By Kaye Gibbons
Winner of the yank Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation's quotation for Fiction.
An eleven-year-old heroine tells her unforgettable tale with honesty, perceptivity, humor, and unselfconscious heroism.
“The honesty of inspiration and eye and feeling and word!”--Eudora Welty;
“A wonderful, breathtaking, occasionally heart-wrenching first novel.”--Walker Percy.
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Extra info for Ellen Foster: A Novel
1 (Spring 1960): 115-23; Kermit Vanderbilt, "Howells Studies: Past, or Passing, or To Come," American Literary Realism 7, no. 2 (Spring 1974): 143-54; and John W. Crowley, "Howells in the Seventies: A Review of Criticism, Part I," ESQ 25, no. 3 (1979): 169-89, and "Howells in the Seventies: A Review of Criticism, Part II," ESQ 25, no. 1 have found Crowley's bibliographical essay particularly useful for the categories and chronology I have deployed to explain reorientations toward Howells's realism.
But should the reader get into the narrative by another, unintended opening, then quite a different route is followed and a different experience may be obtained, one controlled not by the author-architect but by the reader as explorer of forbidden spaces. The kind of opening I am describing provides access not to the narrative but to the workings of the narrative, the infrastructure that lies within the story by means of which the author leads us. Moreover, by gaining access to the infrastructure, by discovering the way the novel has been designed to work, we can often gain access to the author as well.
P. 50) 34 The Lesson of Silas Lapham As Howells constructs his characters and their dilemmas, we see that Lapham's success depends upon his being an obsessive mind, a personality unable to define itself except in terms of a fixed idea that has all the passion of poetry and all the compulsion of survival to him — while to most others at most times it seems boring and prosaic. And, of course, it is just in the poetry of his passion that Lapham is morally vulnerable; for otherwise "blameless in all his life" (p.
Ellen Foster: A Novel by Kaye Gibbons