Speaking for Howells: Charting the Dean's Career Through the Language of His Characters Gregory J. Stratman Author
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This study examines William Dean Howells's intense interest in language, particularly literary language, and it illustrates how his use of language can be studied to indicate the evolution of his career. Since his views on language were so extensive and his canon of works so large, this study focuses on Howells's use of literary dialect in a representative number of works to support the following thesis: Howells's career charted a circular path from romanticism to realism back to romanticism, and the changes that his career experienced can be examined through an analysis of his extensive writings about language, and more specifically, through the language of his literary characters. In the end, this study shows that Howells's comments on language show a man whose opinions were strong and well reasoned but not always consistent and whose own literary works were inconsistent in following his own literary dictates.


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