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Stories of Ohio (ebook)

By William Dean Howells
March 26, 2019

Nicknamed the "Dean of American Letters," William Dean Howells was a remarkable literary figure. A novelist, critic, and playwright, he forged friendships with luminaries such as Mark Twain, Henry James, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Though Howells is best known for his East Coast novels The Rise of Silas Lampham and A Hazard of New Fortunes, he never forgot his Ohio roots. In Stories of Ohio, Howells recounts the history of the state through short vignettes — from the Native burial grounds of the Serpent Mound, to the first European settlers on the frontier, to the Civil War generals and presidents the state birthed in the late nineteenth century.
“If these Stories distill into two hundred pages what Ohio was, they also suggest what Ohio could have been if compassion and a desire for intercultural exchange had superseded conquest as a motivating force on the frontier. That intercultural understanding and peaceful coexistence failed on the frontier is a legacy embedded in “our Ohio valleys” and bone-deep in those of us living in the Buckeye state today. If Ohioans and, indeed, Americans can confront the cruelties of our history just as we celebrate its crescendos, then perhaps we might make something meaningful out of the miseries etched in “the annals of Ohio.”  -- James Bruggeman at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal
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Belt Revivals is a series of reprints of unjustly forgotten, newly resonant works from the American Midwest. You can subscribe to the whole series here