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Oscar Firkins’s reputation as a critic is so thoroughly established that everyone interested in the progress of American letters will look forward to the publication of his study of William Dean Howells. After a preliminary chapter summarizing Howells’ life, he takes up the latter’s voluminous writings in the fields of autobiography, travel-sketches, novels and tales, plays, and poems. The work is thus not merely a delightful piece of criticism but a guide to the literary activity of a singularly attractive writer.