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John Horne Burns Biography

(1916–53), The Gallery, Lucifer with a Book, A Cry of Children

american novels novel gallery

American novelist, born in Andover, Massachusetts, educated at Harvard. Burns's reputation has grown considerably since his death at the age of 36 and his first novel, The Gallery (1947), is now recognized as one of the great American novels of the Second World War. After service in military intelligence in the US Army in North Africa and Italy, Burns returned to the USA but subsequently took up residence in Italy. The Gallery reconstructs life around the Galleria Umberto in Allied occupied Naples at the end of the war through a series of what Burns calls ‘portraits’. The novel is episodic and fragmentary in a manner that echoes that of John Dos Passos, but the confrontation between American and Italian experience, both cultural and moral, evinces striking affinities with the treatment of the ‘international theme’ in the fiction of Henry James. His later novels are Lucifer with a Book (1949), a largely satirical account of an American private school, and A Cry of Children (1952), a love story.

[back] Alan Burns Biography - (1929– ), Europe after the Rain, Celebrations, Babel, Dreamerika!, The Day Daddy Died, Revolutions of the Night

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