William Howells was an American realist author and literary critic. In 1904 he was one of the first seven members chosen for the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Howells wrote plays, criticism, and essays about contemporary literary figures such as Ibsen, Zola, Verga, and, Tolstoy. These writings helped to establish their reputations in the United States. Perhaps his greatest influence came from his writing critically in support of many American writers. A Foregone Conclusion is the story of a young American painter who roams through Europe for years before at last deciding to marry the woman who he erroneously thinks, has been in love with an Italian priest turned agstic.