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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $14.00
  • July 2018
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92242-4
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

The Rise of Silas Lapham

Norton Critical Editions


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William Dean Howells (Author), Paul R. Petrie (Editor)


“I love teaching The Rise of Silas Lapham because it is a rich opportunity to examine humor, American Dream ideology, and realism (and sentimentalism) in American literature. It’s always worked well in my classes as a text that helps expand and clarify my students’ literary theoretical understanding of realism.”
—GREGORY EISELEIN, Kansas State University

“In a time of financial and political anxiety, Paul Petrie has reestablished the power of one of the great realist novels of business and ethics. This new edition of The Rise of Silas Lapham deserves to be read and reread for the messages it can deliver about our own morality.”
—DANIEL J. MROZOWSKI, Trinity College

This Norton Critical Edition includes:
· The text of the novel as it first appeared (serialized in 1884–85), with explanatory annotations by Paul R. Petrie.
· A wealth of contextual materials, including maps of contemporary Boston, correspondence about the novel’s composition, excerpts from Howells’s essays on literary realism, and readings carefully chosen in order to help students understand American society during the Gilded Age.
· Over a dozen reviews of the novel and letters from Howells’s early readers.
· Twelve modern essays exploring the novel’s style and themes.
· A Chronology of Howells’s life and a Selected Bibliography.

About the Series

Read by more than 12 million students over fifty-five years, Norton Critical Editions set the standard for apparatus that is right for undergraduate readers. The three-part format—annotated text, contexts, and criticism—helps students to better understand, analyze, and appreciate the literature, while opening a wide range of teaching possibilities for instructors. Whether in print or in digital format, Norton Critical Editions provide all the resources students need.



Several images in various media help paint a fuller picture of Howells's time and place. 

Composition History

A rich selection of correspondence to and from Howells, some material from his notebooks, and a section detailing his changes to two specific controversial passages from the novel, give a sense of the writer at work. 

Package Offer

Students save 25% on packages of two or more NCEs.