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A literary triumph by a contemporary of Henry James, from Turtle Point Press. Henry Blake Fuller (1857-1929), a contemporary of both James and William Howells, lingers in a kind of literary purgatory. According to Carl Van Vechten, one of Fuller's greatest admirers, he is second only to James in American writing of that period. And it was no less than Edmund Wilson who singled out Bertram Cope's Year, written in 1919 as Fuller's finest work. Yet all this literary pedigree would be meaningless were not this novel so affecting today. Its rich texture and keen observational writing make it a masterpiece of American realism. The novel centers around a young mid-western college professor named Bertram Cope, and involves, among other things, the courtship of Cope by a gay older man. This open homosexuality -- the novel has several other gay characters -- was in fact the reason for the book's obscurity, as it was a taboo topic at the time. Most critics ignored the work outright when it was published, and Fuller later said he wished he had never written it. Only the writer James Huneker came to the novel's defense, comparing Fuller to Stendahl. It is past time to give this wonderful book the audience it so richly deserves.
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