A Dinner at (Henry)

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A Dinner at _____
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An author struggled to control his fictional character, who insisted on dining at a specific restaurant, fearing it would make him seem like a tout for the establishment.

Van Sweller, a wealthy and well-known gentleman, had a series of adventures and disagreements with his creator, the author of the story.

The Author — narrator; struggling writer; principled, stubborn.
Hudson Van Sweller — fictional character; wealthy, well-mannered, and experienced in New York high society; cunning, secretive.

The author tried to control Van Sweller's actions and behavior, but Van Sweller often resisted, insisting on following the conventions of the genre and the expectations of the readers.

One day, Van Sweller decided to dine at a famous restaurant, despite the author's objections. The author believed that including the restaurant's name in the story would make him seem like a tout for the establishment.

I created you for the hero of this story; and I will not submit to having you queer it.

Van Sweller argued that it was a necessary part of the story, as it was a tradition in metropolitan fiction and would please the readers.

The magazine editors. To please subscribers around Kankakee, Ill.

The author followed Van Sweller to the restaurant and forced him to leave before he could eat. Instead, they went to the author's small apartment, where they cooked a simple meal together. Van Sweller enjoyed the experience, finding it a refreshing change from his usual luxurious lifestyle.

Two weeks later, the author received a letter from a magazine editor, who praised the story's construction, style, and character development. However, the editor suggested that the story needed more social atmosphere and asked the author to rewrite it, including scenes of Van Sweller dining at the famous restaurant. The author was left to consider whether to follow the editor's advice and conform to the conventions of the genre, or to maintain his original vision for the story.