The Cliff-Dwellers was the first American realist novel to use the rapidly developing city of Chicago as its setting. Henry Blake Fuller’s depiction of social climbing and human depravity among the “cliff-dwelling” residents and workers in the new Chicago skyscrapers shocked readers of the time, and influenced many American writers that followed. With its frenetic pace and many interrelated stories, it remains a compelling document of Chicago’s social history, as well as a searing indictment of modern American life at the close of the nineteenth century.
The extensive appendices to this edition include Fuller’s literary criticism and his correspondence about the novel, reviews, and visual and historical materials on turn-of-the-century Chicago and literary realism.
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