Henry Blake Fuller

Henry Blake Fuller

Henry Blake Fuller (1857 – 1929) was an American novelist and short story writer, born in Chicago, Illinois.

Life and works

Fuller's early works are influenced by the works of Henry James, whose interest in the contrast between American and European ways of life informs both "The Chevalier of Pensieri–Vani" and "The Chatelaine of La Trinité." After 1892, however, his major influence is William Dean Howells. Novels like "The Cliff-Dwellers" and "With the Procession" follow Howells in describing American institutions as they are transformed by the economic and demographic changes of the late nineteenth century. The choice of Howells over James is deliberate, and is the subject of one of Fuller's important essays.

He also wrote twelve one-act plays, collected in "The Puppet Booth". He was a recognizable celebrity at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.fact|date=December 2007 He wrote for various journals, including The Dial, and he provided some editorial assistance to Poetry in its early years.

While he is considered one of the important novelists of Chicago's early years, his own relation to the city was often strained.fact|date=December 2007 The scion of one of Chicago's early settler families, he found the increasingly industrial and multicultural nature of the city offputting. His ambivalence is expressed in "The Cliff-Dwellers" and "With the Procession," both of which are set in Chicago. Nevertheless, "The Cliff-Dwellers," which is set in a high rise office building, is one of the first novels to treat at length social life in the new, skyscraper environment that was pioneered in Chicago.

His finest achievement, however, is "Bertram Cope's Year" (1919), a subtle novel about homosexuals in Chicago. It puzzled critics and embarrasses his friends. Its recent republication and enthusiastic reviews finally gave it the serious attention it deserves.


* "The Chevalier of Pensieri–Vani" (published anonymously)
* "The Chatelaine of La Trinité" (1892)
* "The Cliff-Dwellers" (1893)
* "With the Procession" (1895)
* "Under the Skylights" (1901)
* "Waldo Trench and Others" (1908)

External links



Regnery, Henry. "Creative Chicago." Chicago Historical Bookworks: Evanston, Illinois, 1993.

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