Wizard of the Dome Critical Essays

Sidney Rosen


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The depiction of Fuller in Wizard of the Dome occasionally appears to be idealized, although a number of factors combine to make the book, at bottom, realistic. Rosen’s worshipfulness is evident both in his partisanship when dealing with Fuller’s theories and in the way in which he represents Fuller’s life.

The biographer continually castigates the industrialists who would not invest time or money in Fuller’s schemes and architects who turned up their noses at his projects. Rosen seems to believe that anyone could have seen that Fuller was right. In the long run, Fuller proved wiser than his critics, and yet it would have been more enlightening if Rosen examined the reasons for the critics’ prejudices rather than simply lambasting their wrongheadedness. Furthermore, Fuller is sometimes painted as too persevering, too far-seeing—that is, as too good to be true. If Fuller had any faults, the reader never learns about them. At times, Rosen becomes too much the booster and too little the biographer.

Yet the book does not seem excessively laudatory because Rosen balances praise with measured presentations of Fuller’s depressions, a touch of macabre humor, and a sense of intellectual excitement. Although Rosen never shows Fuller in a harsh light, he often shows him suffering. If the readers do not see the thinker’s flaws, then they see his heartaches, which makes him more human. Fuller is described as devastated by the death of his first child and as despondent when, often through a fluke, his plans were dashed.

Furthermore, given that...

(The entire section is 651 words.)