The Impact of Economics on the Art of William Bean Howells

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Authors
Stewart, Archie Lawrence
Issue Date
1954
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Thesis
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en_US
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Abstract
As the vagaries of human nature and the vicissitudes of human existence magnify the difficulties in arriving at true biographical and critical appreciation, so the general limits of the intellect geometrically oppose the complete and comprehensive understanding of a life so long and a pen so prolific as that of William Bean Howells. For nearly a hundred years, and through over a hundred volumes, the variegated patterns of hie life and ideas oppose reduction to biographical or literary formula. |There is, however, a single motivating current clearly traceable throughout Howells' life: a force that contributes strongly in the molding of his character, in formulating his ideals, in establishing his sense of values. That force is economics. By approaching Howells with this in mind, the question of why a capable and efficient writer never became a great one may become leas perplexing. |It will not, of course, give a complete, concise, nor final picture of the man or his art, but a study of Howells' economic life will help us to understand his brilliant but evanescent career. The following pages have been devoted to this study, with the purpose in mind to, emphasize the effect of Howells' economic circumstances upon his, life, his art, and his significance as an artist.
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Creighton University
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