SIGNATURE - WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS, NOVELIST AND CRITIC

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William Dean Howells (1837-1920), eminent American novelist and critic, whose championing of such diverse American writers as Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Henry James, and Mark Twain made him the most influential literary force of his day. Following the presidential nominations in 1860, he wrote the campaign biography of Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln's election, Howells was appointed United States consul in Venice, Italy, in 1861. When he returned to the United States in 1866, he became assistant editor of the literary magazine The Atlantic Monthly; he served as editor in chief from 1871 through 1881. After leaving The Atlantic Monthly, Howells devoted most of the rest of his life to his own writing, achieving a preeminent position in American literature through his realistic fiction and his many works of literary criticism. From 1909 until his death, he was president of the newly formed American Academy of Arts and Letters (see National Institute of Arts and Letters).

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