The Collected Stories of Louis Auchincloss

Overview

"Auchincloss belongs among the masters of American short fiction," Kirkus Reviews recently noted, calling for "a fat collection spanning his forty-plus years of story-writing." Here at last is just that book, a treasury of Louis Auchincloss's finest stories and novellas, selected by the author. In his introduction to this volume, Auchincloss writes, "The fashion in short stories of the past half-century has tended to favor those that deal with a single episode . . . the turning on of a light, so to speak, to illuminate a dark room. But I have
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1999 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 465 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

"Auchincloss belongs among the masters of American short fiction," Kirkus Reviews recently noted, calling for "a fat collection spanning his forty-plus years of story-writing." Here at last is just that book, a treasury of Louis Auchincloss's finest stories and novellas, selected by the author. In his introduction to this volume, Auchincloss writes, "The fashion in short stories of the past half-century has tended to favor those that deal with a single episode . . . the turning on of a light, so to speak, to illuminate a dark room. But I have stuck to the leadership of Henry James and Edith Wharton . . . in giving my tales the scope of months, even of years." Indeed, Auchincloss deftly condenses time in much of his fiction, and the light he sheds on his startlingly real characters - their choices, their foibles, their delusions, their alliances - is all the more revealing for it. Essential for Auchincloss's loyal followers and a perfect introduction for initiates, The Collected Stories of Louis Auchincloss offers a wealth of delights from the pen of one of the most distinguished, prolific, and entertaining standard-bearers of American letters.

"Auchincloss belongs among the masters of American short fiction, " Kirkus Reviews recently noted, calling for "a fat collection spanning his forty-plus years of story-writing." Here at last is just that book, a treasury of Louis Auchincloss's finest stories and novellas, selected by the author.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spanning Auchincloss's distinguished career from the first story to appear under his own name up to the present, this hefty collection displays consistent excellence in observing the spheres of art, law, money and society. In the tradition of Henry James and Edith Wharton, even the briefest pieces, ``The Reckoning'' and ``The Novelist of Manners,'' offer a novel's richness of character and plot, as people and art, morality and etiquette mix uneasily. Auchincloss adds historical and aesthetic twists to the psychologically ambiguous ghost story ``The Prison Window'' and to ``They That Have the Power to Hurt,'' about the late-blooming affair between a lady novelist and a writer manqu. Many entries contain enough material for two or three narratives, such as the stories of the law clerks of ``The Mavericks'' or of the pre- and post-Civil War careers of a Virginia aristocrat in ``Ares.'' Conversely, the novella ``The Stoic'' effortlessly compresses a great deal of history into a small space of literature through a financier's life. Only the author's portraits of ethnic outsiders among his WASPs are occasionally flawed, and the two weakest pieces, ``The Money Juggler'' and ``The Fabbri Tape,'' where he makes central use of such characters, are thinned with essay-like tendentiousness. Overall, though, this superb collection evinces a master's sure touch for both the intimate and the social. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Auchincloss doesn't write legal fiction exclusively, but his best work is law-related. In contrast to colleagues John Grisham and Scott Turrow, he focuses on law firm culture and office politics, not on high-profile crime and courtroom drama. In the typical Auchincloss story, a talented outsider tries to gain, or to maintain, access to an exclusive in-group. In "The Mavericks," a rebellious junior associate begins to date a senior partner's daughter. In "The Fabbri Tape," an Italian immigrant's son jeopardizes his law career for a country club friend. In "The Novelist of Manners," a lawyer with artistic ambitions becomes obsessed with a novelist client. Written over a 45-year period and arranged in the order they were published, these stories have a distinct 19th-century feel. This is a world where men are "cads" and a working woman is an anomaly. Recommended as an excellent introduction to this prolific author.-Edward R. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Donna Seaman
It is right and proper that Auchincloss' fiftieth book is a retrospective collection of his short stories. In his introduction, Auchincloss confides that it was "surprisingly easy" to select the best of his tales; they "simply jumped out" at him. He goes on to tell us what is obvious from his meticulous style, rarefied milieu, and subtle yet dramatic moral and psychological conflicts--that his greatest influences have been Henry James and Edith Wharton. Auchincloss' fascination with old and wealthy New York is a fascination with his own roots. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a Wall Street lawyer who practiced for 45 years. For Auchincloss, the law nurtured his writing; he explains: "For what is a case but a short story? What was the law but language?" Prolific without once cheapening his pristine prose or skimping on his modulations of character and careful rendering of their particular brand of dilemmas, Auchincloss has been called one of America's most underrated writers in spite of some early successes. This strong and varied set of 19 stories will do much to correct any such neglect. It begins with one of his first stories, the perfectly composed and quietly tragic "Maud," originally published in 1949, and continues on to the roguish "They That Have the Power to Hurt" from Auchincloss' last sterling book of new short stories, "Tales of Yesteryear".
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395710395
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 12/1/1994
  • Pages: 465
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.61 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Maud 1
Greg's Peg 31
The Colonel's Foundation 57
The Mavericks 73
The Single Reader 113
Billy and the Gargoyles 129
The Gemlike Flame 145
The Money Juggler 167
The Wagnerians 191
The Prince and the Pauper 209
The Prison Window 227
The Novelist of Manners 243
In the Beauty of the Lilies Christ was Born Across the Sea 257
The Fabbri Tape 293
Portrait of the Artist by Another 313
The Reckoning 337
Ares 353
The Stoic 381
They That Have Power to Hurt 441
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