When Louis Auchincloss died on January 26, 2010, the event was overshadowed by the death of J.D. Salinger the following day. Two such diverse novelists it is difficult to imagine—one famed for a single sensationally seminal book; the other the author of some thirty works of refined and lofty fiction. Auchincloss, whose centenary fell on September 27 this year, would not only have expected to be eclipsed; he would have welcomed the timing. It was that patrician preference for a discreet exit. Auchincloss was arguably America’s pre-eminent novelist of manners and, at his death, probably its most distinguished man of…
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