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The Man Behind the Book: Literary Profiles…

The Man Behind the Book: Literary Profiles

by Louis Auchincloss

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Less profiles than appreciations, for Auchincloss always engages the author at his (or her, there are women "behind" some of these books) own estimate, however unfashionable that estimate might be. I wish more critics took such pains to try to appreciate what a given author does offer, rather than carping about what's missing. Although some famous names are considered (Henry James, Anne Bronte), most of these profiles concern the forgotten (Maxwell Anderson, F. Marion Crawford) or the unknown, at least by me, (Abbe Mugnier, Robert Herrick [the Chicago novelist, not the restoration-era poet]). If Auchincloss doesn't always convince me to pursue a given writer any further, it isn't from lack of persuasive skill on his part or charitable intention on mine. It's just that time is short. ( )
  jburlinson | Jul 10, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395827485, Hardcover)

The highly acclaimed and prodigious Louis Auchincloss has penned a collection of literary essays profiling 23 authors who have influenced his writing. Capturing the famous and the obscure, Auchincloss renders literary sketches in the style of Lytton Strachey; these portraits say almost as much about their author as their subject. Taking in writers ranging from Henry James to Ivy Compton-Burnett, Auchincloss displays a keen eye for distinction and makes devastating use of underhanded qualifications. In addition to being a revelation of Auchincloss's influences and character, The Man Behind the Book is an admirable work of literary reclamation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -0400)

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