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William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

The Rise of Silas Lapham

By William Dean Howells, 1885


Table of Contents

  1. I
  2. II
  3. III
  4. IV
  5. V
  6. VI
  7. VII
  8. VIII
  9. IX
  10. X
  11. XI
  12. XII
  13. XIII
  14. XIV
  15. XV
  16. XVI
  17. XVII
  18. XVIII
  19. XIX
  20. XX
  21. XXI
  22. XXII
  23. XXXIII
  24. XXIV
  25. XXV
  26. XXVI
  27. XXVII

[List of Illustrations]

Most of the following illustrations are from the 1950 Dodd, Mead edition of illustrated classics, which lacks any copyright notice. The editions in Howells's lifetime were not illustrated, neither in the original magazine serials nor in book form.
  1. Boston photographed from balloon over Cambridge.
  2. Photograph, William Dean Howells at age 18.
  3. Boston Common in the 1880s.
  4. Howells at the turn of the century
  5. Beacon Street, looking up the hill toward the State House, from Charles Street, opposite the Common
  6. South End row houses such as those in "Nankeen Square."
  7. Water side of Beacon Street. Oval doorway is Oliver Wendell Holmes's, at 296. Howells lived at 302 Beacon
  8. Howells in garden of his country home, probably Belmont.
  9. Exciting photograph of Nantasket Beach as it must have looked to the Laphams.
  10. 48 Mount Vernon Street, Beacon Hill, possibly home of the Coreys (surely they did not really live in Bellingham Place, on the working-class north slope of the Hill)
  11. Mount Vernon street, looking toward the Charles River from where the Coreys might have lived.
  12. Howells and his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).
  13. Louisburg Square, Beacon Hill, where Howells, Alcott, Aldrich, and other successful people such as the Coreys lived. The statue is of Columbus.
  14. Howells at his desk, probably at 302 Beacon Street.
  15. The Public Garden, 1889 photograph. Lapham's house would have been a block or two to the right. The steeple is of Arlington Street Church; the mansard block on the right is the Atlantic Monthly's.
  16. Howells as an old man

[A Note on the Text]

The Rise of Silas Lapham was published serially in the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, from October 1884 to May 1885. It was then put out in book form by Ticknor and Company, Boston, copyright 1884.

The present HTML online text is based on an unknown English edition, as scanned by Project Gutenberg and posted as HTML at We have restored some missing parts of the text and restored the American spelling and punctuation of the serial edition in place of the Anglicised spelling of that online text.

The authoritative, scholarly text of this book was established by Walter J. Meserve and David J. Nordloh, and published by Indiana University Press as part of the Howells Collected Edition set. That text is an approved text by the Center for Editions of American Authors, Modern Language Association of America. Because it was copyrighted in 1971 by Indiana University Press and the Howells Edition Editorial Board, we were not able to use it here. That text is used by the popular Norton Critical Edition and Penguin Classics edition (PS2025.R5, 1983 813'.4 82-24038 ISBN 014-03-9030-8). The only significant difference we could find in proofreading between that edition and this one is that the Howells Edition text spells contractions such as "wont" in speech acts without the apostrophe, while we have modernized it to spell such words with the apostophe. Like the Howells Edition, we have placed in an appendix some text that Howells changed from the serial edition, whether before or after criticism it was anti-Jewish.

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