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“... a group not to be matched elsewhere in the country...”

William Dean Howells, from Literature and Life (1902):

Could one say too much of the literary centre at Chicago? I fancy, yes; or too much, at least, for the taste of the notable people who constitute it. In Mr. Henry B. Fuller we have reason to hope, from what he has already done, an American novelist of such greatness that he may well leave being the great American novelist to any one who likes taking that role. Mr. Hamlin Garland is another writer of genuine and original gift who centres at Chicago; and Mrs. Mary Catherwood has made her name well known in romantic fiction. Miss Edith Wyatt is a talent, newly known, of the finest quality in minor fiction; Mr. Robert Herrick, Mr. Will Payne in their novels, and Mr. George Ade and Mr. Peter Dump in their satires form with those named a group not to be matched elsewhere in the country. It would be hard to match among our critical journals the ‘Dial’ of Chicago; and with a fair amount of publishing in a sort of books often as good within as they are uncommonly pretty without, Chicago has a claim to rank with our first literary centres.

February 14, 2019 in Books, Chicago Observations | Permalink


Can't compare with Joliet, I imagine.

Posted by: Paul at Feb 15, 2019 4:48:51 PM

Speaking of Chicagoland writers: We bought a house two months ago and are now in the "unpacking and shelving of books" phase. Your novel is shelved for now next to the works of Milan Kundera, after a brief stint next to Orwell, who came to take up too much space. Your book may end up on our guest-room shelf, where I tend to put books by writers I know so people who stay with us can discover them. (If that happens, you'll be alongside the Bible, the Quran, a two-volume history of Judaism, lots of pulp sci-fi, Philip Roth, Homer, and a funny little picture book about cats.)

Posted by: Jeff at Feb 21, 2019 9:08:12 PM

Praising Joliet fiction writers would be rather unseemly, because I’m the only Joliet fiction writer that I know of. I do know one other who grew up here, but now lives in Arizona.

Posted by: Pete at Feb 28, 2019 7:23:30 AM

Jeff, it looks like my closest genre competition there is the funny little picture book about cats, so there’s a good chance I’ll be read. Speaking of which, I’ve been tempted to drop a copy of one of my books on the counter of the coffee kiosk at my train station, where it would compete only with romance novels.

Posted by: Pete at Feb 28, 2019 7:29:54 AM