1. “To-Day’s Books and Their Authors,” 2.
2. Ibid. In the absence of archival evidence of such reader letters, it is of course impossible to know for certain that hundreds of Journal readers actually did request such a feature or that they phrased it in the precise language of this announcement. Still, we can discern a good deal about reading attitudes among Journal readers, or at least the editorial perceptions of those attitudes, or perhaps editorial desires to foster such attitudes, from this advertisement of coming attractions.
3. Dreiser, Sister Carrie, 393. Subsequent references are parenthetically cited as SC.
4. M. H. Dunlop argues that Dreiser does not simply evoke this “mechanically-produced” popular fiction to critique the “multiply produced” popular tastes of the day but that he specifically mentions these novels because they can function so effectively as oblique commentary on his own heroine’s story. Plot and character parallels make it possible to read Carrie’s life either as a version of the Ross novel (and thus a “sensation” novel) or as a variation on the Clay novel (a “sentimental” novel) (Dunlop, “Carrie’s Library,” 201–15). Dunlop seems, though, to undercut her own nuanced readings by emphasizing Dreiser’s disdain of the popular novel and downplaying Dreiser’s apparent attention to and communion with the specifics of popular texts, however “multiply produced” or hackneyed. Dreiser’s careful selection of these texts in fact works to the allusive advantage of the reader who would have been familiar not just with the reputations of these works as “trash” but with the details of these texts: in other words, with readers like Carrie who were delving into Dreiser’s text in the same ways, and potentially for the same reasons, that Carrie pursued Balzac—because someone said it was better for them. Dreiser unfortunately would have to wait for some time to gain this kind of popular support—the book of course did not sell in 1900—yet because the “alterations” between the initial typescript and the final 1900 edition were made in the interest of attracting and keeping a female audience, we can imagine that he had this readership in mind when reworking this portion of the novel (as he did, substituting Ross’s novel for an earlier, and, Dunlop argues, less appropriate, work). For a discussion of the textual history of the novel, see Lehan, “The City, the Self, and Narrative Discourse,” 81–82.
5. On Marden, see Hart, The Popular Book, 160–61. Carl Bode in his introduction to Alger’s Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward (xxi) discusses the author’s cyclical popularity: “When he died [in 1899], the obituaries were more or less dismissive. On the other hand, by a turn of events so remarkable that even Alger wouldn’t have dared to use it in his books, the early twentieth century took up those books and transformed them into a vogue. During the euphoric years before World War I, the Alger myth was perfected and his fiction sold better—by hundreds of thousands of copies—than it ever had while he was alive.”
6. The consideration of women’s moral education and of the problem of women’s susceptibility to literature has been a particularly rich area of study; see, e.g., Flint, The Woman Reader.
7. Ohmann, Selling Culture, 75. This group was not exclusively urban and suburban; as Ohmann points out (74–75), the transportation and communication infrastructure in place by the beginning of the twentieth century enabled similar consumption patterns and expectations in rural areas as well.
8. Mabie, Books and Culture, 18–19.
9. Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings, 13. On department stores, see Leach, Land of Desire; on marketing and print advertising, see Ohmann, Selling Culture, and Garvey, Adman in the Parlor, among others.
10. Ladies’ Home Journal, February 1902, 6, 14–15.
11. Radway, A Feeling for Books, 142–43.
12. Christopher P. Wilson, looking at the marketing of Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street in the 1920s, notes that “the growing consensus in the teens was that the ‘book-buying habit’ was not secure enough among the general public and that book promotion needed to focus instead on ‘opinion makers,’ notably critics, discriminating booksellers, or influential community figures, and, in [Charles] Doran’s words, be more ‘impartial,’ professional, even academic” (Wilson, White Collar Fictions, 216). Writing in the first decade of the twentieth century, Mabie was still trying to see that that “habit” was well established in his readers.
13. Hutner, What America Read, 22.
14. Radway, A Feeling for Books, 152–53.
15. This history has been told many times, but perhaps most influentially for this project by Chartier, A History of Private Life, vol. 3, and, specific to the American context, in Kaestle, “The History of Readers.”
16. Machor, “Introduction: Readers/Texts/Contexts,” xi.
17. Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life, 166.
18. Rose, “Rereading the English Common Reader,” 55; Gilmore, Reading Becomes a Necessity of Life, 163 (cited in Rose).
19. Adam Smith’s famous formulation of the process of identification, Howard argues in “What Is Sentimentality?” (224), offers a “resolution of the dilemma posed by the increasingly individualist topography of the self”:
As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation. Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations. Neither can that faculty help us to this any other way, than by representing to us what would be our own, if we were in his case. It is the impressions of our own senses only, not those of his, which our imaginations copy. By the imagination we place ourselves in his situation, we conceive ourselves enduring all the same torments, we enter as it were into his body, and become in some measure the same person with him, and thence form some idea of his sensations, and even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them. (Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1:9)
Smith’s discussion of the imagination’s role in identification paved the way for the mode of sentimentality in literature, and for the use of sympathy as a training ground for the emotions.
20. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection, 19–20. The substitution of self for other becomes, literarily, the process of escapism that Jürgen Habermas identifies as an adjunct to the identificatory moment. Through identification, anyone may “enter into the literary action as a substitute for his own, to use the relationships between the figures, between the author, the characters, and the reader as substitute relations for reality” (Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, 50). As Glenn Hendler notes, citing this same passage, Habermas sees the evocation of sentimental identification as a moment in which the novel “mediates between private personality and public sociality because it enacts the division of public and private in each reader” (Hendler, Public Sentiments, 115). Hendler goes on to trace the ways in which sentimental identification, which he reads as a process of Althusserian interpellation, was variously deployed to mold public spheres that could be heteronormative, antislavery, pro-temperance, or politically feminist, finally arguing that “it is not so much a particular identity or subject position that is reproduced in the reader’s act of identification as it is the transformative process of identification itself,” that in fact the thing produced by sentimental identification is “affect itself” (217, 218). Such production of affect, though it engages in the “fantasy that affect can be the ground and site of non-coercive communicative exchange in the public sphere,” in effect ends up as one of the most potentially influential means of communication available (218).
21. Bennett, What Books Can Do FOR YOU, 147.
22. Hochman, Getting at the Author, 4. Hochman observes that the “fictional narrator that could merge with both the author and the characters became a particular favorite. Imagined as an inhabitant not only of the represented world within the text but also of the world outside it, such a narrator was a fertile source of reader identification—a composite human figure, exemplary but not distant” (38).
23. Sicherman, “Sense and Sensibility,” 213.
24. Ibid., 215.
25. My use of the terms highbrow and middlebrow throughout this project follows the historical arc of a literary work’s acceptance, according to the class in which it was placed by a majority of critics at the time of its publication and initial popularity. On middlebrow culture as it arose in response to literary realism at the end of the nineteenth century, see Kammen, American Culture, American Tastes; and Hutner, What America Read.
26. In her recent expansion of this study, Sicherman notes more generally the ways that reading fostered intellectual and professional aspirations in women like the Hamiltons, Jane Addams, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett throughout the later nineteenth century. See Sicherman, Well-Read Lives.
27. See Fish, Is There a Text in This Class; Mailloux, Rhetorical Power; and Bennett, “Texts in History.”
28. Bennett, “Texts in History,” 10.
29. Ibid., 11.
30. See Wilson, White Collar Fictions.
31. Wharton, “The Vice of Reading,” 513. Subsequent references are parenthetically cited as “VR.”
32. Dunn, “A Plea for the Shiftless Reader,” 133.
33. Ibid., 132.
34. Bell, The Problem of American Realism, 4.
35. Glazener, Reading for Realism, 14. As Glazener suggests, and my analysis bears out, the “romantic revival” provides even more evidence for the influence of market pressures on elite determinations of aesthetic quality. While writers in the Atlantic group of magazines came, by the 1890s, to distance themselves from elements of literary realism because they found the mode either too far distanced from the real problems of real people or too unmarketable, their biases against the mode’s ostensible “elitism” were not shared by people who wanted to become—or at least to seem like—members of the elite. The cultural cachet that had attached to realism in the 1880s had not evaporated in the eyes of the public, even well into the 1910s; realism was still highbrow literature and, as such, was highly desirable cultural capital.
36. Ibid., 96, 145–46. The messiness here seems akin to what Hartman calls the “violence of identification,” in which “in making the other’s suffering one’s own, this suffering is occluded by the other’s obliteration” (Scenes of Subjection, 20, 19).
37. While I take Bell’s caveat to heart, that we should move beyond “the question of the relation of ‘American realism’ to the tradition of Continental realism or to some ideal model of realistic mimesis” (The Problem of American Realism, 5), I do not read it as indicating that we should ignore the ways that the relative “acceptability” of various Continental realists was one of the key battlegrounds on which William Dean Howells, Henry James, and others contested their definitions of realism. I also accept Bill Brown’s critique of Bell as too easily dismissing the contradictions between Howells’s fiction and his criticism (Brown, review of The Problem of American Realism). Again, I am interested less in trying to figure out what “realism” really was than in thinking about how it was being constructed vis-à-vis Balzac—and then suggesting that Dreiser purposefully evokes Balzac in Sister Carrie as a shorthand for people who would be “in the know” about this particular debate.
38. Howells, Criticism and Fiction, 20.
39. Ibid., 25.
40. “Howells differentiates the realist taste that he endorses from another taste mode by which members of the middle and upper classes might—and indeed did—aesthetically engage what he positioned as the rawer aspects of American life: by rendering them exotically picturesque” (Barrish, American Literary Realism, 25). This kind of taste was importantly equivalent for Howells to a taste for “high culture” aesthetic preferences like written (as opposed to performed) Shakespeare or Italianate architecture—part of the constellation of tastes that the truly refined would share.
41. Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham, 193. Subsequent references are parenthetically cited as SL.
42. See Hartman, Scenes of Subjection.
43. Wharton, The Writing of Fiction, 8. Subsequent references are parenthetically cited as WF.
44. James, “The Lesson of Balzac,” 132. Subsequent references are parenthetically cited as “LB.”
45. Radway, A Feeling for Books, 285, 288.
46. Ibid., 283.
47. Ibid., 284.
1 / Mr. Mabie Tells What to Read
1. Rascoe, Titans of Literature, 363.
2. Morse, Life and Letters, 3.
3. Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings, 2. Frank Luther Mott, for one, contended that “there can be little doubt that men comprised a considerable proportion of the reading audience of Ladies’ Home Journal from the start” (A History of American Magazines, 4:551). Mott even notes that, during World War I, the Journal ranked third among magazines requested by soldiers at the front (550). Whether this was for a touch of home to relieve homesickness or because of the Journal’s male-targeted editorial content, it speaks to the connections so many Americans in the first quarter of the twentieth century had to this magazine, how close it was to their sense of both home and nation.
4. While the Journal did not leave men entirely out of the equation, it did not make much room, editorially or otherwise, for African American readers, for newly arrived immigrants, or for women who were not involved in or in search of a socially sanctioned heterosexual marriage. Although diversity was neither represented in nor validated in the pages of the magazine, however, we cannot assume that women who belonged to or sympathized with these groups did not read, or were not influenced by, the Journal’s content.
5. Bok, “Fifteen Years of Mistakes,” 18.
6. By some estimates, $1.00 in 1902 had the same “purchasing power” as $24.86 had in 2007, and $1.50 in 1912 would translate to $33.09. If one measures by the nominal gross domestic product per capita, arguably a better sense of the “affordability” of the subscription for an average person, the cost of a subscription becomes a bit more onerous: $150.55 in 1902, and $175.04 in 1912 (www.measuringworth.com). Given the articles I cite below about salaries in the $7.00 a week range, we can see that, in fact, the Journal would be a fairly prized commodity for any subscriber.
7. Steinberg, Reformer in the Marketplace, xv, quoted in Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings, 14.
8. Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings, 13.
9. Curtis quoted in ibid., 14.
10. Both Jennifer Scanlon and Helen Damon-Moore have discussed the Journal’s lack of inclusivity, and both find the magazine equally unwelcoming to lower- and working-class women (see especially Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings, 13–25).
11. The story about the Minnesota family is found in the August 1903 installment, “From Practically Nothing to Their Own Homes.” The teaser for September promises an article titled “Some More Houses Saved for on Less than $15 a Week Salary.” The series published the editors’ selections of stories sent in to the Journal for a prize competition; the author of the winning story received a $100 prize. The prize-winning entry, published in the October 1903 issue, does not tell the story of an unusually strapped family (many others tell of salaries of $7 a week or less, and most have more than this couple’s one child), but it does end with an interesting moral twist: “As for myself, before my marriage I never knew the value of money, as I was the petted daughter of a rich man” (“How Some Families Have Saved for Homes,” 22).
12. “I learned in that dingy cupboard my first lesson in what to do with wearisome hours, for recurrent work faithfully performed becomes sensitized into proper mechanical ability and leaves the brain free to fill with other things, sometimes far freer than if the body were idling” (“The Joy to Be Found in Work,” 59).
13. Bok, Literary Leaves, November 1889, 11.
14. Ramsey, Books and Bookmakers, June 1889, 11.
15. For the history of Scribner’s, see Mott, A History of American Magazines, vol. 4; Glazener, Reading for Realism; and John, The Best Years of the “Century.”
16. Damon-Moore, Magazines for the Millions, 63. In his autobiography, Bok describes an exchange with Curtis that sets up the situation of competing columns:
Mr. Curtis told Bok he had read his literary letter in the Philadelphia Times, and suggested that perhaps he might write a similar department for the Ladies’ Home Journal [sic]. Bok saw no reason why he should not, and told Mr. Curtis so, and promised to send over a trial instalment. The Philadelphia publisher then deftly went on, explained editorial conditions in his magazine, and, recognizing the ethics of the occasion by not offering Bok another position while he was already occupying one, asked him if he knew the man for the place.
“Are you talking at me or through me?” asked Bok.
“Both,” replied Mr. Curtis.
This was in April of 1889. (Bok, Americanization, 155–56)
Perhaps Curtis did not know that his longtime household hints columnist would be interested in writing about books; perhaps he did not think he would be able to snare the talents of Bok. At any rate, Ramsey’s column began appearing in June 1889, and Bok’s new column two months later.
17. Bok, Literary Leaves, September 1889, 11.
19. Ramsey, Books and Bookmakers, October 1889, 11; Bok, Literary Leaves, October 1889, 11.
20. “Romance Reduced to Figures,” 13.
21. Bok, Americanization, 291.
23. [Bridges], Droch’s Literary Talks, December 1896, 23. Subsequent references to columns in this series are parenthetically cited by date.
24. Bok is similarly unforthcoming in his autobiography. While he notes that a books column was a key component of his project of “making the American public more conversant with books and authors,” Mabie’s work is almost an afterthought: “Accordingly, he [Bok] engaged Robert Bridges (the present editor of Scribner’s Magazine) to write a series of conversational book-talks under his nom de plume of ‘Droch.’ Later, this was supplemented by the engagement of Hamilton W. Mabie, who for years reviewed the newest books” (Bok, Americanization, 291). Not only is this account of what Mabie’s columns addressed completely inaccurate, but it renders Mabie’s work subordinate to “Droch’s” twelve columns, which appeared five years earlier, from December 1896 to November 1897.
25. Morse, Life and Letters, 211.
26. Jeanette Mabie to Grace King, 6 February 1917, quoted in Rife, “Hamilton Wright Mabie,” 256n48.
27. Hamilton Wright Mabie to Mrs. E. D. North, 28 August 1908, quoted in Morse, Life and Letters, 213.
28. Morse, Life and Letters, 211–12.
29. Mabie, “Mr. Mabie’s Talk about New Books,” October 1906, 22. Subsequent references to Mabie’s columns in The Ladies’ Home Journal are parenthetically cited by date.
30. “To-Day’s Books and Their Authors,” 2.
31. The caption of the accompanying illustration actually specifies that the woman pictured is “Mary Eleanor Wilkins, who recently became Mrs. Charles M. Freeman,” but Mabie refers to her as “Miss Wilkins” throughout this column.
32. “Empathic response,” as Judith Fetterley and Marjorie Pryse argue, is one of the elements that “distances regionalism from an uncritical adoption of realist representation” (Writing out of Place, 107). For the complex relationship between New England regionalist writing and sentimentality, see Fleissner, Women, Compulsion, Modernity.
33. Welch, “Miss Wilkins at Home,” 69.
34. Berkson, “A Goddess behind a Sordid Veil,” 150.
35. As Glenn Hendler has demonstrated, sentimentality was a mode that cut across genders, despite its representation as a feminizing mode; Mabie’s tack of gendering sentiment as feminine was directly aligned with a realist critical practice. For a discussion of the masculinity of sentiment as it was deployed in the nineteenth century, see Hendler, Public Sentiments.
36. Norris, “A Plea for Romantic Fiction,” 214–15.
37. Glazener, Reading for Realism, 230.
38. Ibid., 171.
39. James, “The Art of Fiction,” 507.
40. Kett, The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties, 83.
41. For the range of warnings offered to female readers in both Europe and America during the first half of the nineteenth century, see Lyons “New Readers in the Nineteenth Century.”
42. Clarke, “The Novel-Reading Habit,” 670–71.
43. Howells quoted in Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America, 185.
44. Glazener, Reading for Realism. Glazener coins this phrase to describe the reception formations being promulgated by elite Atlantic-group literary arbiters during the era of American literary realism. I deliberately invoke her phrase as a shorthand for her nuanced and compendious project.
2 / The Compromise of Silas Lapham
1. Mabie, “A Typical Novel,” 423.
2. Alan Trachtenberg cited Mabie’s review in his magisterial Incorporation of America (182) to set up a discussion of literary realism as the welcome anodyne to overweening nineteenth-century romanticism and sentimentality. Warner Berthoff styled Mabie an “old-guard critic”; while praising Mabie for his “literate and reasoned polemic,” he notes that Mabie “carelessly lumps James and Howells together” (The Ferment of Realism, 51, 52n1). Edwin Harrison Cady is a bit kinder to Mabie in The Road to Realism (241), calling him “a gifted man,” if a “neo-romantic opponent,” who “took trouble to estimate Howells accurately and fairly . . . understood Howells beautifully, knew exactly what he disagreed with and why, and made his points with candor and force.”
3. See Santayana, Genteel Tradition. Lewis, “The American Fear of Literature,” 15. Lewis’s invective is only one of many that he leveled against Howells in the Nobel lecture; he also accused Howells of “effusively seeking to guide America into becoming a pale edition of an English cathedral town,” and indicted his realism as a sham: “In his fantastic vision of life, which he innocently conceived to be realistic, farmers, and seamen and factory hands might exist, but the farmer must never be covered with muck, the seaman must never roll out bawdy chanteys, the factory hand must be thankful to his good kind employer, and all of them must long for the opportunity to visit Florence and smile gently at the quaintness of the beggars” (Lewis, 16, 15).
4. Cowley, After the Genteel Tradition, 10.
5. Rascoe, “Smart Set” History, 14.
6. Bok, Americanization, 128.
7. Ibid., 135–36.
8. Ibid., 143.
9. Eller, “Critical Edition,” lxxvi.
10. Howells was able to command princely sums for his writings wherever they appeared, but rarely a lump sum like $10,000 for one serial. In 1891, he earned $15,000 for works published under an exclusive contract with Harper’s; once he became a literary free agent, he was able to earn much more, $30,000 in 1893. This was the year of My Literary Passions and The Coast of Bohemia; as a point of comparison, the remaining $15,000 that year came from another serialized novel, a book publication, three plays, one children’s book, two autobiographical essays and one autobiographical book, and some miscellaneous shorter pieces (Crowley, Black Heart’s Truth, 32–33).
11. Eller, “Critical Edition,” lxxvi. That Howells was not indifferent to the remuneration he received is evident from a letter he wrote to his daughter Mildred in June 1895: “The wolf will have to gnaw through contracts for $30,000 before it reaches the door” (Goodman and Dawson, William Dean Howells, 335).
12. Howells, “The Coast of Bohemia,” December 1892, 4, 3.
13. Howells, “The Coast of Bohemia,” October 1893, 4.
15. Ibid., 32.
16. Cooke, Howells, 208–9.
17. Howells, “The Coast of Bohemia,” June 1893, 3–4.
18. Ibid., 4.
19. Eller, “Critical Edition,” xl.
20. Boyeson, “Mr. Howells at Close Range,” 7.
21. Ibid., 7.
22. Howells, My Literary Passions, ix.
23. The documentary evidence for this negotiation from Howells’s side is unfortunately no longer extant, but the details have been pieced together by Jonathan R. Eller from the letters in Harvard’s Houghton Library. I am reliant on his account, and on my own reading of these letters, for my narrative here.
24. Edward Bok to William Dean Howells, 24 September 1892.
26. Howells originally broke the manuscript into subtitled sections; he mentions sixty-one authors by name in that typescript (Eller, “Critical Edition,” lxxvi–vii).
27. Boyeson, “Mr. Howells at Close Range,” 7.
29. Ibid., 8.
31. Howells writes in his Editor’s Study for May 1886 (973):
At the beginning of this century . . . romance was making the same fight against effete classicism which realism is making today against effete romance. . . . The romance of that day and the realism of this are in certain degree the same. Romance then sought, as realism seeks now, to widen the bounds of sympathy, to level every barrier against aesthetic freedom, to escape from the paralysis of tradition. It exhausted itself in this impulse, and it remained for realism to assert that fidelity to experience and probability of motive are essential conditions of a great imaginative literature.
Howells’s own appropriation of the terms of sympathy and imagination demonstrate the imprecision of all such debates in the U.S. context.
32. Boyeson, “Mr. Howells at Close Range,” 7.
33. Howells’s Editor’s Study columns appeared in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine from January 1886 to March 1892. Boyeson’s reminiscences seem to date from the period 1872–73, when Winifred would have been ten or eleven; John Mead, five or six; and Mildred, an infant of one or two. When Howells began his stint in the Editor’s Study, the children would have been twenty-three, eighteen, and fourteen; by the time Howells was writing for the Journal, John Mead was twenty-five and Mildred twenty-one; Winifred had died prematurely in 1889 (Goodman and Dawson, William Dean Howells, xxi–xxvi).
34. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” December 1893, 10.
36. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” April 1894, 15.
37. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” August 1894, 14.
38. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” May 1894, 13.
39. “Detached intimacy” is the phrase coined by Lisa Spiro to describe a reading position exemplified by readers of Marvel, “in which the reader, though swept over by feeling, still keeps fantasy at arm’s length, wrapped up between the boards of a book.” Contrary to the escapist stance, “detached intimacy suggests that the reader can engage in a profound identification with the book even as she remains conscious that she is actively constructing a fantasy” (Spiro, “Reading with a Tender Rapture,” 61). Howells’s retreat to the woods perfectly models “detached intimacy.”
40. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” October 1894, 15.
41. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” August 1894, 14.
42. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” October 1894, 15.
43. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” March 1894, 13.
44. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” June 1894, 15.
45. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” February 1894, 17.
47. Oxley, “Literary Improvement Clubs,” 16.
48. Bok to Howells, 24 September 1892.
49. Hochman, Getting at the Author. The attractions of “knowing” or “befriending” an author in the early nineteenth century are also discussed in Zboray and Zboray, Literary Dollars and Social Sense.
50. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” April 1894, 15.
51. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” November 1894, 15.
52. “The Writers for The Ladies’ Home Journal for 1895.”
53. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” February 1895, 14.
54. Howells, “My Literary Passions,” August 1894, 14.
55. Bok, Americanization, 375.
56. Mabie, “A Typical Novel,” 422.
57. Ibid., 423.
58. Kar, “Archetypes of American Innocence.”
59. Wasserstrom, “William Dean Howells: The Indelible Stain,” 487; Crowley, The Black Heart’s Truth, 85.
60. Crowley, The Black Heart’s Truth, 79.
61. Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes, 388. Subsequent references are denoted parenthetically as HNF.
62. Crowley, The Dean of American Letters, 25.
63. Howells, Editor’s Study, January 1890, 323.
64. One example of such wishful thinking may be found in Everett Carter’s introduction to the Indiana University Press edition of Hazard. Many other critics have seen Howells as ultimately complicit with the consumer capital model of publication (see, e.g., Kaplan, The Social Construction of American Realism; Borus, Writing Realism; and Bell, The Problem of American Realism, among others). Reading Hazard through the lens of the late-nineteenth-century insurance industry, Jason Puskar argues that Every Other Week becomes a model of mutuality through which Howells “attempts to imagine not a retreat from the marketplace entirely but the construction of a new kind of marketplace with which realism might make its peace” (Puskar, “William Dean Howells and the Insurance of the Real,” 53).
3 / James for the General Reader
1. Henry James to William James, 23 July 1890, in The Letters of Henry James, 170.
2. Jacobson, Henry James and the Mass Market, 18.
3. Henry James to William Dean Howells, 4 May 1898, in The Letters of Henry James, 309; quoted also in Johanningsmeier, “Real American Readers,” 96.
4. Johanningsmeier, “Real American Readers,” 97.
5. Ibid., 87.
6. James, Literary Criticism, 2:1082.
7. Henry James to James B. Pinker, 10 June 1906, quoted in Anesko, “Friction with the Market,” 364n28.
8. There were already plenty of extant copies of the original versions of all of James’s novels—indeed, the expense and relative scarcity of the New York Edition versions mean that they would have been the more difficult to obtain. The initial edition was limited to only 156 copies, with handmade papers and gilt lettering, among other blandishments. A cheaper, unlimited edition was made soon after from the same plates, thus perpetuating the practice that had led to lawsuits in other cases, where the cheaper printings had lessened the resale value of the first (Leuschner, “Utterly, Insurmountably, Unsaleable,” 31, 34).
9. The validation of readers’ letters is of course nearly impossible—there is no telling whether Mabie reproduced an actual reader letter, or whether he produced a composite of several letters he had received, or whether this issue was just one that had been bothering him, or that he suspected had bothered his audience, and he decided to manufacture a reader letter as a pretext for discussing it at greater length—perhaps so as not to look like someone who was daunted by James. The letter both reassures a James-phobic reader that he or she is not alone in feeling that way and maintains Mabie’s authority as a reader of high culture, and a helpful gatekeeper for his Journal readers.
10. Though Mabie does not recommend Hudson in the pages of the Journal after the December 1907 appearance of the revised version of the text as the first volume of James’s New York Edition, he does not forget the novel altogether, listing it as a representative James text in his 1911 promotional tie-in pamphlet for the Globe-Wernicke bookcase company, The Blue Book of Fiction: A List of Novels Worth Reading Chosen from Many Literatures; one assumes that here, too, he is thinking of the 1875–78 versions.
11. [Review of Roderick Hudson, by Henry James], Chicago Tribune, 1; [Powell], [Review of Roderick Hudson, by Henry James], New York Herald, 3.
12. [Powell], [Review of Roderick Hudson, by Henry James], 3.
13. [Review of Roderick Hudson, by Henry James], Chicago Tribune, 1.
14. James, preface to Roderick Hudson, 1047.
15. James, Roderick Hudson, 63. Subsequent references are parenthetically cited as RH.
16. Buzard, “The Uses of Romanticism,” 42.
17. Murray, A Handbook of Rome, 59.
18. Glazener, Reading for Realism, 176–77.
19. [Review of The Princess Casamassima], Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, 359.
20. Bell, The Problem of American Realism, 104–5.
21. Jacobson, Henry James and the Mass Market, 48.
22. James, The Princess Casamassima, 334.
23. Ibid., 333.
24. Fuller, “Latest Novel of Henry James,” 4.
25. “Mr. James’s Latest Novel,” 5.
26. [Hay], “James’s The Portrait of a Lady,” 8.
27. [Review of The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James, and A Laodicean, by Thomas Hardy], New York Herald, 5.
28. [Review of The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James], Chicago Tribune, 10.
29. “Mr. James’s Latest Novel,” 5.
30. James, The Portrait of a Lady, 33. Subsequent references to the text of the 1908 New York Edition are denoted parenthetically as PL. The Norton edition I used here includes a textual appendix mapping the variations between the 1881 and 1908 editions (493–575). References to the language used in the 1881 edition are indicated parenthetically as PL 1881, and the page number where that variation appears in the textual appendix is cited.
31. “Mr. James’s Latest Novel,” 5.
32. [Review of The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James, and A Laodicean, by Thomas Hardy], 5.
33. Oliphant, [Review of Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady], 382.
34. Henry James to Charles Scribner’s Sons, 27 January 1908, quoted in Anesko, “Friction with the Market,” 149.
35. James, Preface to Portrait of a Lady, 13.
36. Fuller, “Latest Novel of Henry James,” 4.
37. “Mr. James’s Portrait of a Lady,” 474. Baym, “Revision and Thematic Change in The Portrait of a Lady,” 627.
38. Baym, “Revision and Thematic Change in The Portrait of a Lady,” 634.
39. “Mr. James’s Portrait of a Lady,” 474.
40. Brownell, [Review of Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady], 103.
41. Pilkington, Francis Marion Crawford, i.
42. Crawford, Saracinesca, 4. Subsequent references are denoted parenthetically as S.
43. Crawford, The Novel: What It Is, 11. Subsequent references are denoted parenthetically as NWI. On Crawford’s writing The Novel: What It Is in response to Howells’s Criticism and Fiction, see Pilkington, Francis Marion Crawford, 110–12.
4 / Misreading The House of Mirth
1. Shari Benstock, in No Gifts from Chance (155), attributes this story to an article in the Detroit Post, 17 November 1906. The Post was actually not in press at that time, and I have been unable to locate the story in any other Detroit paper from the time; the search for the source is ongoing.
2. See Wolff, introduction to The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, vii. Further references to The House of Mirth are to the Penguin 1993 edition and are cited parenthetically as HM. See also “Books in Demand,” New York Times Saturday Review of Books, 18 November 1905.
3. The book’s enormous sales figures, along with the circulation records from public libraries, strongly suggest that middle-class readers made up a sizable portion of the audience for The House of Mirth; the upper class alone was not large enough to account for these numbers. For historical definitions of social classes in the early twentieth century, see Ohmann, Selling Culture.
4. Wharton, A Backward Glance, 207.
5. Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception.
6. Wharton’s abiding interest in the sales of her books is well known and well documented. For a lively discussion of this aspect of her authorial personality, see Lee, Edith Wharton; regarding her dissatisfaction with Scribner’s distribution and marketing of Ethan Frome, see especially 422–25.
7. Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life, 174.
8. Ibid., 166.
9. Peattie, “Mrs. Wharton’s House of Mirth”; Peattie, “Best Fiction of the Year.”
10. “Dust and Ashes.”
12. Bentley, The Ethnography of Manners, 184.
13. Ibid., 190.
14. Walter Benn Michaels, to whom Bentley’s readings of The House of Mirth and, more primarily, Custom of the Country, are in part addressed, reads this scene as a moment in which the risk-addicted Lily becomes “only a stand-in for another person who is impersonating her, the person of the writer” (The Gold Standard and the Logic of Naturalism, 240). Candace Waid argues that “the tableau vivant represents the scene of a triumphant woman writing letters, spelling out a word,” and “anticipating or rather scripting the audience’s response as she poses as the self-portrait of the author” (Edith Wharton’s Letters, 43).
15. Shuman, How to Judge a Book, 69.
16. Montgomery, Displaying Women, 165.
17. Ibid., 166.
18. “The House of Mirth,” New York Times Saturday Review of Books, 4 November 1905. When the readers’ forum was devoted to discussion of The House of Mirth, it frequently had the novel’s title as its headline; at other times, there was a different heading, such as “From Readers” or “The Average Reader.”
19. “The House of Mirth,” 18 November 1905.
20. “The House of Mirth,” 25 November 1905.
21. This stance exactly opposes the position Selden takes when he tells Lily that society is a “show” in which the actors are blind to the illusion but the audience can see clearly: “. . . [T]he queer thing about society is that the people who regard it as an end are those who are in it, and not the critics on the fence. It’s just the other way with most shows—the audience may be under the illusion, but the actors know that real life is on the other side of the footlights” (HM, 70).
22. “Topics of the Week,” 25 November 1905.
23. “The House of Mirth,” 25 November 1905.
25. Elinor Glyn was a London socialite whose society novels were best-selling succès des scandales in the United States (Mott, Golden Multitudes, 249–51). Three Weeks was published in England in 1907 and became an American best seller in 1908.
26. “The House of Mirth,” 9 December 1905.
27. “Mrs. Wharton’s Novel,” 30 December 1905.
28. “The Average Reader,” 6 January 1906.
30. “The House of Mirth,” 20 January 1906.
31. Cawelti, Apostles of the Self-Made Man, ix.
32. Barbara Hochman and I offered this reading nearly simultaneously in 2002–3; I in my unpublished dissertation, “Reading Up: Middle Class Readers and Narratives of Success from the 1890s to the 1920s” (Cornell University), and Hochman in her “Highbrow/Lowbrow: Naturalist Writers and the ‘Reading Habit.’”
33. Merish, Sentimental Materialism, 24.
34. Waid reads Lily’s flight from Bertha Dorset as her flight from sexual knowledge, marriage, and childbirth, and presents this as a key passage in her overall reading of the novel as Lily’s attempt to escape the “underworld” of dangerous eroticism for which Bertha Dorset stands (Edith Wharton’s Letters, 46–47).
35. Edith Wharton to Edward Burlingame, 23 November 1905, in The Letters of Edith Wharton, 98.
36. Advertisement, Chicago Herald Tribune, 18 November 1905, 9; Edith Wharton to Charles Norton, 31 October 1905, quoted in Benstock, No Gifts from Chance, 150.
37. Edith Wharton to Francis Kinnicutt, 26 December 1904, in the private collection of Amy Beckwith.
38. McGrath, “Wharton Letter Reopens a Mystery.”
39. Kaplan, The Social Construction of American Realism, 85.
40. Wharton, A Backward Glance, 206.
41. Dawson, “Lily Bart’s Fractured Alliances,” 22.
42. Lidoff, “Another Sleeping Beauty,” 239, 255.
43. “Mrs. Wharton’s ‘Sanctuary,’” BR9.
44. “Edith Wharton’s New Novel,” 2933–35.
45. Lee, Edith Wharton, 171.
5 / The Comforts of Romanticism
1. Kaplan, “Romancing the Empire,” 667.
2. See Glazener, Reading for Realism.
3. Allen, “Two Principles in Recent American Fiction,” quoted in Campbell, “In Search of Local Color,” 70–71.
4. Campbell, “In Search of Local Color,” 63.
5. Warner quoted in ibid., 66. Campbell offers a thorough reading of an extended excerpt from this essay.
6. See Johanningsmeier, “Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.”
7. Petrie, Conscience and Purpose, 79.
8. Brodhead, Cultures of Letters; Zagarell, “Troubling Regionalism.”
9. Jewett, Deephaven, 248. Subsequent references are indicated parenthetically by D. At one point Kate reminisces about Uncle Jack, who she had thought was old but “really was just out of college and not so old as I am now” (D, 136).
10. Zagarell, “Troubling Regionalism,” 647.
11. Ibid., 646.
12. See Koepflmacher, Ventures into Childland, 274; and Sorby, Schoolroom Poets, 176.
13. Romines, “In Deephaven,” 44–45.
14. Ibid., 44.
15. Cable, The Grandissimes, 6–7. Subsequent references are indicated parenthetically as G.
16. Ringe, “Narrative Voice in Cable’s The Grandissimes,” 13.
18. Kreyling, introduction to The Grandissimes, by George Washington Cable, ix.
19. James David Hart considers it the second best-selling book of 1898 (The Popular Book, 203), as it came in second on the Bookman bookstore best-seller list for that year; however, it only appears on Frank Luther Mott’s “better seller” list (Golden Multitudes, 324).
20. Howells, “The New Historical Romances,” 939.
21. Matthews, “The Historical Novel,” in The Historical Novel and Other Essays, 19. Matthews’s essay originally appeared in Forum, September 1897.
22. “Dr. Mitchell’s ‘Hugh Wynne,’” BR5.
23. Cather is scathing in her critique of Hugh:
As to Hugh Wynne himself, I am afraid I do not altogether admire him. The book is written in the first person, thus giving the young hero a great opportunity to talk about himself, which he does with a vengeance. He is forever telling how brave and how strong and how handsome he is, all of which had much better be left to the imagination. I do not like the man Hugh Wynne as well as I like the boy who took the schoolmaster’s flogging so bravely and was so tender with his mother. (Cather [Delay], “Old Books and New,” 12)
24. [Edmunds], “Some Thoughts on Hugh Wynne.”
25. [“Similia Similibus”], “‘Richard Carvel and ‘Hugh Wynne.’”
26. [Young], “‘Hugh Wynne,’ ‘Richard Carvel,’ ‘Janice Meredith.’”
27. [“Desdichado”], “Another View of ‘Richard Carvel.’”
28. [Review of Richard Carvel].
29. [“L.”], “Coincidences in Fiction.”
30. [“A.U.”], “An Appeal to Our Readers.”
31. [Moore], “Why ‘Richard Carvel’ Is Preferred.”
32. [“Veritas”], “Wants More like ‘Janice Meredith.’”
33. [“J.T.H.”], “The Toss of a Cent, for All Are Good.”
34. [Middleton], “‘Richard Carvel’ beyond Question.”
35. [“L.A.M”], “‘Hugh Wynne’ and ‘Richard Carvel’ Side by Side.”
1. Kirkpatrick, “‘Oprah’ Gaffe by Franzen.”
2. Winfrey, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 17 September 2010.
3. Glazener, Reading for Realism, 150.
4. For more on Chautauqua and the self-culture and self-education movements in America more generally, see Kett, The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties.
5. Rubin, The Making of Middlebrow Culture, 28.
6. Advertisement, New York Times, 23 January 1921, 50.
7. Advertisement, New York Times, 27 February 1921, BR9.
8. Advertisement, New York Times, 5 February 1922, 44.
9. On the Modern Library, see Satterfield, The World’s Best Books. For the Book-of-the-Month Club, see Radway, A Feeling for Books. For the Reader’s Subscription, see Krystal, Barzun, and Trilling, A Company of Readers.
10. From Richard Lacayo’s appropriately metatextual, quasi-postmodern review in Time magazine:
Here’s how you know you have written one of the year’s most anticipated novels. In the spring your publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, distributes 3,500 advance copies to reviewers and booksellers. Each comes with a note from your celebrated editor, Jonathan Galassi, the head of Farrar, Straus, who calls your book one of the best that his house, also home to Tom Wolfe, Scott Turow and the poet Seamus Heaney, has issued in 15 years. Next there’s a movie deal from the producer Scott Rudin, whose credits include Wonder Boys and A Civil Action. Then you get a dust-jacket photo lit in a way that turns your facial bones into Alpine escarpments. You also get a good-size spread—this one—in TIME, the magazine your late father always wanted to see you in. And in that story you get a sentence he would have loved: The Corrections is one of the great books of the year. (Lacayo, “Books: Great Expectations”)
11. Franzen quoted in Rooney, Reading with Oprah, 41.
13. Prose, “Shot through the Heart,” 214.
14. Rooney, Reading with Oprah, 41.
15. Franzen quoted in ibid., 43.
16. See Travis, “It Will Change the World If Everybody Reads This Book.”
28. Sandra194, 20 September 2010, http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Oprahs-Book-Club-Reading-Calendar-Freedom-by-Jonathan-Franzen/1|3#comments_top (accessed 4 November 2010).
29. 6dinnersid, 15 October 2010, http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Oprahs-Book-Club-Producer-Jills-Freedom-Discussion-1#comments (accessed 4 November 2010).
30. Kiki5026, http://www.oprah.com/package_pages/freedom/book-club-discussion.html (accessed 4 November 2010).
31. Jgluz, 29 October 2010, http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Oprahs-Book-Club-Reading-Calendar-Freedom-by-Jonathan-Franzen/1|3#comments_top (accessed 4 November 2010).
32. See Kakutani, “A Family Full of Unhappiness, Hoping for Transcendence.”