poet William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells
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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 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.
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  • ''Some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week.''
    William Dean Howells (1837-1920), U.S. novelist, critic. Attributed.
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  • ''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).
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Best Poem of William Dean Howells

Earliest Spring

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
   Round the shuddering house, threating of winter and death.

But in my heart I feel the life of the wood and the meadow
   Thrilling the pulses that own kindred with fibres that lift
Bud and blade to the sunward, within the inscrutable shadow,
   Deep in the oak's chill core, under the ...

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