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A Sleep and a Forgetting

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Unless she was out of her mind there was no way of accounting for her behavior...

Nowhere in the prodigious output of William Dean Howells is there an example more poignant of his heart-felt dedication to the realist movement than this achingly suspensfull novella.

The story centers on a young "alienist"—a psychologist—who meets a young woman who, at subsequent encounters, has no recollection of him. The doctor launches a psychological investigation that appears to be based upon the most painful memories of the author himself—Howells had recently experienced the loss of a beloved adult daughter (from what appears to have been anorexia) and the institutionalization of another for "emotional collapse."

The story's surprising ending reveals not only the author's deft sense of craftsmanship, but speaks movingly to his enduring faith in the sublime power of literature.

The Art of The Novella Series

Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the ART OF THE NOVELLA series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

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Unless she was out of her mind there was no way of accounting for her behavior...

Nowhere in the prodigious output of William Dean Howells is there an example more poignant of his heart-felt dedication to the realist movement than this achingly suspensfull novella.

The story centers on a young "alienist"—a psychologist—who meets a young woman who, at subsequent encounters, has no recollection of him. The doctor launches a psychological investigation that appears to be based upon the most painful memories of the author himself—Howells had recently experienced the loss of a beloved adult daughter (from what appears to have been anorexia) and the institutionalization of another for "emotional collapse."

The story's surprising ending reveals not only the author's deft sense of craftsmanship, but speaks movingly to his enduring faith in the sublime power of literature.

The Art of The Novella Series

Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the ART OF THE NOVELLA series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

Product Details
eBook (96 pages)
Published: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Melville House
Imprint: Melville House
ISBN: 9781612192437
Other books byWilliam Dean Howells
  • A Hazard of New Fortunes

    A Hazard of New Fortunes
    Centering on a conflict between a self-made millionaire and an idealistic reformer in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York, A Hazard of New Fortunes insightfully renders the complexities of the American experience at a time of great social and economic upheaval and transformation. In its depiction of wealth, poverty, and New York City life, it remains a strikingly contemporary work. Reproduced here is the authoritative Indiana University Press Edition edited and annotated by David J. Nordloh, with full scholarly commentary and extensive textual apparatus.

    The Rise of Silas Lapham

    The Rise of Silas Lapham
    “Let fiction cease to lie about life; let it portray men and women as they are, actuated by the motives and the passions in the measure we all know.”—William Dean Howells The Rise of Silas Lapham, first published in book form in 1885, was the first important novel to center on the American businessman and the first to treat its theme with a realism that was to foreshadow the work of modern writers. In his story of Silas Lapham—one of the millionaires who flourished with the expanding industrialization of the post-Civil War years—William Dean Howells probed the moral and social conflicts that confronted a self-made man who attempted to crash Boston’s old-guard, aristocratic society. Silas Lapham is a man of conscience who fully realizes his folly. But he is also an ambitious man who knowingly lets his aspirations lead him to hazard both his fortune and his family’s happiness for status in a society that can never accept him. “His perceptions were sure, his integrity was absolute,” wrote Henry Seidel Canby of William Dean Howells, whom he credited as being “responsible for giving the American novel form.”

    Their Wedding Journey

    Their Wedding Journey
    Basil and Isabel March first appeared in Howells's Their Wedding Journey, which followed the newly married couple as they traveled to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon. Here, Howells returns to the March marriage as they revisit Hamburg, Carlsbad, Weimar, Leipzig, and Berlin—the cities of their youthful courtship.

    Italian Journeys

    Italian Journeys
    From Venice to Naples and Beyond
    In 1861, in recognition of his service to the election campaign of the previous year, Abraham Lincoln appointed William Dean Howells consul to Venice. Howells lived in Italy for four years during the pivotal and tumultuous years of Italian reunification. Italian Journeys describes Howells’ adventures across the country—from Genoa, a hotbed of nationalistic fervor from where Garibaldi had led the Expedition of the Thousand only a year before; to the cultural and political powerhouse of Naples, which had only just become part of the kingdom of Italy; and on to Rome, the focus for the hopes of a fractured country. Traveling by land and sea, Howells was inspired at every turn—as much by the fevered events of the time as by the cultural and historical wealth of the country—and his beautifully rendered portrait has become a classic of travel literature, essential for all Italophiles.

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