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[251] New England which established his fame as a writer. A modern instance and The rise of Silas Lapham are perhaps the finest stories of this group; and the latter novel may prove to be Mr. Howells's chief “visiting-card to posterity.” We cannot here follow him to New York and to a new phase of novel writing, begun with A Hazard of New Fortunes, nor can we discuss the now antiquated debate upon realism which was waged in the eighteen-eighties over the books of Howells and James. We must content ourselves with saying that a knowledge of Mr. Howells's work is essential to the student of the American provincial novel, as it is also to the student of our more generalized types of story-writing, and that he has never in his long career written an insincere, a slovenly, or an infelicitous page. My literary friends and acquaintance gives the most charming picture ever drawn of the elder Cambridge, Concord, and Boston men who ruled over our literature when young Howells came out of the West, and My Mark Twain is his memorable portrait of another type of sovereign, perhaps the dynasty that will rule the future.

Although Henry James, like Mr. Howells, wrote at one time acute studies of New England character,

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