Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Howells, William Dean

(1837-1920) US writer who remains best-known for his many realist novels; of sf interest are A Traveler from Altruria (1892-1893 Cosmopolitan; rev 1894), a central US Utopia, and others. The Undiscovered Country (1880) deals with psychic phenomena from a rationalizing perspective (> Rationalized Fantasy), as do the Club Stories assembled as Questionable Shapes (coll 1903) and Between the Dark and the Daylight (coll 1907), in which the central character Wanhope methodically debunks the Ghost Stories told by fellow club members. The Seen and the Unseen at Stratford-on-Avon (1914) features William Shakespeare who, in this 20th-century Reincarnation, must defend himself against those – like Mark Twain, to whose Is Shakespeare Dead? (1910) this tale is a direct response – who believe Shakespeare's plays were written by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Shapes that Haunt the Dusk (anth 1907) with Henry Mills Alden (1836-1919) assembles fantasies and Supernatural Fiction by authors who, except Howard Pyle, are now forgotten. [JC]

William Dean Howells

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.