The Rise of Silas Lapham [William Dean Howells] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Rise of Silas Lapham is about the materialistic rise. The The Rise of Silas Lapham Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character by William Dean Howells The novel begins with the business man protagonist, Silas Lapham’s involvement with an interview . The novel recounts the moral dilemma of Colonel Silas Lapham, a newly wealthy , self-made businessman who has climbed over his former partner on the.

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There are charming subtleties throughout all of Howells’ novel that will only be noticed and appreciated by a howekls reader. Hubbard’s notice of Lapham’s typist is significant, because she is later revealed to be Jim Millon’s daughter. The Hubbard interview is the most objective, yet clever, way to present Silas’ background.

First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https: He makes a fool of himself and laphak promptly repents the next day.

Silas earns a fortune in the paint business, but he lacks social standards, and morals, which he tries to attain through his daughter’s marriage to the aristocratic Corey family, and is successful. Must a man’s desperate attempt to right a questionable moral wrong be permitted to cloud his judgment and propel him to the brink of bankruptcy?

The executor of the true American dream? This book is worth reading simply because of the structure — it is perfectly symmetrical. Louis Auchingloss says although William Dean Howells was commonly read a hundred years ago, these days only a couple of his novels draw any attention. For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies scattered…. This is a good American novel which is well shy of greatness because the author’s characters read with a few exceptions more like simple archetypes of the American Dream.

Vote in the poll and ratings. What made the book compelling to me was the innate goodness of all the major characters and their constant struggle to balance morality and self-sacrifice.


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The fact that he admires his mother’s working instead of praying points out Silas’ philosophy of “Work and it shall be opened to you. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Jul 05, Jim Leckband rated it it was ok. Because of the character of Persis, Lapham’s wife, who, although middle-class, is hoaells truly swell lady. He sought a shift from the romanticism and idealism characterizing earlier literature.


Instead, at the insistence of his wife, he fought and returned a colonel. Want to Read saving…. View all 9 comments.

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

The dialogue seems stilted, cold and formal in places but that may tend to be so in Boston. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Silas Lapham is a self-made millionaire from the very wrong side of the tracks who doesn’t know what to do with his money. Read reviews that mention silas lapham rise of silas william dean civil war tom corey dean howells old money gilded age back bay mineral paint nineteenth century paint business old rich wife persis late 19th century young man rise and fall read a novel howells work lapham daughters.

The Rise of Silas Lapham

Both endeavors came to lamentable ends. Finally bitten by the desire to promote their daughters into real society the Laphams decide to build a lavish home in the Back Bay region and adorn it with an impressive library. Millon is the man who laphma a bullet meant for Silas during the Civil War. Interweaving these two elements into one chapter displays Howells’ ability to subtly present tragicomedy.

Kindle Edition Verified Sils. Write a customer review. A recommended candidate for a classics reading list. He leverages his business to the point of bankruptcy, and can save it only by comprising his own sense of fairness.


There he meets the archetypal Brahmin family, the Coreys, who have issues with the Lapham family’s humble origins. Howells has a good time making fun of novels of the period. The length of howellw first chapter is significant because the great number of events, facts, and concepts that it contains prepare the reader for most of what is to follow. For Howells, the best fiction is that which jumps into the heads of different or hard-to-understand characters and lays bare their thoughts and motivations, revealing to the reader these alien people aren’t so very different after all.

Always mentioned as a highly influential writer I had never read a novel by William Dean Howells. If you want to retreat, or advance, depending on your perspective to complete other reality, Silas Lapham will do the trick.

Apr 14, Gale rated it liked it Shelves: Tom introduces a long-drawn out and then suddenly secondary love subplot into the novel.

Literature Notes: The Rise of Silas Lapham | CliffsNotes

WDH depicts a protagonist seated on the fulcrum of a moral seesaw, on which the man rises on one end while sinking on the other, in this fascinating and penetrating study of human motivation. There’s a lot for the fan of serious “mainstream,” or descriptive, fiction to enjoy here: Lapham’s display of his stock also predicts his downfall, which is additionally due to his overstocking the market.

Silas’ morality does not fail him. The side plot of Lapham’s daughters and the aristocratic Tom Corey is the best part of the book, if a little melodramatic. Howells later reveals that Mrs.