Hortense Calisher was born in New York City in 1911. Her first book, a collection of short stories called In the Absence of Angels, was published in 1951. Her most recent novel, The Bobby-Soxer, was published by Doubleday in February. Among her many other books are The New Yorkers, Standard Dreaming, On Keeping Women, and Mysteries of Motion. Her autobiography, entitled Herself, was published in 1972. Hortense Calisher is the president of American PEN and a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Her essay on the novels of Barbara Pym appeared in the inaugural issue of The New Criterion in September, 1982.

I don’t really know what “high” culture is, although one may understand the term well enough to dislike it. Did the phrase originate in visual-arts lingo—the kind of goodwill gallery talk heard...


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