Stops of Various Quills

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Stops of Various Quills
Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 cover.jpg
Author William Dean Howells
Illustrator Howard Pyle
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Harper & Brothers
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 55
OCLC 670195864
Text Stops of Various Quills at Wikisource

Stops of Various Quills is a 1895 book written by William Dean Howells. 55 pages in length,[1] it features 43 poems and illustrations by Howard Pyle.


Limited edition printing with illustrations in sepia.

Howells had bonded with Pyle over similar ideas about literary realism and romance in literature and Pyle suggested a professional collaboration in 1891. Several poems by Howells with Pyle's illustration were published in Harper's Weekly before being collected as part of Stops of Various Quills.[2] Henry Clarence Pitz, illustrator and Howard Pyle biographer, describes this collaborative work as "a labor of love"—where the "great kinship" that existed between author and illustrator is evident in "both text and picture."[3] Howells and Pyle both lost children early in the year 1889; Howells, a daughter named Winifred and Pyle, a son named Sellers. Pitz relates how they "both suffered from interludes of melancholia" as a result—a term found etched in illustrations on the pages of "November" and "Question".[4]

Drawing comparison to work of the Boecklin school, Pyle's illustrations have been described as lavish,[5] and adorn each page. An "édition de luxe" was published (with a publication date of 1896), "limited to fifty copies, each signed by Mr. Howells and Mr. Pyle, with illustrations printed in sepia, and the full-page illustrations on Japan proofs in black." This edition sold for $15.[6]

Responses and analysis[edit]

The phrase "stops of various Quills" first appears in John Milton's poem "Lycidas", which was written in 1637. Howells's poems have been said to vary widely in craftsmanship.[7] The sonnet "The Bewildered Guest", featured in Stops of Various Quills, is considered to be one of his most quoted works.[5] Stops of Various Quills has been said to be of high quality and merit.[8] In conjunction with Poems, Howells was said to be a "major force in the shaping of American literature." It also was noted as dispelling the belief that Howells was a "fatheaded optimist."[9]


  1. ^ "Stops of various quills : Illustrated by Howard Pyle". Worldcat. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  2. ^ May, Jill P. and Robert E. Howard Pyle: Imagining an American School of Art. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2011: 36. ISBN 978-0-252-03626-2
  3. ^ Pitz, p. 106.
  4. ^ Pitz, p. 198.
  5. ^ a b Gross Cooke, p. 123.
  6. ^ The Literary News, p. 359.
  7. ^ Gross Cooke, p. 125.
  8. ^ Munsey's magazine, p. 119.
  9. ^ Haralson, p. 227.


  • Pitz, Henry C. (1975). Howard Pyle:Writer, illustrator, founder of the Brandywine School. 
  • Haralson, Eric (1998). Encyclopedia of American poetry: The nineteenth century. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-57958-008-7. 
  • Munsey's magazine. 15. The Frank A. Munsey Company. 1896. OCLC 39944154. 
  • William Dean Howells: a critical study. E.P. Dutton & Company. 1922. OCLC 274463. 
  • The Literary News. December 1895. OCLC 39944102. 

External links[edit]