Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Karel D. Bicha

Second Advisor

Athan Theoharis

Third Advisor

William Miller


William Dean Howells lived in an America in transition. In his life, the nation went from a barefoot democracy to a bureaucratized business state. Thought progressed from elegant daydreams deducing the logic of nature to the haunted nightmares of Freud . Political life gyrated from the frenzies of abolitionism to the torpor of normalcy. Most significantly, man's sense of place and environment went from bucolic neighborliness to urban anomie. Howells experienced all of this, absorbed it, learned from it, and turned it into literature . An excellent witness, his writings constitute serviceable documentation on a variety of topics. This study will concentrate on his relations with American cities as myth, promise and reality. It is a case study of his responses and reflections, of how he was influenced by living in an urban atmosphere, and of how he helped shape the attitudes and values of a society.



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