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THE BOSTON SEASONS OF SILAS LAPHAM
G. THOMAS TANSELLE
Studies in the Novel
Vol. 1, No. 1 (spring 1969), pp. 60-66
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29531309
Page Count: 7
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Howells makes seasonal references carry a heavy burden in both the structure and the meaning of The Rise of Silas Lapham. The exodus of wealthy Bostonians from the city in the summer and their return for the fashionable parties of the winter take on symbolic value as a background against which to view Lapham's ethical rise. His affairs reach their worst in winter, the time when a social rise can best be made; and his moral rise occurs in the season of natural growth. A Boston commonplace is thus used to reinforce the central theme: the triumph of naturalness over artificiality, of ethical standards over a cult of monetary success and social pretensions. (GTT)
Studies in the Novel © 1969 The Johns Hopkins University Press