Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aimless Reading: The H's, Part 34 (William Dean Howells)

Howells, William Dean
The Rise of Silas Lapham

Purchased at the Fordham University Bookstore for a course called, "American Literary Realism." I don't think I actually read this. In fact, I am not sure I read any of the books for this class. No, that's not true, I remember reading The Yellow Wallpaper and Huckleberry Finn. I did not read this or Sister Carrie or The Country of the Pointed Firs or anything else I was assigned. I guess I discovered I really had no interest in the subject at the time.

I was just reading the Wikipedia page on Howells and discovered this quote, which probably goes along way towards explaining my lack of interest in the subject, or at least the ideas behind it:

I hope the time is coming when not only the artist, but the common, average man, who always 'has the standard of the arts in his power,' will have also the courage to apply it, and will reject the ideal grasshopper wherever he finds it, in science, in literature, in art, because it is not 'simple, natural, and honest,' because it is not like a real grasshopper. But I will own that I think the time is yet far off, and that the people who have been brought up on the ideal grasshopper, the heroic grasshopper, the impassioned grasshopper, the self-devoted, adventureful, good old romantic card-board grasshopper, must die out before the simple, honest, and natural grasshopper can have a fair field.

Personally, I rather like the idea of an ideal grasshopper. Call me a platonist. See if I care.

1 comment:

konrad said...


I mean i like the idea of an ideal, too.