offered Howells the largest social arena in which to translate his theories into practice. The …

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Anesko, Michael. "A Hazard of New Fortunes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7147, accessed 01 October 2016.]