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The Element of Lavishness: Letters of William Maxwell and Sylvia Townsend Warner, 1938-1978
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The Element of Lavishness: Letters of William Maxwell and Sylvia Townsend Warner, 1938-1978

4.48  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
An instant classic in the literature of friendship: the witty, affectionate 40-year correspondence between a great story-writer and her New Yorker editor. For forty years, until her death in 1978, Sylvia Townsend Warner (poet, novelist, and short-story writer) and her New Yorker editor William Maxwell (himself a fiction writer of great distinction) exchanged more than 1,30 ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Counterpoint LLC (first published December 2000)
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Sep 29, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Steinman, Michael (ed.). THE ELEMENT OF LAVISHNESS: Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner & William Maxwell, 1938-1978. (2001). ****. I started this book with the intention of dipping into it over a period of several weeks, but found the letters to be so well written, interesting, and enchanting that I read it straight through. I should have known better with two great writers like this. The correspondence started in 1938 when Maxwell wrote to Ms. Warner asking her to submit some of her poems to ...more
Stephanie Patterson
Sylvia Townsend Warner counted herself very lucky to have William Maxwell as her New Yorker editor and readers of this volume of their correspondence would agree Warner wrote 153 stories between 1936 and 1977 and found a devoted and discering fan in Maxwell. Many of the letters deal with both Warner's and Maxwell's writing. On occasion Maxwell has to gracefully reject one of Warner's stories (usually with the reassurance that the story is wonderful "but not for The New Yorker"). But what the rea ...more
May 06, 2007 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mail Artists etc.
I simply adored this book. Although I had not read either author's fiction, I found myself instantly in love with Maxwell and Warner. Their letters were deeply personal without being too obscure for somebody elese to jump into. I've actually purchased two copies of this book for some friends, which is something I rarely do. But seriously, this is such a wonderful correspondence-- everyone will find themselves or their inner self in these letters, I believe that 100%.

I slowed down reading it afte
Dec 12, 2015 Lljones rated it it was amazing
So Beautiful! Now I'll re-read beloved Maxwell; read for the first time, Warner; read Letters of Maxwell and Frank O'Connor; read Letters of Maxwell and Eudora Welty, read everything Maxwell every touched. What a magnificent man...
May 29, 2015 Eileen is currently reading it
While this is great, one should not underestimate the difficulty of reading an entire lifetime's worth of letters in a reasonable amount of time.
Laura Leaney
Apr 15, 2011 Laura Leaney rated it really liked it
I loved these letters and I love the people who wrote them. I'll miss them now that I've finally finished the last letter. It took me a while to finish the book, but to read two letters every other day or every three days was, perhaps, conducive to the experience of old-fashioned correspondence. One feels a bit of the voyeur in reading private letters, but Maxwell and Townsend Warner knew they'd be published. Such civility and grace is here. I feel the need to buy a good heavy pen and some onion ...more
Mar 06, 2007 Louis rated it liked it
I guess I was a little nuts--that is, depressed--when I read this book of letters, because I literally slept with this book next for me for the few weeks I read it. It was one of those books that I read a little of each night before bed, but wouldn't bring it out into the world with me.
Nov 14, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it
Letters between two of America's most under-appreciated great writers.
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Sylvia Townsend Warner was born at Harrow on the Hill, the only child of George Townsend Warner and his wife Eleanora (Nora) Hudleston. Her father was a house-master at Harrow School and was, for many years, associated with the prestigious Harrow History Prize which was renamed the Townsend Warner History Prize in his honor, after his death in 1916. As a child, Sylvia seemingly enjoyed an idyllic ...more
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