William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells was an American realist author, literary critic, and playwright, known for his tenure as editor of The Atlantic Monthly as well as his own prolific writings, including novels, short stories, and essays.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Rise Of Silas Lapham

    The novel centers around the moral and ethical journey of Silas Lapham, a self-made businessman who rises from rural Vermont origins to become a wealthy paint manufacturer in Boston. As Lapham grapples with the social expectations and responsibilities that accompany his newfound status, he faces a series of personal and financial challenges that test his integrity. His desire to integrate into high society and secure advantageous marriages for his daughters leads to a clash between the values of material success and moral rectitude. Throughout the story, Lapham's character is explored through his interactions with the aristocratic Corey family, highlighting the tensions between the old and new elite in American society.

    The 1541st Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. A Modern Instance

    The novel explores the complexities of marriage and divorce in the late 19th century through the story of Bartley and Marcia Hubbard, a young couple from a small New England town. As Bartley's journalistic career takes off, his moral shortcomings and infidelity strain the marriage, leading to a tumultuous relationship. The narrative delves into the social and personal consequences of their failing marriage, highlighting the challenges of adhering to societal expectations and the impact of personal choices on the lives of individuals and their communities. The book is a critical examination of the institution of marriage, the evolving roles of men and women, and the pursuit of happiness in the face of societal pressures.

    The 5277th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. A Hazard Of New Fortunes

    "A Hazard of New Fortunes" centers around Basil March, who relocates with his family from Boston to New York City to start a new literary magazine. The novel explores themes of social change, class conflict, and the pursuit of ethical living in a rapidly modernizing America. As the characters navigate the complexities of urban life and their personal ambitions, they encounter a diverse cast of characters that represent the varied social spectrum of New York City. The story delves into issues of wealth disparity, labor unrest, and the challenges of integrating different cultural and social backgrounds, reflecting the broader societal shifts of the late 19th century.

    The 8726th Greatest Book of All Time