Howells' criticism of romanticism in "Editha-.
William Dean Howells was a very straight forward writer who made his opinion known to many people. He was never a fan of the romantic era of writing that took place before him, but instead was the leading writer of literary realism in America. Some of his views are present in his short story "Editha-. Howells shows his views by his sarcastic portrayal of romanticism by Edithas' love for George, by romanticizing war, and by Editha romanticizing the death of George. He shows his true realistic view through the reality of George actually dying in war and through Georges mothers personality. .
There are several ways in which Howells pokes fun at realism by the use of the character Editha, but one of the more obvious ways is with Edithas' love for George. In the story it is very hard to decipher if Editha really loves George, or if she is just overtaken by the thoughts of true love and heroism. These feelings that Editha has are shown in the book when she is thinking about how George "had simply asked for her love and she gave it but if he could do something worthy to have her -be a hero, her hero -it would be grander."" (459) This set of lines shows that she may have been more into the thought of a knight in shinning armor than into the reality of having George. It shows would be happier having him win her, and possibly dying, than just plain having him. She thinks of life as a fairy tale and tries to urge George into this idealistic view, and unfortunately, prevails. .
Another thing that Howells romanticizes in "Editha- is war. War is shown, by Editha, as glorious and magnificent. Editha has caught what is called "war fever."" Several time in the story it mentions her "panting- with excitement. She is so caught up with the war from all the newspaper articles that she begins to feel patriotic. She speaks of the war as "glorious- and talks to George about the country being so "united.