Dig. Wass.

Literary Friends And Acquaintance

William Dean Howells

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Mr. William Dean Howells has written many books of several kinds which have entertained a great many people of all kinds, but no single book of any kind in which his various talents appear to such advantage to themselves and enjoyment of their readers as in his 'Literary Friends and Acquaintance', which, briefly described as a personal retrospect of American authorship, is in reality a series of portraits and miniatures of American men, women and, figuratively, in some cases, children of the pen, a gallery of literary likenesses, drawn from life, with a skillful but kindly pencil, and in the light that lingers like a halo around their lessening memories. Mr. Howells divides his retrospects into eight parts, and being personal they are in a sense chronological — successive records of his autorial career, the steps of his journeys into the domain of authorship, and his impressions of certain of their inhabitants, of their individualities — their work, or play, or whatever else seemed to distinguish them at the moment from the profane or vulgar, who did not write for fame, or scribble for bread. The headings of these parts, or chapters, are indications of these journeys, which were eastward, Mr. Howells' course of empire reversing that of Bishop Berkeley, which took its way westward, the first being entitled '"My First Visit to New England," the second "First Impressions of Literary New York," the third and fourth "Roundabout to Boston" and "Literary Boston as I Knew It," and so on through separate personal chapters devoted to Holmes, Longfellow and Lowell, the last being a gathering-in of Mr. Howells' "Cambridge Neighbors."

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