The Young Apollo and Other Stories

The Young Apollo and Other Stories

An evocative and elegant collection of stories from an American master.

Bringing together twelve previously unpublished pieces, The Young Apollo and Other Stories sparkles with Auchincloss's singular style, and, like East Side Story, reveals in precise, aphoristic prose "not only the textures of this world but also its elemental and evolving truths" (New York Times). From Edwardian garden parties to the Manhattan demimonde of the 1970s, Auchincloss travels with economical grace and agility in this collection, which illuminates the moral ambiguities, both personal and professional, of New York’s moneyed class.

A loving chronicle of a waning world, this collection is nonetheless an acute and gimlet-eyed portrait that refuses to shy away from its characters' less than savory ambitions and desires. In the title story, an older man eulogizes his young friend, the golden Lionel Manning--muse to the artists he gathered round himself and preserved forever in memory as the beautiful thirty-one-year-old man he was at death--only to reveal that despite Lionel’s burgeoning reputation as a poet, he could only inspire genius but not produce it. The Young Apollo and Other Stories crystallizes a world now gone but forever fixed in our romantic imaginations, uncovering its flaws and all too human foibles, as well as its considerable charms.

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547760612

  • ISBN-10: 0547760612

  • Pages: 256

  • Price: $11.99

  • Publication Date: 04/11/2006

  • Carton Quantity: 1

Louis Auchincloss
Author

Louis Auchincloss

Louis Auchincloss was honored in the year 2000 as a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. During his long career he wrote more than sixty books, including the story collection Manhattan Monologues and the novel The Rector of Justin. The former president of the Academy of Arts and Letters, he resided in New York City until his death in January 2010.
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  • reviews

    An excellent collection of 12 previously unpublished stories display the author's usual precision and ease, wit and moral scrupulousness.

    Kirkus Reviews, Starred

    This elegant new collection continues [Auchincloss's] unflinching examination of New York's wealthy socialite class.

    Library Journal

    Auchincloss has a talent for pulling the curtain back on perfection, for peering behind the sublime facade.

    The Seattle Times

    There is enormous pleasure and insight to be derived from [Auchincloss'] work Philadelphia Inquirer

    [Auchincloss's] old-fashioned sensibility remains charming, even refreshing in an era of literati hipsters.

    Los Angeles Times

    These stories entertain and sometimes truly reward the reader.

    New York Sun

  • excerpts

    The Young Apollo

    I have decided to put my thoughts about Lionel Manning together in this memorandum. I have to make up my mind, and soon, whether or not I shall accede to Senator Manning’s request that I compose a short life of his son, Lionel, or “Lion” as we elders used to call him. It is now five years since Lion died of heart failure, aged thirty-one, in 1913, just before the outbreak of the long and terrible war that has cast the stain of doubt over the ideals we thought our boys were fighting for, as seemingly exemplified in the golden image of my young friend. I use the word “young” more in contrast to my own seventy summers than to emphasize a life so cut short, for it was characteristic of Lion in the matter of friendship to take no account of age, which endeared him to many of my contemporaries. Perhaps he offered us the illusion of some kind of life after death.

    There is a cynical side of my old crusty bachelor self that whispers that it may have been just as well that Lion died when he did. After all, there is something fine and noble in an early demise. We can always now see him in a halo of glory, with his gleaming blond hair, his laughing gray- blue eyes, his gracefully molded features, his splendid muscular torso; we can hear his excited tones voicing his high principles; we can feel that he has taken his proper place in the gallant and in- spiring company of the slain English friends whom he met as a Rhodes scholar. Don’t we glimpse through the darkness of today the broad green lawn of an Edwardian garden party and wonderful young men in blazers and white flannels talking of the great things they would do in a future they would never have?

    The wrong people have survived this war. My own “sacred circle,” as some envious folk have described it, came through without a scratch. How shall I describe the circle? It consists of a small group of individuals, more or less prominent in the arts — writing, sculpture, painting — all of whom live in Washington without being native to the city, and none of whom, with the notable exception of George Manning, has the least connection with government. All are old, of course, and none hail from the kind of background that might be expected to produce great art. Ella Robinson, the novelist, for example, was born of Boston Brahmins; Elihu Tweed, the sculptor, was the son of a New York governor; and my own father, siring a historian, was a United States Supreme Court justice.

    We used to fancy that we represented a kind of American renaissance. In the two decades preceding the war, our country was emerging from its long dependence on European culture. The notorious low value that Henry James accorded the subject material which America offered to the writer of fiction had been totally revised; we now claimed equal rights, so to speak, on Parnassus. And the young man whom we all held as our joint heir apparent, who was going to be the great poet of the future, to whom we were all more or less John the Baptists, was Lion Manning.

    Why does George Manning not write the life of his own son? I have never much liked George. He is as deeply conservative as a Republican senator from Rhode Island can get; he is shrewd, raspingly sarcastic, and basically mean. But he exercises a hefty political influence, and he purports to be a stout supporter of the arts. He had no patience with Lion’s ambition to be a poet, however. He wanted him to become a lawyer, a statesman, a great man. He adored the boy but never understood him and lectured him constantly on his duty to follow in the paternal footsteps. Lion simply grinned and didn’t listen. He could always wind the old man around his little finger. Yet I know he deeply loved his father. And I think the reason the senator wouldn’t write the book himself may have been that he was a bit scared of the boy and would have fancied him looking over his shoulder as he wrote.

    It is perfectly understandable, at any rate, why George should have picked me for the job. As an old bachelor who at least professed high ethical standards and a longtime observer of the passing scene in the nation’s capital, I had appealed to Lion from his boyhood as a counterpoise to his father’s political cynicism. I was the kind of avuncular mentor he had never had. He read my long history of the Supreme Court with a passionate and intelligent interest, and as always, even with his elders, took independent and forceful positions in his criticism. It was he who elicited all my memories of my Washington past and hounded me until I put them in my memoirs, Life of a Voyeur, on which such reputation as I have gained will probably rest, even at the expense of my longer and more exhaustive studies. That, anywaay, is what I was to Lion. What he was to me was simply the son I never had.

    We all loved him, of course. I think Ella Robinson mayyyyy even have been in love with him, though she was almost old enough to have been his young mother. But she seems to share some of my doubts as to the advisability of producing this life of him. I do not, however, quite believe in the excuse she has offered me for not participating in it. Here is what she has written me:

    There has been no one in my life, dear Ralph, to whom I owe more than to Lion. It is odd that a woman of my age should have been significantly indebted to a man so much her junior. But I was. You may have suspected part of the story. Here, anyway, is it all.

    As I was nearing my fiftieth year, I moved to Paris to try a winter there. I had separated from Ted Robinson after a long but tepid marriage, and I had reached a time of life when I assumed that the tide of romantic love, which had never reached far enough up my beach to touch me, would leave me permanently dry. Yet I was quite resigned. I had my work and a slowly expanding audience of readers; I had enough money and many friends. I enjoyed travel, and I loved Paris. I had no complaints.

    And then I met Cyril Ames. He was actually brought to my house, to the small literary salon I had sought to establish, by Lion, who, having just finished his Rhodes scholarship, had come over to Paris to work on his epic poem on the murder of Agamemnon, which he hoped would establish his reputation as a serious poet. Cyril, of course, was a good fifteen years older than Lion, but as you know, Lion had friends of all ages. People were drawn to him. Cyril was a handsome dark-eyed and dark-haired bachelor who worked as the foreign correspondent for a small New York journal; he was a smooth talker with a reputation for philandering. But he spoke as if he was a man utterly disillusioned with romance. He professed an ardent admiration of my work, and he came to all my little gatherings with a flattering persistence. Soon he was sending me flowers and inviting me to dinner at delightful restaurants. I guess there’s no fool like an old fool; he certainly made one of me.

    I now know that he had a fetish of conquering distinguished women whose success in life, compared to his own lackluster achievements, aroused his spite and envy. And he cultivated the art of keeping them subjugated with desperate hope, even after he had discontinued carnal relations; it gave him some sort of jag to have them still pursuing him when he was defiantly courting others. I actually believed him when he told me that I was the first serious love of his life! We had a fast and furious affair. You’ve probably been spared, Ralph, the exhausting experience of being loved by a middle-aged woman who’s discovered for the first time the joy of sex! It was only a few weeks before my new lover abandoned me.

    In the agony of my despair I even appealed to Lion! Can you conceive of such

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547760612

  • ISBN-10: 0547760612

  • Pages: 256

  • Price: $11.99

  • Publication Date: 04/11/2006

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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