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He is more circumspect than then even the stodgiest Victorian writers. However, is he is neither a overly modest school marm nor a member of Granny's Bible study class. He is a critic as sophisticated as any of the great European writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


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Although one will find a literary analysis by a professor of literature that will likely tell you that Hazard simply recalls the political tensions that that boiled over into violence, and Lit Prof, whose name will be Leonard Tancock or Dick Morris real intro writing lit profs, mind you , will tell you that Marsh and his wife are Bostonians thrown into and force to confront a harsher and more sophisticated reality. Or perhaps a sociologist named Kazin or whatever will tell you about identity, politics, class, and economic disparities. And then, if this is an intro and not an afterward, you will decide that what you are about to read is nothing but a dry exposition on such subjects.

Well, the literature classroom is all too often the place where the joy of reading of reading goes to die; great fiction was not meant to be the subject of formal study; we owe that late innovation to the literature professors who we ought to call fictionologists. Instead of the Fictionologists dull world, a careful reader will find a humanizing work that brings to life members of opposing political worlds in a way that no modern author is capable of.

It is quite the difficult thing to do. In fact, the fictionologist labors to deconstruct literature, which, according to their untested assumptions, conveys the ideological trappings of false social consciousness. And the fictionologists wonder why they labor in obscurity. Moreover, like the his European counterparts, who Howells was responsible for familiarizing the American public with, Howells humanizes his subject. There are no easily decided moral questions in his universe, contrary to the liberal paradigm of the fictionologist, which is intellectually shallow.

Instead, the primary characters are forced to compromise and make terms with the external world. Neither fictionologists nor movie-watching-Harry-Potter-reading dullards can appreciate. This is the third novel by Howells that I have read, and I have enjoyed it the most. It grabbed my attention immediately, and overall was quite interesting. It is the longest one that I have read, but it was much better than The Rise of Silas Lapham, which is significantly shorter. The final chapters are a bit weak, but not to any great detriment to the overall tale.

Dec 26, Lucy rated it really liked it. I do enjoy a good long novel with lots of interacting characters. This didn't quite reach 5 stars for two reasons: I gave up after pages. Aug 01, Loes M. The book basically sets two completely different people against one another: We experience the story mostly through the viewpoint of a third, and neutral man called Basil March. We first meet Basil and his family in Boston. A friend of the family, the idealistic Fulkerson, has made himself quite wealthy and has the idea to start a new literary magazine in New York.

He wants Basil to come to New York and be the editor for The book basically sets two completely different people against one another: He wants Basil to come to New York and be the editor for this magazine that he will be leading. The Basils do not jump at the opportunity. Mr and Mrs Basil go to New York where they spent the first few chapters looking for the perfect apartment.

Once they've settled for something, Mrs Basil goes back to Boston to prepare the family for the move while Basil stays behind, having decided to take the job as editor of the magazine. Fulkerson, being the idea-man, doesn't really concern himself much with the magazine, named Every Other Week.

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Hazard of New Fortunes

He is happy to leave it in the capable hands of Basil who used to work in insurance but always had literary ambitions. The publisher of the magazine is Conrad, son of the rich self-made man Dryfoos who is funding this magazine as a way to keep his son out of politics. Dryfoos found gas on his farm and used it to get rich - further ensuring his wealth on Wall Street afterwards. They have also hired an artist to be the artistic director and Lindau, an old friend of Fulkerson and American Civil War veteran, who will be translating German war stories for the literary magazine.

The way that they will be funding the magazine is quite ground-breaking: March's editorial prowes and the art director's work make the magazine a success and in the beginning everyone is happy. But then March starts clashing with Dryfoos who, together with his friends, is trying to have a bigger say in what should and should not be published. They interfere in such a way that the original editorial ideas behind the magazine are threatened and things escalate. On top of that, Fulkerson and March start spending more and more on editorial costs in order to attract writers that will make them stand out - which makes the writers earn less and less.

Combined with Dryfoos' meddling, the magazine is in trouble. More in-depth reviews on my blog: I give this novel 3 starts because I did, indeed, like it, but it was nothing more than that. I can easily say that I respect this novel for being so untypical in two main points that stood out to me: The central character is a city rather than a person and 2.

Howells gives the people in the novel such distinct and refreshingly realistic views about the world and doesn't give our favorite characters romantic ideals that they claim to live by to please his readers. Having New York be the central I give this novel 3 starts because I did, indeed, like it, but it was nothing more than that.

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Having New York be the central character was a bit weary to me; I couldn't relate to the feeling of a city being the force that moves people's motives and ideas, and it was a bit dense. Sure, people behave based on their surroundings, but the novel seemed to imply that it was New York, and not any other city, that could do this.


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But I must admit that this was an interesting way to note the realities of the American experience during that time period. On the other hand, I loved how complex the characters were. Not a single character had only one trait to define them; nobody was just "good" or just "bad" and nobody was only "nice" or only "mean. People's principles, of course, was an interesting topic to explore in this novel--to compare what people thought they believed in versus what they acted upon.

All in all, I'm not sure I would have read this if it hadn't been a class assignment, but I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the complexities of the characters and Howells' originality in examining the central themes of the novel. Apr 19, Kim rated it liked it Shelves: I had to read this book for my Realism class at university and safe to say that this is one of my least favourite writing "trends" sorry, can't think of a better words These books just ooze boredomness with its long descriptions and unexciting themes.

I do see why some people would like this, but it just is not my cup of tea. This book was actually the one that I could get through without sighing every 10 seconds. In any other context I would have rated it no higher than 2 stars but compared to I had to read this book for my Realism class at university and safe to say that this is one of my least favourite writing "trends" sorry, can't think of a better words These books just ooze boredomness with its long descriptions and unexciting themes. In any other context I would have rated it no higher than 2 stars but compared to all the other books I had to read for this class, this one did not bother me as much.

The first part of the story focuses on a family searching for an apartment in New York after our main character has decided he wants to move there for a job opportunity. Even though he is not a very interesting character, you could kind of feel for him and he does meet a lot of other people from every slice of life, so that was a little interesting.

I think this book might have been very interesting at the time it was written since it does describe a lot of the city and makes it appear very modern. Of course, reading this today makes it very dated. In fact you could use these books to learn more about every day life near the turn of the century.

There might be a second reason why I like this book. I just found out that this is the second book in a series?! Not going to read the other books though: Sep 27, Don rated it really liked it. Written in , this is generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best, portrayals of middle class life in New York City in the late 19th Century. What I found most interesting about this novel is Howells' principal female character; they seem quite modern to me.

Isabel March is both fully supportive of her husband, and at the same time clearly his intellectual equal and influential in the decisions he makes.

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Although they clearly love and respect each other, the relationship is not port Written in , this is generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best, portrayals of middle class life in New York City in the late 19th Century. Although they clearly love and respect each other, the relationship is not portrayed as dreamily romantic but very much as a modern partnership.

Alma Leighton, a secondary character, is a refreshingly independent young women with artistic talent. Near the end, when her mother frets that she will become an old maid, she responds "Well, mamma, I intend being a young one for a few years yet; and then I'll see. If I meet the right person, all well and good; if not, not. But I shall pick and choose, as a man does; I won't merely be picked and chosen. Jun 23, joseph rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Sep 22, Rose rated it really liked it.

Like Thackery, he's a skilled ironist who creates a broad social canvass out of a small collection of characters who define an era. Unlike Thackery, Howells is aware of the existence of a working class as something other than the pit you fall into when you make the wrong -- the unvirtuous -- life choices. Howells is also able to give a surprising amount of agency to a new sort of woman, one with skills and talents o This novel could be the American retort to Vanity Fair and Howells our Thackery.

Howells is also able to give a surprising amount of agency to a new sort of woman, one with skills and talents of her own who is able to survive in the world without either marrying money or sleeping with it. And his handsome cad is no gambling, womanizing army officer but an artist who, in the end, is more destructive to himself than anyone else. Of course, the two novels are separated by a span of about fifty years.

But more than anything, it is the American social landscape that that provides Howells' characters with a measure of liberty. Becky Sharp might have thrived here. Oct 04, Humphrey rated it it was amazing Shelves: This deserves the shortlist for best American novel. Its scope is daring; its prose is masterful; its innovations in form and plot are provoking; its message for the reader is both critical and hopeful. At its core, Howells' novel explores the relation of parts and wholes.

What is the place of regions in the American nation? Is multiculturalism a sum of its cultural parts, or does it form its own new cohesive part, incapable of actually embracing the whole? What must be sacrificed to transmit o This deserves the shortlist for best American novel.

What must be sacrificed to transmit or circulate over divisions of opinion or origin? Can individuals actually change their circumstances? Is there a stable order that is achieved, on a higher level, through ground-level heterogeneity? Mar 07, Sandro rated it did not like it. I actually didn't even finish this book.


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It was too painful to get through. The moment of despair came when, in the beginning of the novel, the couple began looking for an appartment in New York, which went on for about 50 dreadfully boring and nearly unbearable pages. The characters annoyed me to no end and the story itself was, in my opinion, presented in a very boring and unappealing way, with dialogues that felt as if each character had an infinite amount of monologue and a plot that seemed I actually didn't even finish this book.

The characters annoyed me to no end and the story itself was, in my opinion, presented in a very boring and unappealing way, with dialogues that felt as if each character had an infinite amount of monologue and a plot that seemed like it was going nowhere. Apparently, it did get better and the story got more interesting, but I didn't stick around long enough for that part. If I have to go through pages to get to the possibly better last pages, I'd rather just give up, because, to me, that is not worth the agony.

Jul 11, Heidi rated it liked it Shelves: I read this book sometimes more like skimmed it as research for a book I am writing which takes place in the same era and city. The research info was valuable, but I have to say the writing was clunky and the characters not terribly compelling. I think Howells had his eye very firmly set on social issues rather than people, which is why the novel has a heavy handed let-me-tell-you-about-social-issues-and-use-characters-to-illustrate-it feel.

When you compare it to other contemporaneous is tha I read this book sometimes more like skimmed it as research for a book I am writing which takes place in the same era and city.

When you compare it to other contemporaneous is that a word or did I just make it up? When I began speaking of them as Basil and Isabel, in the fashion of 'Their Wedding Journey,' they would not respond with the effect of early middle age which I desired in them. They remained wilfully, not to say woodenly, the young bridal pair of that romance, without the promise of novel functioning. It was not till I tried addressing them as March and Mrs. March that they stirred under my hand with fresh impulse, and set about the work assigned them as people in something more than their second youth.

The scene into which I had invited them to figure filled the largest canvas I had yet allowed myself; and, though 'A Hazard of New Fortunes was not the first story I had written with the printer at my heels, it was the first which took its own time to prescribe its own dimensions. I had the general design well in mind when I began to write it, but as it advanced it compelled into its course incidents, interests, individualities, which I had not known lay near, and it specialized and amplified at points which I had not always meant to touch, though I should not like to intimate anything mystical in the fact.

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It became, to my thinking, the most vital of my fictions, through my quickened interest in the life about me, at a moment of great psychological import. We had passed through a period of strong emotioning in the direction of the humaner economics, if I may phrase it so; the rich seemed not so much to despise the poor, the poor did not so hopelessly repine. The solution of the riddle of the painful earth through the dreams of Henry George, through the dreams of Edward Bellamy, through the dreams of all the generous visionaries of the past, seemed not impossibly far off.

That shedding of blood which is for the remission of sins had been symbolized by the bombs and scaffolds of Chicago, and the hearts of those who felt the wrongs bound up with our rights, the slavery implicated in our liberty, were thrilling with griefs and hopes hitherto strange to the average American breast. Opportunely for me there was a great street-car strike in New York, and the story began to find its way to issues nobler and larger than those of the love-affairs common to fiction. I was in my fifty-second year when I took it up, and in the prime, such as it was, of my powers.

The scene which I had chosen appealed prodigiously to me, and the action passed as nearly without my conscious agency as I ever allow myself to think such things happen. The opening chapters were written in a fine, old fashioned apartment house which had once been a family house, and in an uppermost room of which I could look from my work across the trees of the little park in Stuyvesant Square to the towers of St.

Then later in the spring of the unfinished novel was carried to a country house on the Belmont border of Cambridge.

A Hazard of New Fortunes — Complete by William Dean Howells

Colonel Woodburn of Charlottesville VA is one such, who still propounds slavery and an image of the noble south. Woodburn in fact intervenes in a conflict between Dryfoos and March after Lindau a Northern Civil War veteran makes his anti-capitalist tendencies known -- with an outcome different from that of Howells at the Cosmopolitan.

The novel winds down after Conrad Dryfoos is killed in a labor riot while trying to help Lindau. The book is full of great phrases and images, and is replete from end to end with the treatment of moral themes in economics, business and society. He makes interesting use of irony.