The Whole Family

A Novel by Twelve Authors

The Whole Family

Book Pages: 416 Illustrations: 12 illustrations Published: September 2001

American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Fiction

One of the most fascinating experiments in American literature resulted in The Whole Family. This unusual composite novel numbers among its twelve authors such luminaries as Henry James, William Dean Howells, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.
The idea for this collaborative venture originated with Howells in 1906. Under the guidance of Elizabeth Jordan, the energetic editor of Harper’s Bazar (as it was then known), each of the authors was invited to write a successive chapter in a story Howells envisioned as a definitive depiction of American family life. But the original plan underwent a dramatic reversal with a controversial chapter by Freeman. From that point, The Whole Family became a more involved story of family misunderstandings and rivalries that actually mirrored the rivalries of the contributors themselves.
Alfred Bendixen’s lively introduction offers the first accurate and complete account of the creation of this remarkable novel—uncovering new facts and revealing the turmoil out of which it was shaped. June Howard’s foreword provides an additional contextual and critical perspective.
The Whole Family will be enjoyed by admirers of American literature at the start of the twenty-first century as much as it was by those at the beginning of the twentieth. In addition to delightful plot twists and characters, it offers a remarkable view into the ways in which family life has—and has not—changed over the course of a century.

Full list of authors. Mary R. Shipman Andrews, John Kendrick Bangs, Alice Brown, Mary Stewart Cutting, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Elizabeth Jordan, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Henry van Dyke, Mary Heaton Vorse, Edith Wyatt



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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Table of Contents Back to Top
Illustrations iv

Foreward v

Introduction: The Whole Story Behind xi

The Whole Family / Alfred Bendixen

1 The Father / William Dean Howells 3

2 The Old-Maid Aunt / Mary E. Wilkins Freeman 30

3 The Grandmother / Mary Heaton Vorse 60

4 The Daughter in Law / Mary Stewart Cutting 80

5 The School Girl / Elizabeth Jordan 101

6 The Son-In-Law / John Kendrick Bangs 124

7 The Married Son / Henry James 144

8 The Married Daughter / Elizabeth Stewart Phelps 185

9 The Mother / Edith Wyatt 219

10 The School Boy / Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews 240

11 Peggy / Alice Brown 264

12 The Friend of the Family / Henry Van Dyke 293

Appendix 317

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2838-4
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