By William Dean Howells
Centering on a clash among a self-made millionaire and an idealistic reformer in turn-of-the-twentieth-century long island, A threat of recent Fortunes insightfully renders the complexities of the yank adventure at a time of serious social and financial upheaval and transformation. In its depiction of wealth, poverty, and big apple urban existence, it is still a strikingly modern work.
Reproduced here's the authoritative Indiana college Press variation edited and annotated by way of David J. Nordloh, with complete scholarly remark and vast textual gear.
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Additional info for A Hazard of New Fortunes (Penguin Classics)
In his respective artistic concerns for Irish and Albany history and for his wife, Edward struggles to understand himself and make others understand the truth of the public world of history and the private world of the enigmatic Katrina. Curiously, despite his awareness of history, and despite his attempt to use it to help his people, Edward's work and his marriage to Katrina are undermined in part by history itself: Edward's plays are not enough to bridge the great gap between his ancestry and Katrina's, for himself or for his people.
Even when the notions of myth or art are not a part of the main thematic or structural presentation of the novel, the ubiquity of their presence in the text confirms the centrality of their place in Kennedy's fiction, a place where past and present, then and now, are inextricably connected: Marion "Kiki" Roberts, Alice Diamond, Martin Daugherty, Edward Daugherty, Melissa Spencer, Helen Archer, Oscar Reo, Magdalena Col6n, Maud Fallon, Daniel Quinn, Will Canaday, Orson Purcell, Giselle Marais, and Peter Phelan are characters who are all part of the roll call of artists-novelists, playwrights, journalists, actresses, photographers, singers-who people the Albany cycle.
The shape of such a room, it must be said, has often startled or confused Kennedy's readers. His immensely successful fourth novel, Ironweed, was rejected thirteen times before publication, and Quinn's Book and The Flaming Corsage in particular did not always receive favorable reviews. Attention from literary scholars too has been limited. The shape of Kennedy's work, the singularity of his endeavor, probably contributes to this reception. The work resembles American realism in its depiction of the struggles of working-class figures, but it's neither the cramped, minimalist work of much contemporary realism nor is it concerned with the societal or psychological pressures on characters such as those in the late twentieth century (middle-class) worlds of Updike or Cheever.
A Hazard of New Fortunes (Penguin Classics) by William Dean Howells