The Style's the Man: Reflections on Proust, Fitzgerald, Wharton, Vidal, and Others

Louis Auchincloss, Author Scribner Book Company $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19742-5
This uneven collection of essays (many appeared originally in the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review and New Criterion) is a lesser performance by the prolific Auchincloss (The Book Class). Several pieces reflect his affection for Henry James and Edith Wharton, who share his concerns about the moral responsibilities of the American upper class. There are also interesting essays about William Gaddis and Gore Vidal. But the book's eclecticism is also its limitation: Auchincloss expatiates unconvincingly on the merits of Jacobean drama, Tennessee Williams and Ivy Compton-Burnett and on a purported flaw in Proust's craftsmanship. Auchincloss here seems less an urbane man of letters than an enthusiastic and catholic reader whose sometimes querulous criticisms do not always result in nuanced or persuasive evaluations of the books at hand. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre:
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X