William Dean Howells

Michael Anesko (Penn State University)
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William Dean Howells, a principal advocate for literary realism in the United States, was born on the first of March, 1837, in the Western Reserve region of Ohio. Three years later, William Cooper Howells (the novelist’s father) moved his family from Martin’s Ferry to the town of Hamilton, Ohio, where he continued his career as a country printer and edited a newspaper for the Whig Party. Pragmatic in his politics, the elder Howells was less orthodox in matters of religion, having converted from his family’s Quaker faith to the mystical doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg. Millennial enthusiasm eventually affected his political leanings, as Howells’s father embraced utopian socialism in the 1840s and, later, the righteous sentiments o…

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Citation: Anesko, Michael. "William Dean Howells". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001 [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2237, accessed 02 October 2023.]

2237 William Dean Howells 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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