Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Voice from Old New York by Louis Auchincloss




Readers lost a thoughtful, wise author when Louis Auchincloss died in January this year at the age of 92.

Auchincloss left a final, posthumous gift, however, a memoir of his youth titled “A Voice From Old New York.”

The novelist and biographer had written an earlier autobiography in 1974, “A Writer's Capital.” He could have written his last book about the decades that followed, but he chose to revisit his childhood.

Auchincloss is known for writing about the manners and society of New York City's wealthy. He took over where Edith Wharton left off. He had a knack for it because he was born into that world.

Growing up in New York City's Upper East Side, he had maids, nurses, additional homes on Long Island and Bar Harbor, Maine, and prestigious private schools, including Groton and Yale University.

In his numerous novels and biographies, he was able to distance himself from that milieu to write critically about the people that surrounded him, their failings as well as their humanities.

In “A Voice,” he focuses on his family, his parents and siblings, and on his friends. He drops quite a few famous names along the way. He was a cousin, for example, to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Obituary of Eleanor Dwight, Wharton scholar and biographer

From the New York Times: DWIGHT--Eleanor Collier, 72, died on November 16. Born September 5, 1938, in Boston, she attended St. Timothy's and Shipley schools and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1960. She earned a master's degree from Columbia University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in American literature from New York University in 1984. She lived all her adult life in New York City. An Edith Wharton scholar, she wrote an illustrated biography of Edith Wharton, published in 1994. Her other books portrayed Diana Vreeland, the Gilded Age in New York City, and tennis innovator James Van Alen. Her articles on gardens, travel, and literature appeared in Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful, and New York magazines, and the New York Times. She taught and lectured extensively on literature and gardens. She gardened with her husband at their summer home on Mount Desert Island, Maine. A formidable intellect, she served on the boards of Edith Wharton's estate "The Mount," the Colony Club, and the Garden Club of Mount Desert, and was a member of the Century Association. (read the rest at the New York Times site).

A Guestbook for remembrances is available here: