William Dean Howells Society (ALA)

Andrew Ball's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2017
Missouri, United States
Subject Fields: 
Literature, American History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

The William Dean Howells Society welcomes submissions for two panels at the 28th Annual American Literature Association Conference to be held in Boston, May 25-28, 2017. 

Panel 1: On the Neglected Works of William Dean Howells

Though “the dean of American letters” is acknowledged as a key figure in the history of American literature, critics have primarily focused on his most well-known works like The Rise of Silas Lapham and A Hazard of New Fortunes. For this panel, we invite proposals for presentations that examine texts from Howells’s extensive body of work that have remained largely neglected, or those devoted to topics that have received less attention. Potential topics could include but are not limited to: 

  • Howells’s late poetry
  • Howells’s YA literature for children and adolescents
  • Howells’s drama - his plays, farces, and sundry theatrical works 
  • Howells’s creative nonfiction 
  • Howells’s travel writing
  • Howells’s journalism - from his political journalism to his criticism and editorial work 
  • Howells and the beneficiaries of his mentorship and critical praise such as, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Charles Chesnutt, Hamlin Garland, Stephen Crane, and Frank Norris among many others
  • Howells and his contemporaries, such as James and Twain
  • Howells as tastemaker - as combatant in the “Realism War” or promoter of European authors  
  • Howells and Modernism 
  • Howells and regionalism 

Panel 2: Open Topic

For this session, we invite proposals for presentations concerned with any aspect of Howells’s life and work. 

Please submit 300-500 word abstracts to Andrew Ball (aball@lindenwood.edu) by January 15. The subject of the email should be “Howells ALA 2017” and the proposal should include any A/V needs you will require. 


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