americans in france
MAXWELL, William (author). The Chateau. New York; Alfred A. Knopf. 1961.
8vo. Publisher's crimson cloth with the author's initials in blind to upper board, lettered in gilt to spine, top edges stained orange, others untrimmed; pp. [xii], 3-401 + [i] + ; a fine copy, both externally and internally, without inscription, protected by a very good, even near fine, unclipped dustwrapper ($4.95) with some toning to lower panel and a little light dusting.
First edition, as stated, presented in the remarkably scarce first issue dustwrapper (trimmed a little short in production) with the photo credit to Alfred A. Knopf. The later issue dustwrapper features a different photograph of the author Maxwell, with a photo credit to Consuelo Kanaga.
William Keepers Maxwell, Jr. was an American novelist, essayist, short story writer and children's author who was fiction editor at The New Yorker between 1936 and 1975. During his professional career he became a legendary confidant of some of the most distinguished writers of the day. Since his death his award-winning fiction has grown in stature and is now widely regarded as among the most important of the twentieth century Much of his work was autobiographical and dealt with themes of childhood, loss, and change, influenced by the death of his mother to the global flu pandemic when he was only 10 years old.
Maxwell's 1961 novel The Chateau is set in 1948 in war-battered France, in the Loire valley, where a young open-hearted American couple arrive to holiday at the Chateau Beaumesnil. As a kind, humorous, and sensitive study of the acute embarrassments and misunderstandings between the Americans and the French, Maxwell's study of manners has been compared to the work of Austen and received glowing reviews on publication, with The Times commenting, "It's hard not to see it as a work of genius".