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The Rise of Silas Lapham [Paperback]

By William Dean Howells & Louis Auchincloss (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 6.76  
Retail Value $ 7.95  
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Item Number 424140  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 4.25" Height: 6.75"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2002
Publisher   Penguin Group USA
ISBN  0451528220  
EAN  9780451528223  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Despite of his lack of formal education, Silas Lapham, a self-made businessman, attempts to break into Boston's old-guard, aristocratic society, risking his fortune and his family's happiness in pursuit of his ambitions. Reprint.

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More About William Dean Howells & Louis Auchincloss

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William Dean Howells was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, on March 1, 1837. Between 1856 and 1861 he worked as a reporter for the Ohio State Journal. About this time his poems began to appear in The Atlantic Monthly. His campaign biography of Abraham Lincoln, compiled in 1860, prompted the administration to offer him the consulship at Venice, a post he held from 1861 to 1865. He married Elinor Gertrude Meade, a young woman from Vermont, in Paris in 1862. On his return to the United States in 1865, Howells worked in New York before going to Boston as assistant to James T. Fields of The Atlantic Monthly. In 1871 he became editor-in-chief of the magazine. In this position he worked with many young writers, among them Mark Twain and Henry James, both of whom became his close friends. His first novel, Their Wedding Journey, appeared in 1872. The Rise of Silas Lapham was serialized in Century Magazine before it was published in book form in 1885. A Hazard of New Fortunes was published five years later. His position as critic, writer, and enthusiastic exponent of the new realism earned William Dean Howells the title of Dean of American Letters. He died in 1920.
Louis Auchincloss was a highly acclaimed novelist, literary critic, and historian. His more than fifty books include The Rector of Justin, The House of Five Talents, and The Atonement. He is also the author of several nonfiction works, including The Man Behind the Book: Literary Profiles, and a member and President Emeritus of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

William Dean Howells was born in 1837 and died in 1920.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Fall of Silas Lapham  Feb 21, 2010
"The Rise of Silas Lapham" by William Dean Howells, is definitely misnamed, since at the start of the novel, the main character has already risen in terms of money and prominence, two things he is at risk of losing over the course of the novel. Howells' work is credited with being the first impotant novel that truly focused on an American businessman, a man who came from nothing to become someone to contend with, but a man who still couldn't fit into the gentile Boston society because he was noveau riche and not from old money. There are some interesting things about the plotline of this novel and even some humorous moments, but "The Rise of Silas Lapham" is ploddingly told and seems dated in comparison with contempoary novels of its time.

"The Rise of Silas Lapham" begins with a newspaper interview in which the reader automatically learns Silas's hard luck background and his success in the paint business, success that has allowed him to build a mansion in the Back Bay area of Boston among the most elite townspeople. His wife and two daughters, Penelope and Irene, want for nothing, but unknowingly remain outcasts in the society. When a young man name Tom Corey (from old money) takes an interest in Laphams's business as well as in one of his daughers, Lapham sees it as a way to truly take his place among the society he so desperately wants to impress and be accepted by. However, incidents and mistakes from Lapham's past show up just as his star is on its meteoric rise, forcing him to change hiw ways, for better or for worse.

Some of the standout elements of "The Rise of Silas Lapham" is the love triangle between the Lapham daughters and Tom Corey, as well as the Corey family's reaction to Tom's interest in one of the girls. Penelope Lapham is a clever and comic likable character, and there are moments when even Silas and his wife Persis are easy to identify with. However, Howells spent too much time telling the story and did not allow his characters room to breathe and exist by themselves in the minds of the readers. While not an overly long novel, I found it a difficult read because much of the story is either boring or told in a boring manner. I wish Howells had dedicated more time to the intriguing aspects of his character's life instead of on the mundane and annoying.
Great book, but do not order this edition  Feb 3, 2010
This edition reads like a photocopy of an early print edition. I am not old, but I had to strain and squint to get through it. No reflection of the book itself, but I nearly tossed it aside a dozen times it was so hard on the eyes.
Classic without a doubt  Mar 16, 2009
I read this for my novel class and was taken by the story, it was truly rendered well and maintained my interest along with the interest of the whole class. Silas Lapham is a character that Howells' created so that every individual may relate to. And if you can not relate with Silas, try some of the other cast of characters. Overall this was a decent read and a wonderful addition to a collection.
Good Overall Experience  Mar 8, 2007
The merchandise arrived timely and the overall experience was a good one.
One of his best  Mar 24, 2005
You might be able to take a man of humble beginnings and make him a rich man, but can he ever cross the line into Society? Silas Lapham becomes rich from paint that he sells, but fails totally in his attempt to become an accepted member of the upper class. The book also concerns a misunderstood love interest by one of Lapham's daughters: the young man is actually in love with his other daughter. Lapham's business fails at the end, but he doesn't sacrifice his integrity. Which is why it is only the "rise" of Silas Lapham and not the "rise and fall." This is among Howells's best novels.

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