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Henry Harland

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Novelist, b. of New England parentage, at St. Petersburg, 1 Mar., 1861; d. at San Remo, 20 Dec., 1905. His father, Thomas Harland, of Norwich, Conn., was a New York lawyer of great ability. Henry attended the College of the City of New York. In 1881 he went to Harvard, where he studied theology for a year. The next year was spent in Italy, chiefly in the best social and artistic circles of Rome. Returning a Catholic at heart, he did not join the Church out of regard for his wife. Due at nine at his desk in the Surrogate's Court of New York, he rose at four a.m. and worked till eight on his first novel "As It Was Written" (New York, 1885). "Mrs. Peixada" and "The Yoke of the Thorah" followed. They form a sort of Jewish trilogy. His interest in the race grew out of his friendship for a young Hebrew. These and seven other successful novels were signed "Sidney Luska", a name and books which Harland, now a fastidious stylist, wished to sink into oblivion. Going to Paris in 1887, Harland and his wife soon settled in London. Their experiences he parodied in a play, "The Light Sovereign" (1889). Henry Harland for years wrote only short stories of exquisite workmanship for various reviews. Some of them are over-redolent of the Latin-Quarter: they have been collected in "Mademoiselle Miss" (London, 1893), "Grey Roses" (London, 1895), and "Comedies and Errors" (London, 1898).

The centre of a coterie of littérateurs , Harland projected a quarterly for them, the black and white work being done by Aubrey Beardsley. Appearing in Jan., 1894, "The Yellow Book" made Harland and Beardsley the lions of the hour, and the vogue continued till Harland's failing health stopped the publication in 1897. In this year Harland and his wife were received into the Church. In 1898 appeared "The Cardinal's Snuff Box", a delightfully buoyant novel of Italian life. It is so pervaded with the beauty of the Catholic Faith (as are all of Harland's writings from this on) that it has made converts. In 1902 was published his masterpiece, "The Lady Paramount", likened by John Oliver Hobbes to a Shakesperian comedy. In 1904 came "My Friend Prospero", in the same charming vein. "The Royal End" (1909) was incomplete when Harland died. His wife finished it according to his notes. Despite ill health, Harland, always whimsically joyous, was, still more than Beardsley, a "boy who never grew up". At thirty his physician gave him two years to live, but he prolonged them to fourteen most fruitful ones. In sight of the home built by the family at Norwich, Conn., before 1776, Henry Harland lies buried near his people, but in consecrated ground, with a Roman cross at his head.

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