Chicago Review of Books Press is dedicated to republishing classic Chicago literature in beautiful new editions — books that have remained valuable for one reason or another, be it their historical significance, the quality of the prose, or the ingenuity of the narrative, but aren’t widely available to modern readers. These books, while certainly products of their time, influenced a tradition of writing in Chicago that has culminated in the renaissance the city is enjoying today. We hope to make Chicago’s literary history more visible and available to readers, historians, and scholars.
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By Henry Blake Fuller
Published June 11, 2018
“Both audacious and restrained, expansive and provincial, relevant and quaint.”
—Kathleen Rooney, The Paris Review (2018)
“A multifaceted classic.”
—Phoebe Mogharei, Chicago magazine (2018)
Originally published in 1893, The Cliff-Dwellers was the first “Chicago novel” to win national acclaim, written by Chicago’s first LGBTQ novelist, Henry Blake Fuller. In 2010, Chicago magazine ranked it the sixth-best Chicago novel of all time.
Set in the fictional Clifton building on LaSalle Street (based on Chicago’s earliest skyscrapers like the Monadnock and the Tacoma), The Cliff-Dwellers “shocked and outraged” Chicagoans at the end of the 19th century for its unflattering depictions of the city’s cutthroat industrialism, violence, and preening upper class.
This 125th anniversary edition includes a new introduction by Adam Morgan, as well as 19 original illustrations from the novel’s serialization in Harper’s Weekly.
About Henry Blake Fuller
Fuller was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2000. Born in Chicago in 1857, he gained national acclaim thanks to his Chicago-set fiction, particularly in The Cliff-Dwellers (1893), With the Procession (1895), Under the Skylights(1901), and Bertram Cope’s Year (1929, sometimes called the first American gay novel).
Fuller was a frequent contributor to The Dial, and one of Harriet Monroe’s earliest supporters and collaborators on Poetry magazine in the 1910s. One of Chicago’s oldest private arts and literary clubs, The Cliff Dwellers, was named after Fuller’s novel, and founded by his friend and fellow writer, Hamlin Garland.