Dorothy Canfield Fisher Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The prolific writer and activist Dorothy Canfield Fisher was well known in both Europe and America during the first half of the twentieth century. Fisher’s career was multidimensional. She published twelve novels, several short-story collections, a number of books of nonfiction, and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. She was also a popular public speaker. Herself well educated—she earned a doctorate in romance languages from Columbia University in 1904—Fisher advocated for educational issues all her life, writing and speaking on such topics as adult education, equal education for women, and the Montessori method. She also played a key role in shaping American literary taste, serving as a member of the selection committee for the Book-of-the-Month Club for twenty-five years. Despite her many public roles, Fisher wanted to be remembered above all for her fiction.{$S[A]Canfield Fisher, Dorothy;Fisher, Dorothy Canfield}

Fisher’s work was greatly influenced by her parents’ careers and her family background. Her mother, Flavia Camp Canfield, was an artist who often traveled to Europe to study painting. At the age of ten Dorothy began accompanying her mother and was as a result educated partially in French schools, became proficient in several languages, and developed a lifelong love for European travel and culture. A major theme in her fiction is an exploration of cultural differences between Americans and Europeans, and she often set her novels and short stories in European countries. In Fisher’s first novel, Gunhild, for example,...

(The entire section is 641 words.)