William Dean Howells: The Rise of Silas Lapham

(1019 words)
  • Michael Anesko (Penn State University)

From a career spanning half a century and a tally of works including thirty-five full length novels, The Rise of Silas Lapham remains conspicuous in the oeuvre of William Dean Howells (1837-1920) for its readerly longevity. Since its appearance in 1885, the novel has never been out of print, even while the author’s reputation has suffered the vicissitudes of changing tastes and shifting canonical preferences. Like one of its title character’s favorite fleet-footed horses, the novel came out of the gate at full gallop. London’s Saturday Review immediately declared that “The Rise of Silas Lapham is a novel which no one can neglect who cares to understand American character. Any one who wishes to gain an …

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Anesko, Michael. "The Rise of Silas Lapham". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 February 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7593, accessed 28 September 2016.]