William Dean Howells (1837-1920). A prolific writer of essays, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoirs, plays, and travel books, Howells was the gold standard of American letters from the Civil War until World War I. For many years he was the influential editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and from that chair befriended the likes of Mark Twain, Henry James, Bret Harte, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, all of whom, if asked, would have listed Howells as among the most influential writers of the age. He is credited with having developed a school of literature around the themes of realism. At his death he was known as the 'Lincoln of literature'. His 'Italian Journeys' is also available in Tauris Parke Paperbacks.