A Hazard of New Fortunes

A Hazard of New Fortunes

Book - 2002
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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.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 2002, c1976.
ISBN: 9780375759277
Branch Call Number: FIC Howel
Characteristics: 572 pages
Additional Contributors: Nordloh, David J.


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Oct 13, 2014

William Dean Howells is a semi-obscure figure now, read mostly by academics and lit nerds with too much time on their hand, but he was an important figure in the development of realism in the American novel, as well as an editor of "The Atlantic Monthly," where he published work by Mark Twain and Henry James, both of whom became friends. It's a little unfortunate that he's linked with those two titans who, between them, basically set the course for the American novel in the 20th century. While he shares Twain's use of local dialects (Southern here) and James's interest in class, he's a more pedestrian writer whose books ("The Rise of Silas Lapham" is his other major book) now seem a little quaint. "Hazard," however deals with a lot of major American themes like wealth, economics, labor vs. capital, social class, and politics. It's not the swiftest read, but will reward the patient reader.

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