Social Tremors, 1947–54

  • Vincent Piket
Part of the New Directions in American Studies book series


Louis Auchincloss started work on his first published novel, The Indifferent Children, in the fall of 1943, while he was on leave in New York after the USS Moonstone, the converted yacht on which he was serving, had — it seemed, in a fittingly anti-climactic way — collided and sunk in a New Jersey harbour. He temporarily abandoned the novel during the busy months of further military training, as well as during his first months in the English Channel. By September 1944, however, the periods of inactivity in ports gradually lengthened; as a result, Auchincloss was able to report to his mother that he had ‘started on the novel again in spare moments. Think it a good idea, but hard to get much done.’1


Main Character Short Story Male Friend Personal Morality Jersey Harbour 
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  1. 6.
    Auchincloss, The Indifferent Children (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1947) p. 113.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    Auchincloss, Introduction to The Indifferent Children (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1964) p. V. Cf. also A Writer’s Capital p. 108.Google Scholar
  3. 16.
    Auchincloss, The Indifferent Children (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1947) p. 16. Subsequent page references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    Cf. Auchincloss, A Writer’s Capital, pp. 113–14; and Vincent Piket, ‘An Interview with Louis Auchincloss’, Dutch Quarterly Review, XVIII, no. 1 (1988) 20–1.Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    William McFee’s review appeared as ‘Another Newcomer Writes an Impressive Novel’, in the New York Sun, 27 May 1947.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Cf. Lewis Nichols, ‘Talk with Mr. Auchincloss’, New York Times Book Review, 27 Sep 1953, p. 28.Google Scholar
  7. 24.
    Evelyn Waugh to Auchincloss, 13 Nov (1950], in The Letters of Evelyn Waugh, ed. Mark Amory (New Haven, Conn., and New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1980) p. 340.Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    Auchincloss, ‘Author’s Note’, The Injustice Collectors (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1950) p. vii.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    Auchincloss, Sybil (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1971) pp. 28, 20, 103.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    Auchincloss, A Law for the Lion (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1953) pp. 8, 27, 11, 170. Subsequent page references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  11. 33.
    The same fantasy and fear of exposure and exhibition recurs in several other novels and short stories by Auchincloss. Cf. The House of Five Talents (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1960) p. 15;Google Scholar
  12. The Country Cousin (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1978) pp.35, 51;Google Scholar
  13. The House of the Prophet (Boston, Mass. : Houghton Mifflin, 1980) p. 166;Google Scholar
  14. ‘Narcissa’, in Narcissa and Other Fables (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1983) pp. 1–21.Google Scholar
  15. 34.
    For a few reprsentative reviews, see Walter Allen, ‘New Novels’, New Statesman and Nation, XLVI (5 Sep 1953) 264;Google Scholar
  16. John Barkham, ‘Shattered Pattern’, New York Times Book Review, 27 Sep 1953, pp. 5, 38Google Scholar
  17. Charles J. Rolo, ‘Eloise and Esther’, Atlantic Monthly, CXCII (Oct 1953) 87–8Google Scholar

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© Vincent Piket 1991

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  • Vincent Piket

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