William Maxwell

Biografie şi Bibliografie

William Keepers Maxwell, Jr. (August 16, 1908 – July 31, 2000) was an American novelist and editor.


Maxwell was born in Lincoln, Illinois, and attended the University of Illinois and Harvard University. He was best known as the fiction editor of The New Yorker magazine for forty years (1936-1975), where he worked with writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, Mavis Gallant, Frank O'Connor, Larry Woiwode, John O'Hara, Eudora Welty, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. As an editor Welty wrote of him: "For fiction writers, he was the headquarters."

He also wrote six highly acclaimed novels, a number of short stories and essays, children's stories, and a memoir, Ancestors (1972). His award-winning fiction, which is increasingly seen as some of the most important of the 20th Century, has recurring themes of childhood, family, loss and lives changed quietly and irreparably. Much of his work is autobiographical, particularly concerning the loss of his mother when he was 10 years old growing up in the rural Midwest of America and the house where he lived at the time, which he referred to as the "Wunderkammer" or "Chamber of Wonders". He wrote of his loss "It happened too suddenly, with no warning, and we none of us could believe it or bear it... the beautiful, imaginative, protected world of my childhood swept away."

Since his death in 2000 several works of biography have appeared, including A William Maxwell Portrait: Memories and Appreciations (W. W. Norton & Co., 2004), My Mentor: A Young Man's Friendship with William Maxwell by Alec Wilkinson (Houghton-Mifflin, 2002), and William Maxwell: A Literary Life by Barbara Burkhardt (University of Illinois Press, 2005).

In 2008 the Library of America published the first of two collections of William Maxwell, Early Novels and Stories, Christopher Carduff editor. His collected edition of William Maxwell's fiction, published to mark the writer's centenary, was completed by a second volume, Later Novels and Stories in the fall of 2008.

William Maxwell was married to the former Emily Gilman Noyes of Portland, Oregon. They had two daughters, Katherine and Emily.



    * Bright Center of Heaven (1934)
    * They Came Like Swallows (1937)
          o An autobiographical novella about the cruel impact of the 1918 flu epidemic, as seen through the eyes of an 8-year-old midwestern child and his family
    * The Folded Leaf (1945)
    * Time Will Darken It (1948)
    * The Chateau (1961)
    * So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980) (Winner of the William Dean Howells Medal)
          o An aging man remembers a boyhood friendship he had in 1920s Illinois which falters following a murder.

Short-story collections

    * Stories (1956)
    * The Old Man and the Railroad Crossing and Other Tales (1966)
    * Over by the River, and Other Stories (1977)
    * Five Tales (1988)
    * Billie Dyer and Other Stories (1992)
    * All The Days and Nights: The Collected Stories of William Maxwell (1995)
    * Early Novels and Stories (2008)
    * the woman who had no eyes for small details


    * Ancestors: A Family History (memoir) (1972)
    * The Outermost Dream (essay collection) (1989)

Children's Books

    * The Heavenly Tenants (1946) (recipient of a Newbery Honor)
    * Mrs. Donald's Dog Bun and His Home Away from Home (1995)

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