By Henry Blake Fuller
“Entertaining . . . eminently readable, exclusive via fantastically evoked interval surroundings and sly humor.”—The ny Times
America’s first homosexual novel, released in 1919.
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Extra resources for Bertram Cope’s Year
In full possession of his powers at the end of the century, Fuller inspired praise as a stylist and masterly technician of literary form, but he also routinely baffled his readers and critics by producing a successive body of works that resist easy classification, Bertram Cope’s Year among them. By 1896, for example, Fuller’s work took an unexpected turn away from realist novels and toward the symbolic drama. This was largely the result of his having come under the influence of the work of the Belgian playwright, Maurice Maeterlinck.
One critic who did appreciate that meaning was Carl Van Vechten, who in 1926 generally praised the book. ”13 Fuller was grateful for Van Vechten’s insight. “I welcome your essay,” he wrote, “the first general view and estimate of my work that I have ever met. My hair is not ‘on end’—if you are referring to the section on Bertram Cope: your account of the book is the only intelligent one I have encountered” (quoted in Scambray, 153). For some early critics and readers of the book the double reading approach proved to be something of an obstacle to understanding Fuller’s intent.
Encouraged by his friend Anna Morgan, a drama teacher whose Chicago studio staged some of the first productions of the work of Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, and Maeterlinck in the United States, Fuller began delivering lectures on Maeterlinck and writing about the Chicago theater scene. At one of those lectures “Mr. ”7 His enthusiasm for the richly symbolic style of Maeterlinck’s plays led him to publish a volume of twelve one-act plays of his own under the title of The Puppet Booth (1896).