HOWELLS, WILLIAM DEAN. Born in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, March 1, 1837; [died in New York City, May 11, 1920]. Mr. Howells has long been acknowledged as a master of American fiction and the creator in America of what may be termed the naturalistic movement in this art. His early life followed the line of development of many an ambitious boy. His father was an editor at Hamilton, Ohio, and it was as a typesetter on his father's paper that Howells did his first work. After serving a general journalistic apprenticeship, at the age of twenty-one he became one of the editors of the Columbus, Ohio, "State Journal." Two years later, with the Ohio poet John Piatt, he made his first incursion into verse with "Poems of Two Friends." The diplomatic service next called him and from 1861 to 1865 he served as United States Consul to Venice. These delightful years, whose record is preserved in "Venetian Days" and "Italian Journeys," were sources of enrichment for Mr. Howells' future work. After returning to America he became editor of the "Atlantic Monthly," a position which he filled for ten years. In poetry Mr. Howells has published little, but in fiction he has been a voluminous writer and several of his novels, such as "The Rise of Silas Lapham," "Annie Kilburn," and "A Hazard of New Fortunes," have become classics.

This biographical note is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.



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