Despite efforts at revival by John Updike and others, William Dean
Howells still remains in the shadows of his close friends Mark
Twain and Henry James. This book works against decades of
unfavorable comparisons with these literary giants. William Dean
Howells and the Ends of Realism helps us to see him as a writer
very much aware of his limitations and of his enormous importance
in the development of an American literary tradition. A close look
at his late works gives us a richer understanding of this powerful
moment of transition in American literature, a moment when Howells
and his venerable friends were inspiring and anointing a new
generation of writers and taking a long, hard look at their own
legacies and contributions.
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