The book is Italian Journeys in the later part of his long and productive life he wrote well over a dozen novels thirty-one dramas a few volumes of verse several autobiographical works eleven books of travel W. D. Howells was considered one of America's foremost men of letters. Italian Journeys. written during the four years Howells spent as an American consul in Venice is more than a lively knowing and entertaining book of travel. It is also a shrewd and perceptive inspection of persons and places European. On every page it interrogates European values while between every line it grapples with problems of American identity.