The Life and Letters of Henry Cuyler Bunner

By Gerard E. Jensen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
ANCESTRY AND CHILDHOOD

THE MOST STRIKING feature of the ancestry of Henry Cuyler Bunner is the hereditary literary disposition of several of his American forbears. Genealogy cannot fully account for men of talent, but in Bunner's case it explains a lifelong interest in art; and when we have become acquainted with his ancestors, we see in his literary works something more than an accidental phenomenon of ability. There were other creative influences in his early life, but heredity best accounts for Bunner's youthful passion for literary excellence.

The Bunners were probably of Palatine origin, and were transplanted to America during the early or middle years of the eighteenth century. The family records tell of three brothers-- Andrew ( 1741-1791), Rudolph (?-1778), and George--who were apparently the first by that name in colonial America. Concerning the first two there is definite information, chiefly reports of honorable and distinguished participation in the Revolution; but of George, the great-grandfather of H. C. Bunner, nothing certain is known--not even the usual dates of birth and death. His wife, Jane Cuyler (probably named for her mother Jeanne de la Touche), daughter of Telamon Cruger Cuyler, "lawyer in the city of New York and . . . a man of infinite wit," and granddaughter of Henry Cuyler (for whom H. C. Bunner was apparently named), was probably a resident of Savannah, Georgia, when George Bunner became her husband, for it is recorded that the Telamon Cuylers moved from New York to Savannah in 1768, and that in the latter city a son, Rudolph, was born to the George Bunners in August, 1779. And curiously enough this Rudolph eventually wandered north to live and die in Oswego, New York, and left his son Rudolph (born 1813) destined to remove to New York City and to take with him his

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The Life and Letters of Henry Cuyler Bunner
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Introductory ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter I - Ancestry and Childhood 1
  • Chapter II - Youth and Education 8
  • Chapter III - The Du Fais Letters, 1873-74 13
  • Chapter IV - Apprenticeship 23
  • Chapter V - Commencement 30
  • Chapter VI - Chiefly Dramatic 40
  • Chapter VII - Verse and Prose 50
  • Chapter VIII - New Friends and New Ventures 60
  • Chapter IX - Chiefly Epistolary 75
  • Chapter X - In the Thick of Things 92
  • Chapter XI - Matrimony and Music 105
  • Chapter XII - Four Busy Years 116
  • Chapter XIII - The New and the Old 130
  • Chapter XIV - A Multitude of Things 143
  • Chapter XV - Approaching His End 153
  • Chapter XVI - Bunner's Character 164
  • Chapter XVII - The Man of Letters 179
  • Chapter XVIII - The Poet 189
  • Chapter XIX The Editor 199
  • Chapter XX - The Short-Story Writer 212
  • Appendix 223
  • Index 225
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