The Rise of Silas Lapham
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: April 2012
Duration: 12 hours 4 minutes
Howells' best-known work and a subtle classic of its time, The Rise of Silas Lapham is an elegant tale of Boston society and manners.
After garnering a fortune in the paint business, Silas Lapham moves his family from their Vermont farm to the city of Boston in order to improve his social position. The consequences of this endeavor are both humorous and tragic as the greedy Silas brings his company to the brink of bankruptcy.
The novel focuses on important themes in the American literary tradition-the efficacy of self-help and determination, the ambiguous benefits of social and economic progress, and the continual contradiction between urban and pastoral values-and provides a paradigm of American culture in the Gilded Age.
"Mr. Howells has made a patient study of Boston people, and shows himself a delicate satirist...[An] able and thoroughly enjoyable novel."-New York Times, 1885
"A novel which no one can neglect who cares to understand American character...[Howells] has at last attained the mastery of narrative which we see in The Rise of Silas Lapham."-Saturday Review (London), 1885