Young Howells & John Brown : episodes in a radical education /
by Edwin H. Cady.
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, 1985.
116 p.
More Details
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, 1985.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. [111]-112.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1986-01:
Cady weaves an intriguing hypothesis about the effect on Howells of his and his family's involvement in radical, perhaps treasonous, antislavery activities. Cady argues that ``no one can read Howells's work or comprehend his place in American cultural history or pretend to assign him a place in American literary history, who has not understood the radical Howells.'' Cady offers an ingenious examination of so-called root experiences, particularly with the ``Black String'' and its successful attempts to protect John Brown's sons and followers after Harper's Ferry; yet perhaps he speculates too much and claims too much on the basis of meager evidence. The thesis, however, reveals how important every detail in a writer's life can be to an understanding of the writer's life and works. The book is less satisfactory in recognizing that other equally mystifying patches in Howells's early experience may yield other conclusions. Unfortunately, not enough of the book deals with Howells or his works. We learn more about Joshua R. Giddings and the Ashtabula radicals than we do about Howells, who always remains in the shadows. This short volume is of dubious value to libraries with limited budgets; research libraries, however, will find it worthwhile.-E. Suderman, Gustavus Adolphus College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 1986
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