ED HOWE: Country Town Philosopher by Calder M. Pickett

ED HOWE: Country Town Philosopher

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The title of this biography of Edgar Watson Howe (1853-1937), the Kansas editor and author, is perhaps misleading. No genial old wood-whittler he--an irascible misogynist and misanthrope. Howe's generally caustic view reflected the puritanical politics of disillusion. Reformers (""do-gooders""), suffragettes, ""rights"" advocates, Populists, foreign entanglements, even religion--all got theirs. In a period which evidenced the deflation of the agrarian American dream, Howe's isolationism/conservatism was yet undoubtedly sharpened by his childhood. Son of a brutal, unfeeling father, a farmer and Methodist ""circuit rider,"" Howe practiced early-on a non-altruistic self-containment. In spite of Howe's garrulous newspaper, the Atchison Globe, his magazine and other writings, it is his novel, The Story of a Country Town, which still attracts considerable attention on campus as a forerunner to the American realities of Anderson and Lewis among others. Admired by Mencken, Willian Allen White, McIntyre, etc., the main body of Howe's journalistic endeavors are--judging by the samples--much less skilled and sophisticated than those of his more famous counterparts. Although this appreciation is, like most of Howe's work, more dogged and diffuse than imaginative, there seems to be no other biography in print.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 1968
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kansas