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Henry Blake Fuller Biography

(1857–1929), The Chevalier of Pensieri-Vani, The Chatelaine of La Trinité, The Cliff-Dwellers

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Samuel Foote Biography to Furioso

American novelist and playwright, born in Chicago, educated at Allison Classical Academy, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Fuller drew on his travels in Europe in 1879 and 1883 in his first book, The Chevalier of Pensieri-Vani (1890; revised 1892), a series of linked stories often with a Jamesian theme of the confrontation of American innocence and brashness with European sophistication, and pursued these interests in The Chatelaine of La Trinité (1892). In both works the analysis of American society, particularly the attack on its materialistic and industrial preoccupations, is a pervasive concern. These concerns were registered with intelligence and maturity in The Cliff-Dwellers (1893) and With the Procession (1895), both set in Chicago. Fuller turned to drama with ‘O, That Way Madness Lies’ (1895), a one-act fantasy, and published The Puppet-Booth: Twelve Plays (1896), influenced by the puppet theatre of Maurice Maeterlinck and the music of Richard Wagner. Subsequent novels include The Last Refuge: A Sicilian Romance (1900) and Bertram Cope's Year (1919). Despite his declared intention, in a letter to his friend Hamlin Garland, to put up the ‘shutters’ on fiction, he wrote two more novels, Gardens of This World (1929) and Not on the Screen (1930). Although a relatively minor figure in American letters Fuller's place in the history of American literary realism is significant. See Fuller of Chicago: The Ordeal of a Genteel Realist in Ungenteel America (1974), by Bernard R. Bowron, Jr.

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