lundi 6 février 2012

Lewis P. Simpson, THE MAN OF LETTERS IN NEW ENGLAND AND THE SOUTH; ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF THE LITERARY VOCATION IN AMERICA, Bâton Rouge, Louisiana State Univeristy Press, 1973, 255 pages

Howells autobiographical impulse of the 1890s had strong motivation in the deeply personal question of the identity of his vocation. After a lifetime as a writer, he found himself still searching for the meaning of his career. What does it mean to be a writer in America? The meaning he found in Boston, one which fulfilled his youthful dream of vocation, he could never fully accept nor wholly reject.

p. 116

Lewis P. Simpson, THE MAN OF LETTERS IN NEW ENGLAND AND THE SOUTH; ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF THE LITERARY VOCATION IN AMERICA, Bâton Rouge, Louisiana State Univeristy Press, 1973, 255 pages

The atitude toward the literary vocation in America in Literary Friends and Acquaintance, composed in part while Howells was writing The World of Chance and A Traveler from Altruria, is related to the ironic representation of American literary life in the novels.

p. 108

Lewis P. Simpson, THE MAN OF LETTERS IN NEW ENGLAND AND THE SOUTH; ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF THE LITERARY VOCATION IN AMERICA, Bâton Rouge, Louisiana State Univeristy Press, 1973, 255 pages

[Howells] can consider the existential condition of the writer only by reference to his vision of an ideal situation. Finding it more and more difficult to envision the ideal through the fog of the actual, he comes close in "The Man of Letters as a Man of Business" to suggesting the mood of alienation.
His inability to idealize the literary life in America in the face of his perception of the materialistic forces overwhelming it becomes manifest in three novels of the 1890s: A Hazard of New Fortunes, The World of Chance, and A Traveler from Altruria. Each of these stories develops the incapacity of the man of letters in the late nineteenth-century American society to relate himself to a fulfilling concept of vocation.

p. 105