William Dean Howells
Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, originally Martinsville, to William Cooper and Mary Dean Howells, Howells was the second of eight children. His father was a newspaper editor and printer, and moved frequently around Ohio. Howells began to help his father with typesetting and printing work at an early age. During 1852, his father arranged to have one of Howells' poems published in the Ohio State Journal without telling him.
During 1856, Howells was elected as a Clerk in the State House of Representatives. During 1858, he began to work at the Ohio State Journal where he wrote poetry, short stories, and also translated pieces from French, Spanish, and German. He avidly studied German and... more »
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William Dean Howells Poems
SOMETHING lies in the room Over against my own; The windows are lit with a ghastly bloom Of candles, burning alone,
Friends And Foes
BITTER the things one’s enemies will say Against one sometimes when one is away, But of a bitterness far more intense
TOSSING his mane of snows in wildest eddies and tangles, Lion-like March cometh in, hoarse, with tempestuous breath, Through all the moaning chimneys, and 'thwart all the hollows and angles
The Bewildered Guest
I WAS not asked if I should like to come. I have not seen my host here since I came, Or had a word of welcome in his name.
From Generation To Generation
INNOCENT spirits, bright, immaculate ghosts! Why throng your heavenly hosts, As eager for their birth
Yes, death is at the bottom of the cup, And every one that lives must drink it up; And yet between the sparkle at the top
We sailed and sailed upon the desert sea Where for whole days we alone seemed to be. At last we saw a dim, vague line arise
OLD fraud, I know you in that gay disguise, That air of hope, that promise of surprise: Beneath your bravery, as you come this way,
HOW passionately I will my life away Which I would give all that I have to stay; How wildly I hurry, for the change I crave.
BEFORE Him weltered like a shoreless sea The souls of them that had not sought to be, With all their guilt upon them, and they cried,
WITHIN a poor man’s squalid home I stood: The one bare chamber, where his work-worn wife Above the stove and wash-tub passed her life,
SOMETIMES, when after spirited debate Of letters or affairs, in thought I go Smiling unto myself, and all aglow
SHE hung the cage at the window; 'If he goes by,' she said, 'He will hear my robin singing, And when he lifts his head,
In Earliest Spring
TOSSING his mane of snows in wildest eddies and tangles, Lion-like March cometh in, hoarse, with tempestuous breath,
Quotationsmore quotations »
''The mortality of all inanimate things is terrible to me, but that of books most of all.''William Dean Howells (1837-1920), U.S. novelist, critic. Letter, April 6, 1903, to editor Charles Eliot Norton.
''Some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week.''William Dean Howells (1837-1920), U.S. novelist, critic. Attributed.
''In Europe life is histrionic and dramatized, and ... in America, except when it is trying to be European, it is direct and sincere.''William Dean Howells (1837-1920), U.S. novelist, critic. "Their Silver Wedding Journey," Harper's (New York, September 1899).
Comments about William Dean Howells
SOMETHING lies in the room
Over against my own;
The windows are lit with a ghastly bloom
Of candles, burning alone,
Untrimmed, and all aflare
In the ghastly silence there!
People go by the door,
Tiptoe, holding their breath,
And hush the talk that they held before,
Lest they should waken Death,
That is awake all night
There in the candlelight!