When Caroline Gordon’s finest novel, Aleck Maury, Sportsman (1934), was republished nine years ago, it was as part of a “Lost American Fiction Series” brought out by Southern Illinois University Press. That about captures the status of the novelist Flannery O’Connor identified in her letters as “the lady who has taught me so much about writing.” Caroline Gordon (1895-1981) was the wife of Allen Tate, the mentor of Flannery O’Connor, and the protégée of Ford Madox Ford. Her editor at Scribner’s was Max Perkins. One of her biggest fans was William Faulkner (and she was an early and perspicacious booster of Faulkner’s). Surrounded by the famous and soon-to-be-famous, Gordon was as serious about the craft of fiction as any writer of her generation, producing nine novels, three short-story collections, two works of criticism, and, with assistance from Tate,...


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