The Rise of Silas Lapham [William Dean Howells] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Rise of Silas Lapham is about the materialistic rise. The The Rise of Silas Lapham Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character by William Dean Howells The novel begins with the business man protagonist, Silas Lapham’s involvement with an interview . The novel recounts the moral dilemma of Colonel Silas Lapham, a newly wealthy , self-made businessman who has climbed over his former partner on the.

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Hubbard’s notice of Lapham’s typist is significant, because she is later te to be Jim Millon’s daughter. He visits with the daughters of the Colonel frequently, some confusion occurs not only as the two families of different social classes intermix but also in a classic who-loves-who mix up. Howells has been criticized for not having much to say in his novels, but I found this book to be very interesting.

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This is by far the worst of them. There are charming subtleties throughout all of Howells’ novel that will only be noticed and appreciated by a close reader.

Toil and you shall receive. Most hoewlls the works of literature that made up the canon during the late nineteenth century were classified as realistic literature.

The evening proves a disaster for Lapham who, unaccustomed to wine, overindulges and speaks too openly and boastfully. From the very first paragraph, this felt as comfortable as putting on old comfy clothes and stretching out in the recliner. The Rise of Silas Lapham. Oct 29, Michelle rated it really liked it Shelves: The characters are vivid.

The Rise of Silas Lapham, by William Dean Howells

Lapham refuses and loses his business, but his concern for the good of the settlers redeems him morally. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs.

Is this feature helpful? I heard him referred to in a book as “The American Dickens” but he reminds me more of Wharton, just he is kinder to his characters.

Such stories are less weighty today. Silas’ morality does not fail him. Finally bitten by the desire to promote their daughters into real society the Laphams decide to build a lavish home in the Back Bay region and adorn it with an impressive library. People don’t behave stupidly just for the sake of amping up the melodrama, women don’t marry the wrong man simply because it’s expected of them, misunderstandings between husband and wife are cleared up relatively promptly rather than dragged out for hundreds of pages, the self-made man isn’t shown as the acme of perfection, and tbe blue-b The Norton Critical Edition says that this novel is an early example of Realism, and I’d have to say that “realistic” is the perfect adjective for this story.


I recommend this book to those of you who like American Realism – “a style in art, music and literature that depicted contemporary social realities and the lives and everyday activities of ordinary people.

Lapham, his wife, and two daughters, are pleased with their new social status, but ignorant in the ways of the upper class, and naive about proper behavior, protocol, etc. The time setting of this book is in the s, but not that much has changed since then! Maybe it’s just me, but I am finding good manners particularly refreshing lately. One such plot is discussed at more length by the characters, only to have the plot of Silas Lapham turn in the same direction.

It was no chance at all. This is important later when the Coreys are presented with not only money but also education and social elegance as reasons for their prominence. Howells, who had written a campaign biography of Abraham Lincolnattacked the formulaic style of biographies of the day, including the “rise” from early adversity to later success. The movement began in literature in the midth century. Though this is perhaps his best known work – and maybe his best work also – this is still just 4 stars from me.

His only passion is his paint and his morality. More importantly, by setting the titular character up as a representative of the new class of self made rich men and then having him make choices for moral reasons to his financial detriment seems highly unrealistic with regards to the actual history of unscrupulous robber barons. I’ve been told that his corpus is a very moral one, and there’s very little innuendo in any of his novels.

Jul 05, Jim Leckband rated it it was ok. This is fine 19th century novel. Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Howells’ comments on novels were amusing. Boston, Massachusetts United States. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Going into this book I had been lead to expect a forgotten masterpiece of American literature and for at least the first third or so it was living up to my expectations.


Silas’ material rise is a romantic story, but it also sets the framework for a more realistic one dealing with his moral rise as a humanitarian who refuses to cheat the English settlers.

Lists with This Book. His “new money” status contrasts sharply with the “old money” of a young Tom Corey who brazenly asks to work for Silas Lapham [also referred to as the Colonel for his past military position]–offering his language skills and travel experience as tools to expand the paint business internationally.

And yet, Silas and his family come through their financial ruin with their characters not only intact, but also strengthened and edified. The University of North Carolina Press, Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles with Project Gutenberg links. Silas Lapham is a self-made millionaire from the very wrong side of the tracks who doesn’t know what to do with his money.

The plot has not just one but several elements that all tie together – business deals, a triangle love affair, disputes within marriages and a fire. It is refreshing to read a novel where actions have consequences, and the protagonists bear gracefully even the negative consequences. The comedy part comes in with the irony that Silas Lapham views his honest earning of a fortune through commercial enterprise as a sign of his social worthiness, while the old money upper class society views that same Another book I read as a result of my recent interest in the lesser-known authors and novels of the ninetheenth century, Silas Lapham was pretty good.

Oh and by the way love triangles never work out. The story follows the materialistic rise of Silas Lapham from rags to richesand his ensuing moral susceptibility. Howells was very well connected as a writer in Boston and traveled widely abroad during his life among the upper class. His material fall owing to his moral flaw of greed in his dealings with Rogers is predicted to introduce an element of tragedy.

This page was last edited on 4 Decemberat This book is a window into a time capsule which is not easily accessible of time in late 19th century Boston.

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