William Dean Howells | Critical Essay by William J. Free

This literature criticism consists of approximately 10 pages of analysis & critique of William Dean Howells.
This section contains 3,539 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Carl W. Engelhart

Critical Essay by William J. Free

SOURCE: "Howells' 'Editha' and Pragmatic Belief," in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. III, No. 3, Spring, 1966, pp. 285-92.

In the following essay, Free determines the influence of Charles Sanders Peirce's philosophy of pragmatic ethics on the short story "Editha."

William Dean Howells' short story "Editha" is the most frequently anthologized of his works, yet it has inspired only fragmentary and sometimes deceptive critical attention. O. W. Firkins dismisses the story as "a tale whose careless brevity belies its weight and saps its power. . . ."1 Everett Carter correctly relates "Editha" to Howells' political protest over the Spanish-American War, which horrified Howells, who saw it as evidence of a spreading moral decay in American society.2 But the significance of the story ranges wider than the merely political. More important, it reveals Howells' tendency to judge human values and behavior pragmatically, an attitude...

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This section contains 3,539 words
(approx. 12 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Carl W. Engelhart
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