Born into an anti-slavery family of eight children, Howells aided his family by setting type in his journalist father's printing office.
Barry offers a brief overview of R. H. Stoddard's work and his family life and E. B. Stoddard's work as a novelist. Within this article, Barry also comments on the comings and goings of W. D. Howells and other well known members of New York literary society.
Barry mentions that Howells has left for England on a trip that relatively few people knew about and that was originally planned for the summer. He was supposed to spend the winter in Venice, but Barry reports that he will return to New York "in September and probably spend the season here." Howells reportedly plans to travel to Paris, London, and Holland (184).
Barry reports, "Though he [Howells] has justly criticised many things here, he enjoys living in New York and finds it a good place to work in" (184).
Barry also mentions that Howells is traveling with his daughter, Miss Mildred Howells, "whose contributions and illustrations in the periodicals have made her known both as a writer and as an illustrator" (184).
Stedman wrote the introductions to Mrs. Stoddard's novels when they were re-published (184).
Barry paraphrases Stedman's thoughts about competition between periodicals: "Mr. Stedman maintains, however, that each new periodical of genuine merit creates its own constituency without necessarily robbing its predecessors of any of theirs; so the multiplicity of our periodicals may, after all, be an unmixed blessing" (185).
Barry mentions that the Stoddard "household is a little literary world, for every member of it writes." Barry claims "Mrs. Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard's three admirable novels are well known to two generations -- to the younger through their republication, with an introduction by Mr. Stedman, a few years ago -- and her verse is frequently seen in magazines" (184).
Barry mentions that her son, Lorimer Stoddard, is also a writer. He contributed poems to Cosmopolitan, the Independent, and other periodicals, and also wrote several plays (184).
The article begins with noting that Richard Henry Stoddard plans to spend his summer months in Sag Harbor, as he does annually. According to Barry, "there is quite a little literary colony there" (184).
The article reports that Stoddard has been reviewing for the Mail and Express since 1880, "and its excellence is the best proof of the poet's vigor and enthusiasm; indeed, he has made the paper the authority on literary matters that it now is" (184).
Barry reports that Stoddard is aging physically, but "his eye was keen and bright and his talk full of animation and sparkle and spiced with delicious wit." Barry expresses surprise in learning that Stoddard was born and raised nearly seventy years earlier in the Boston area, especially since, as Barry claims, Stoddard "has been identified with New York for so many years." Stoddard's family was traditionally a sea-faring people, and Barry finds it interesting that the family produced a poet and writer rather than an adventurer (184).
Barry discusses Stoddard's position in the New York and Boston literary sensibilities: "Mr. Stoddard somtimes regrets that he left Boston. Perhaps a quarter century and more ago a man of his caliber might have felt most at home in the New England atmosphere of letters than in the commerical atmosphere of New York; but now we certainly have enough literary life to gratify almost any writer, and this Mr. Stoddard has helped to create. Indeed, his own household is a little literary world, for every member of it writes." Barry also discusses the literary careers of Stoddard's wife Elizabeth and his son Lorimer (184).
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