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Literary Realism Essay Sample

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Literary realism is the trend, beginning with mid nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors, towards depictions of contemporary life and society as it was, or is. In the spirit of general “realism,” Realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_realism

Realism
Even though there are rumblings of it in earlier decades (Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, for instance, published in 1850), realism doesn’t become the dominant literary style in the U.S. until the 1870s. And it’s the influence of one hugely important novelist and literary critic, a guy named William Dean Howells (his most famous novel is The Rise of Silas Lapham, 1885), that really makes it dominant. Howells, Henry James, and Mark Twain are the movement’s most famous practitioners. So how can you tell “realist” literature when you see it? There are a few ways. * Realism tries hard (as its name suggests) to present the world as it really is — the way, for instance, a photograph might capture it. Howells writes that “realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material.” Since it tries so hard to be truthful, realist literature, unlike much of the “romantic” writing that preceded it, never feels overblown, the way a fairy tale or a parable or a dream might. And it’s rarely sentimental or emotional.

It tends to read like a plain, sensible, sober account of whatever action it’s describing. * This concern with delivering plain and simple truth leads realists to fill their works with details and facts drawn from everyday life. They can be facts about domestic life, about families and genealogies, about history, about politics, about business and finance, about geographical places…whatever. But to make us believe in the reality of the worlds they show us, realists fill their literature with facts to bolster the reader’s feeling that, yes, this place I’m reading about is just like the everyday world I live in. * Speaking of the “everyday,” it’s another important concept in realist works. Realists, generally speaking, don’t write about extraordinary people in fantastic situations. They write about plain, normal, everyday folks dealing with the trials and tribulations of plain, normal, everyday life. Melville’s Moby Dick (1851), which pretty much defines the romantic literary period that came before realism, is about a crazed sea captain named Ahab who’s obsessed with killing the biggest, fiercest whale in the world — not an everyday person in an everyday situation. Realist literature, on the other hand, might often leave you saying, “That one character totally reminds me of my aunt.” Again, everyday folks doing everyday things.

* Since writers are most likely to be factual and convey a sense of everyday-ness when dealing with subjects they know intimately, many realists write specifically about places where they live or have grown up. There’s a whole subcategory of American realism, in fact, called “local color,” which tries hard to convey the reality of particular places in the U.S. It’s interesting to note, too, that a whole lot of this local-color realism is set in different parts of the Midwest. Up until the realists’ time, most American literature is about the East (New England especially). But the fact that the American West is becoming increasingly settled late in the 19th century — and that Americans at this time are fascinated with the notion of “manifest destiny” — leads to a boom in literature about the nation’s newer territories. * Setting their works in specific places leads realist writers to make use of specific dialects, or speech patterns that are particular to certain locales. Before the realists’ time, most characters in American literature were simply expected to speak the Queen’s English, like good gentlemen and ladies.

In the realist period, though, writers make a conscious effort to let American characters speak various types of American English. A white man in rural Missouri doesn’t, of course, speak like an English gentleman, so it wouldn’t be factual and “truthful” to make him sound that way. Similarly, a black woman from rural Missouri may not speak the same way a white woman from the same place does, so it wouldn’t be factual and truthful to make her speak in anything other than her dialect. Realists have to have an excellent ear to make their characters sound like real Americans. And by representing different American dialects, these writers help create a genuinely American body of literature — that is, a set of works distinguishable from the European lit most Americans of that time have grown up reading. * Realism generally celebrates the individual. Most realist works feature a central character who has to deal with some moral struggle, hopefully to arrive at an important moral victory or realization before the story’s over.

And this, relatedly, often means much of the “action” in realist lit is internal action: we hear lots about what’s going on in central characters’ heads; we learn a lot about those characters’ psychologies. Since realist characters live in the “everyday” world, interesting external things aren’t always happening — so the “internal” stuff has to take up the slack. One way or the other, though, realist writers are fascinated by individuals: they love the idea that single human beings must learn, grow, and change their worlds — or be held responsible for failing to do these things. * One last thing: realist works are generally plot driven, even if only subtly. This means they pivot around conflicts we as readers want to see resolved. A realist work, then, will typically have at least one protagonist (a main character — not necessarily a likeable person or “hero”) and at least one antagonist (another character or a force that will try to prevent the protagonist from getting what s/he wants), and readers will wait to see, as they watch a sequence of increasingly dramatic events, who prevails. This is how any standard story works, but it’s important to note that realism does these things, too, because the modernist stuff we’ll look at later often refuses to provide plot, going in for more fragmented or “stream of consciousness” modes of storytelling instead.

http://faculty.bucks.edu/docarmos/RealismNaturalism.html

Realism
the dominant paradigm in novel writing during the second half of the nineteenth century was no longer the Romantic idealism of the earlier part of the century. What took hold among the great novelists in Europe and America was a new approach to character and subject matter, a school of thought which later came to be known as Realism. On one level, Realism is precisely what it sounds like. It is attention to detail, and an effort to replicate the true nature of reality in a way that novelists had never attempted. There is the belief that the novel’s function is simply to report what happens, without comment or judgment. Seemingly inconsequential elements gain the attention of the novel functioning in the realist mode.

From Henry James, for example, one gets a sense of being there in the moment, as a dense fabric of minute details and observations is constructed. This change in style meant that some of the traditional expectations about the novel’s form had to be pushed aside. In contrast to what came before, the realistic novel rests upon the strengths of its characters rather than plot or turn of phrase. The characters that the realistic school of novelists produced are some of the most famous in literary history, from James’s Daisy Miller to Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov. They are psychologically complicated, multifaceted, and with conflicting impulses and motivations that very nearly replicate the daily tribulations of being human. http://www.online-literature.com/periods/realism.php

Mark Twain [pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), quintessential American humorist, lecturer, essayist, and author wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876); “Tom did play hookey, and he had a very good time. He got back home barely in season to help Jim, the small colored boy, saw next-day’s wood and split the kindlings before supper–at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did three-fourths of the work. Tom’s younger brother (or rather half-brother) Sid was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet boy, and had no adventurous, trouble-some ways.” Ch. 1 Protagonist Tom Sawyer is introduced together with his friends Joe Harper and Huck Finn, young boys growing up in the antebellum South. While the novel was initially met with lukewarm enthusiasm, its characters would soon transcend the bounds of their pages and become internationally beloved characters, inspiring numerous other author’s works and characters and adaptations to the stage, television, and film.

The second novel in his Tom Sawyer adventure series, Huckleberry Finn (1885), was met with outright controversy in Twain’s time but is now considered one of the first great American novels. A backdrop of colourful depictions of Southern society and places along the way, Huck Finn, the son of an abusive alcoholic father and Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, decide to flee on a raft down the Mississippi river to the free states. Their river raft journey has become an oft-used metaphor of idealistic freedom from oppression, broken family life, racial discrimination, and social injustice. Ernest Hemingway wrote “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Missouri was one of the fifteen slave states when the American Civil War broke out, so Twain grew up amongst the racism, lynch mobs, hangings, and general inhumane oppression of African Americans. He and some friends joined the Confederate side and formed a militia group, the ‘Marion Rangers’, though it disbanded after a few weeks, described in “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed” (1885). His article “The War Prayer” (1923) “in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause” is Twain’s condemnation of hypocritical patriotic and religious motivations for war.

It was not published until after his death because of his family’s fear of public outrage, to which it is said Twain quipped “none but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.” Though he never renounced his Presbyterianism, he wrote other irreligious pieces, some included in his collection of short stories Letters From Earth (1909); “Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm.” Mark Twain grew to despise the injustice of slavery and any form of senseless violence. He was opposed to vivisection and acted as Vice-President of the American Anti-Imperialist League for nine years. Through his works he illuminates the absurdity of humankind, ironically still at times labeled a racist. Though sometimes caustic “Of all the creatures that were made he [man] is the most detestable,” as a gifted public speaker he was a much sought after lecturer “information appears to stew out of me naturally, like the precious ottar of roses out of the otter.” —from his Preface to Roughing It (1872).

He is the source of numerous and oft-quoted witticisms and quips including“Whenever I feel the urge to exercise I lie down until it goes away”; “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes”; “Familiarity breeds contempt — and children”; “The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes” ; and “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Twain is a master in crafting humorous verse with sardonic wit, and though with biting criticism at times he disarms with his renderings of colloquial speech and unpretentious language. Through the authentic depiction of his times he caused much controversy and many of his works have been suppressed, censored or banned, but even into the Twenty-First Century his works are read the world over by young and old alike. A prolific lecturer and writer even into his seventy-fourth year, he published more than thirty books, hundreds of essays, speeches, articles, reviews, and short stories, many still in print today. Early Years and Life on the River 1830-1860

Mark Twain was born in Florida, Missouri on 30 November 1835, the sixth child born to Jane Lampton (1803-1890) and John Marshall Clemens (1798-1847). In 1839 the Twain family moved to their Hill Street home, now the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum with its famous whitewashed fence, in the bustling port city of Hannibal, Missouri. Situated on the banks of the Mississippi river it would later provide a model for the fictitious town of St. Petersburg in Huckleberry Finn andTom Sawyer. When Twain’s father died in 1847 the family was left in financial straits, so eleven year old Samuel left school (he was in grade 5) and obtained his first of many jobs working with various newspapers and magazines including the Hannibal Courieras journeyman printer. “So I became a newspaperman. I hated to do it, but I couldn’t find honest employment.” He also started writing, among his first stories “A Gallant Fireman” (1851) and “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” (1852).

After traveling to and working in New York and Philadelphia for a few years he moved back to St. Louis in 1857. It was here that the lure of the elegant steamboats and festive crowds drew his attention and he became an apprentice ‘cub’ river pilot under Horace Bixby, earning his license in 1858. As a successful pilot plying his trade between St. Louis and New Orleans, Twain also grew to love the second longest river in the world which he describes affectionately in his memoir Life on the Mississippi (1883). “The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book — a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.”

An important part of a river pilot’s craft is knowing the waters and depths, which, for the mighty Mississippi and her reefs, snags, and mud are ever changing. To ‘mark twain’ is to sound the depths and deem them safe for passage, the term adopted by Clemens as his pen name in 1863. In 1858 his brother Henry died in an explosion on the steamboat Pennsylvania. Life on the river would provide much fodder for Twain’s future works that are at times mystical, often sardonic and witty, always invaluable as insight into the human condition. Beyond the Banks in the 1860’s

With the outbreak of Civil War in 1861 passage on the Mississippi was limited, so at the age of twenty-six Twain moved on from river life to the high desert valley in the silver mining town of Carson City, Nevada with his brother Orion, who had just been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory. He had never traveled out of the state but was excited to venture forth on the stagecoach in the days before railways, described in his semi-autobiographical novel Roughing It (1872). Twain tried his hand at mining on Jackass Hill in California in 1864, and also began a prolific period of reporting for numerous publications including the Territorial Enterprise, The Alta Californian, San Francisco Morning Call, Sacramento Union and The Galaxy. He traveled to various cities in America, met Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles Dickens in New York, and visited various countries in Europe, Hawaii, and the Holy Land which he based Innocents Abroad (1869) on. Short stories from this period include “Advice For Little Girls” (1867) and “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County” (1867). Marriage, Tramping Abroad, and Success

In 1870 Twain married Olivia ‘Livy’ Langdon (1845-1904) with whom he would have four children. Three died before they reached their twenties but Clara (1870-1962) lived to the age of eighty-eight. The Twain’s home base was now Hartford, Connecticut, where in 1874 Twain built a home, though they traveled often. Apart from numerous short stories he wrote during this time and Tom Sawyer, Twain also collaborated on The Gilded Age (1873) with Charles Dudley Warner. A Tramp Abroad (1880), Twain’s non-fiction satirical look at his trip through Germany, Italy, and the Alps and somewhat of a sequel to Innocents Abroad was followed by The Prince and the Pauper (1882). Hank Morgan, time traveler in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) reflects Twain’s friendship with pioneering inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla and interest in scientific inventions. Twain also continued to uphold a busy lecture series throughout the United States. In 1888 he was awarded an honorary Master of Art degree from Yale University.

For some years Twain had lost money in various money making schemes like mining, printing machines, the Charles L. Webster Publishing Co., and The Mark Twain Self-Pasting Scrap Book though he never lost his sense of humour. In 1892, friend and fellow humorist and author Robert Barr, writing as ‘Luke Sharp’ interviewed Twain forThe Idler magazine that he owned with Jerome K. Jerome. Twain’s novel The American Claimant (1892) was followed by The Tragedy of Pudd’Nhead Wilson (1894), first serialized in Century Magazine. Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) was followed by Tom Sawyer, Detective in 1896. His favourite fiction novel, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896) was first serialised in Harper’s Magazine. By 1895, unable to control his debts, he set off on a world lecture tour to Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, and South Africa to pay them off. Following the Equator (1897) is his travelogue based on his tour, during which he met Mahatma Gandhi, Sigmund Freud, and Booker T. Washington. With another successful lecture tour under his belt and now much admired and celebrated for his literary efforts, Mark, Livy and their daughter Jane settled in New York City.

Yale University bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1901 and in 1907 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by Oxford University. The same year A Horse’s Tale and Christian Science (1907) were published. While traveling in Italy in 1904, Livy died in Florence. For Twain’s 70th birthday on 30 November 1905 he was fêted at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York, where he delivered his famous birthday speech, wearing his trademark all-year round white suit. That year he was also a guest of American President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt at the White House and addressed the congressional committee on copyright issues. He was also working on his biography with Albert Bigelow Paine. His daughter Jane became very sick and was committed to an institution, but died in 1909 of an epileptic seizure. In 1908 Twain had moved to his home ‘Stormfield’ in Redding, Connecticut, though he still actively traveled, especially to Bermuda. Mark Twain died on 21 April 1910 in Redding, Connecticut and now rests in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Livy’s hometown of Elmira, New York State, buried beside her and the children.

A memorial statue and cenotaph in the Eternal Valley Memorial Park of Los Angeles, California states: “Beloved Author, Humorist, and Western Pioneer, This Original Marble Statue Is The Creation Of The Renowned Italian Sculptor Spartaco Palla Of Pietrasanta.” Twain suffered many losses in his life including the deaths of three of his children, and accumulated large debts which plagued him for many years, but at the time of his death he had grown to mythic proportions as the voice of a spirited and diverse nation, keen observer and dutiful reporter, born and died when Halley’s Comet was visible in the skies. “Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all—the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.” —Twain’s last written statement Biography written by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2006. All Rights Reserved. To Jennie

Good-bye! a kind good-bye,
I bid you now, my friend,
And though ’tis sad to speak the word,
To destiny I bend

And though it be decreed by Fate
That we ne’er meet again,
Your image, graven on my heart,
Forever shall remain.

Aye, in my heart thoult have a place,
Among the friends held dear,-
Nor shall the hand of Time efface
The memories written there.
Goodbye,
S.L.C.
Mark Twain
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/to-jennie-2/
To Jennie . It is very straight forward in conveying its message . It is also rather short , containing only three stanzas . The poem offers a sincere goodbye to a friend who died . It is about acceptance of one ‘s passing without completely forgetting . In the last stanza , the poem was signed S .L .C ‘ which stands for Twain ‘s real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Baetzhold 357 Jennie must have been a personal friend of the author , as he did not use his pseudonym instead , he used the initials of his real name.

William Dean Howells
William Dean Howells (March 1, 1837 – May 11, 1920) was an American realist author and literary critic. He was known for the Christmas story “Christmas Every Day” and the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham. Mr. Howells has written a long series of poems, novels, sketches, stories, and essays, and has been perhaps the most continuous worker in the literary art among American writers. He was born at Martin’s Perry, Belmont County, Ohio, March 1, 1837, and the experiences of his early life have been delightfully told by himself in A Boy’s Town, My Year in a Log Cabin, and My Literary Passions. These books, which seem like pastimes in the midst of Howells’s serious work, are likely to live long, not only as playful autobiographic records, but as vivid pictures of life in the middle west in the middle of the nineteenth century. The boy lived in a home where frugality was the law of economy, but where high ideals of noble living were cheerfully maintained, and the very occupations of the household tended to stimulate literary activity.

He read voraciously and with an instinctive scent for what was great and permanent in literature, and in his father’s printing-office learned to set type, and soon to make contributions to the local journals. He went to the state Capitol to report the proceedings of the legislature, and before he was twenty-two had become news editor of the State Journal of Columbus, Ohio. But at the same time he had given clear intimations of his literary skill, and had contributed several poems to the Atlantic Monthly. His introduction to literature was in the stirring days just before the war for the Union, and he had a generous enthusiasm for the great principles which were then at stake. Yet the political leaven chiefly caused the bread he was baking to rise, and his native genius was distinctly for work in creative literature. His contribution to the political writing of the day, besides his newspaper work, was a small campaign life of Lincoln; and shortly after the incoming of the first Republican administration he received the appointment of consul at Venice. At Venice he remained from 1861 to 1865, and these years may fairly be taken as standing for his university training.

He carried with him to Europe some conversance with French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and an insatiable thirst for literature in these, languages. Naturally now he concentrated his attention on the Italian language and literature, but after all he was not made for a microscopic or encyclopaedic scholar, least of all for a pedant. What he was looking for in literature, though he scarcely so stated it to himself at the time, was human life, and it was this first-hand acquaintance he was acquiring with life in another circumstance that constituted his real training in literature. To pass from Ohio straight to Italy, with the merest alighting by the way in New York and Boston, was to be transported from one world to another; but he carried with him a mind which had already become naturalized in the large world of history and men through the literature in which he had steeped his mind. No one can read the record of the books he had revelled in, and observe the agility with which he was absorbed, successively, in books of greatly varying character, without perceiving how wide open were the windows of his mind; and as the light streamed in from all these heavens, so the inmate looked out with unaffected interest on the views spread before him.

Thus it was that Italy and Venice in particular afforded him at once the greatest delight and also the surest test of his growing power. The swift observation he had shown in literature became an equally rapid survey of all these novel forms before him. The old life embedded in this historic country became the book whose leaves he turned, but he looked with the greatest interest and most sympathetic scrutiny on that which passed before his eyes. It was novel, it was quaint, it was filled with curious, unexpected betrayals of human nature, but it was above all real, actual, a thing to be touched and as it were fondled by hands that were deft by nature and were quickly becoming more skilful by use. Mr. Howells began to write letters home which were printed in the Boston Daily Advertiser, and grew easily into a book which still remains in the minds of many of his readers the freshest of all his writings,Venetian Life. This was followed shortly by Italian Journeys, in which Mr. Howells gathered his observations made in going from place to place in Italy. A good many years later, after returning to the country of his affection, he wrote a third book of a similar character under the title of Tuscan Cities.

But his use of Italy in literature was not confined to books of travels; he made and published studies of Italian literature, and he wove the life of the country into fiction in a charming manner. Illustrations may be found in A Foregone Conclusion, one of the happiest of his novels, whose scene is laid in Venice, in The Lady of the Aroostook, and in many slight sketches. When Mr. Howells returned to America at the close of his term as consul, he found warm friends whom he had made through his writings. He served for a short time on the staff ofThe Nation, of New York, and then was invited to Boston to take the position of assistant editor of theAtlantic Monthly under Mr. Fields. This was in 1866, and five years later, on the retirement of Mr. Fields, he became editor, and remained in the position until 1881, living during this period in Cambridge. He was not only editor of the magazine; he was really its chief contributor. Any one who takes the trouble to examine the pages of the Atlantic Index will see how far his work outnumbers in titles that of all other contributors, and the range of his work was great.

He wrote a large proportion of the reviews of books, which in those days constituted a marked feature of the magazine. These reviews were conscientiously written, and showed penetration and justice, but they had besides a felicitous and playful touch which rendered them delightful reading, even though one knew little or cared little for the book reviewed. Sometimes, though not often, he wrote poems, but readers soon learned to look with eagerness for a kind of writing which seemed almost more individual with him than any other form of writing. We mean the humorous sketches of every-day life, in which he took scenes of the commonest sort and drew from them an inherent life which most never suspected, yet confessed the moment he disclosed it. He would do such a common-place thing as take an excursion down the harbor, or even a ride to town in a horse-car, and come back to turn his experience into a piece of genuine literature. A number of these pieces were collected into a volume entitledSuburban Sketches. It is interesting to observe how slowly yet surely Mr. Howells drew near the great field of novel-writing, and how deliberately he laid the foundations of his art.

First, the graceful sketch which was hardly more than a leaf out of his note-book; then the blending of travel with character-drawing, as in A Chance Acquaintance and Their Wedding Journey, and later stories of people who moved about and thus found the incidents which the author had not to invent, as in The Lady of the Aroostook. Meanwhile, the eye which had taken note of surface effects was beginning to look deeper into the springs of being, and the hand which had described was beginning to model figures also which stood alone. So there followed a number of little dramatic sketches, where the persons of the drama carried on their little play; and since they were not on a stage before the spectator, the author constructed a sort of literary stage for the reader; that is to say, he supplied by paragraphs what in a regular play would be stage directions. This is seen in such little comedies as A Counterfeit Presentment, which, indeed, was put on the stage. But instead of pushing forward on this line into the field of great drama, Mr. Howells contented himself with dexterous strokes with a fine pen, so to speak, and created a number of sparkling farces like The Parlor Car.

The real issue of all this practice in the dramatic art was to disengage the characters he created from too close dependence on the kind of circumstance, as of travel, which the author did not invent, and to give them substantial life in the working out of the drama of their spiritual evolution. Thus by the time he was released from editorial work, Mr. Howells was ready for the thorough-going novel, and he gave to readers such examples of art as A Modern Instance, The Rise of Silas Lapham, and that most important of all his novels, A Hazard of New Fortunes. By the time this last novel was written, he had become thoroughly interested, not merely in the men, women, and children about him, but in that mysterious, complex order named by us society, with its roots matted together as in a swamp, and seeming to many to be sucking up maleficent, miasmatic vapors from the soil in which it was rooted. Like many another lover of his kind, he has sought to trace the evils of individual life to their source in this composite order, and to guess at the mode by which society shall right itself and drink up healthy and life-giving virtues from the soil.

But it must not be inferred that his novels and other literary work have been by any means exclusively concerned with the reconstruction of the social order. He has indeed experimented with this theme, but he has always had a sane interest in life as he sees it, and with the increasing scope of his observation he has drawn his figures from a larger world, which includes indeed the world in which he first began to find his characters and their action. Not long after retiring from the Atlantic he went to live in New York, and varied his American experience with frequent travels and continued residence in Europe. For a while he maintained a department in Harper’s Magazine, where he gave expression to his views on literature and the dramatic art, and for a short period returned to the editorial life in conducting The Cosmopolitan; later he entered also the field of lecturing, and thus further extended the range of his observation.

For many years, Mr. Howells was the writer of “Editor’s Easy Chair” in Harper’s Magazine. In 1909 he was made president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Mr. Howells’s death occurred May 11, 1920. This in fine is the most summary statement of his career in literature,—that he has been a keen and sympathetic observer of life, and has caught its character, not like a reporter going about with a kodak and snapping it aimlessly at any conspicuous object, but like an alert artist who goes back to his studio after a walk and sets down his comments on what he has seen in quick, accurate sketches, now and then resolving numberless undrawn sketches into some one comprehensive and beautiful picture. http://www.online-literature.com/william-dean-howells/

FRIENDS AND FOES
by: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)
ITTER the things one’s enemies will say
Against one sometimes when one is away,
But of a bitterness far more intense
The things one’s friends will say in one’s defence.
“Friends and Foes” is reprinted from Harper’s Magazine, Volume 86, Issue 514 (March, 1893). http://www.poetry-archive.com/h/friends_and_foes.html

George Eliot [Mary Ann Evans] (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880 / Warwickshire, England) Mary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and well known for their realism and psychological insight.

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Sweet Endings Come and Go, Love
“La noche buena se viene,
La noche buena se va,
Y nosotros nos iremos
Y no volveremos mas.”
— Old Villancico.

Sweet evenings come and go, love,
They came and went of yore:
This evening of our life, love,
Shall go and come no more.

When we have passed away, love,
All things will keep their name;
But yet no life on earth, love,
With ours will be the same.

The daisies will be there, love,
The stars in heaven will shine:
I shall not feel thy wish, love,
Nor thou my hand in thine.

A better time will come, love,
And better souls be born:
I would not be the best, love,
To leave thee now forlorn.
George Eliot
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sweet-endings-come-and-go-love/

Henry James (1843-1916), noted American-born English essayist, critic, and author of the realism movement wrote The Ambassadors (1903), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and The Portrait of a Lady (1881); Henry James was born on 15 April 1843 in New York City, New York State, United States, the second of five children born to theologian Henry James Sr. (1811-1882) and Mary Robertson nee Walsh. Henry James Sr. was one of the most wealthy intellectuals of the time, connected with noted philosophers and transcendentalists as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne,Thomas Carlyle, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; fellow friends and influential thinkers of the time who would have a profound effect on his son’s life. Education was of the utmost importance to Henry Sr. and the family spent many years in Europe and the major cities of England, Italy, Switzerland, France, and Germany, his children being tutored in languages and literature. http://www.online-literature.com/henry_james/

Biography written by C. D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2008. All Rights Reserved. This Curse
He sits in his room
Startled by what he sees
Not knowing what to think
Not knowing what to believe

The trembling he feels
Strickins pain inside
He can’t run from his fears
He has no where to hide

‘What is this curse
that has fallen on me’
‘What did I learn’
What did I see

He knows so little
He suffers so much
He hears every whisper
He feels every touch

Finally he gives in
To whatever he’s done
The game still continues
But no one has fun
Henry James
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/this-curse/

Edith Wharton (1862-1937), American author, wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence (1920); Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer. Edith Newbold Jones was born into the wealthy family of George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Rhinelander on 24 January 1862 in New York City. She had two brothers, Frederic and Henry “Harry” Edward. To escape the bustling city, the family spent summers at ‘Pencraig’ on the shores of Newport Harbour in Newport, Rhode Island. When Edith was four years old they moved to Europe, spending the next five years traveling throughout Italy, Spain, Germany and France. Back in New York young Edith continued her education under private tutors. She learned French and German and a voracious reader, she studied literature, philosophy, science, and art which would also become a favourite subject of hers. She also started to write short stories and poetry.Fast and Loose was published in 1877 and Verses a collection of poems privately published in 1878. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the editor of Atlantic MonthlyWilliam Dean Howells are said to have read and been impressed by these early works. A Failure

(She Speaks.)

I MEANT to be so strong and true!
The world may smile and question, When?
But what I might have been to you
I cannot be to other men.
Just one in twenty to the rest,
And all in all to you alone, –
This was my dream; perchance ’tis best
That this, like other dreams, is flown.

For you I should have been so kind,
So prompt my spirit to control,
To win fresh vigor for my mind,
And purer beauties for my soul;
Beneath your eye I might have grown
To that divine, ideal height,
Which, mating wholly with your own,
Our equal spirits should unite.
Edith Wharton

“A Failure.”
Atlantic Monthly 45 (April 1880): 464-65.
http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/wharton/whartpoem.htm
STEPHEN CRANE an American novelist, short story writer, poet and journalist. Prolific throughout his short life, he wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Impressionism. He is recognized by modern critics as one of the most innovative writers of his generation.

Stephen Crane (1871-1900), American journalist, poet, and author wrote The Red Badge of Courage: an episode of the American Civil War (1895); An exemplary novel of realism, Henry Fleming’s experience as a new recruit and his struggles internal and external while under fire was hailed as a remarkable achievement for Crane and remains in print today. Crane lived a very short but eventful life–author and publisher Irving Bacheller hired him as reporter and he travelled across America, to Mexico, down to Cuba to report on the Spanish-American conflict, and later to Greece. He was respected by many authors, among them Henry James and H.G. Wells, and influenced many others including Joseph Conrad and Ernest Hemingway.

Stephen Townley Crane was born on 1 November 1871 at 14 Mulberry Place in Newark, New Jersey into the large family of Mary Helen Peck (1827-1891) and Jonathan Townley Crane (1819-1880), Methodist minister. After his father’s death the Cranes moved to 508-4th Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The home is now preserved as a museum. After attending public school, Crane attended the College of Liberal Arts at Syracuse University, but did not graduate. For many years he had been writing, but his first novel, which he published himself, Maggie, a Girl of the Streets: a Story of New York (1893) was unsuccessful. The grim story of a prostitute and tenement life did however gain the notice of editor and author William Dean Howells. Biography written by C. D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2007. All Rights Reserved. A man said to the universe:

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Stephen Crane
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-man-said-to-the-universe-2/

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