William Maxwell, who died in July 2000, was revered as one of the twentieth century's great American writers and a longtime fiction editor at "The New Yorker." Now writers who knew Maxwell and were inspired by him-both the man and his work-offer intimate essays, most specifically written for this volume, that "bring him back to life, right there in front of us."Alec Wilkinson writes of Maxwell as mentor; Edward Hirsch remembers him in old age; Charles Baxter illuminates the magnificent novel "So Long, See You Tomorrow"; Ben Cheever recalls Maxwell and his own father; Donna Tartt vividly describes Maxwell's kindness to herself as a first novelist; and Michael Collier admires him as a supreme literary correspondent. Other appreciations include insightful pieces by Alice Munro, Anthony Hecht, a poem by John Updike, and a brief tribute from Paula Fox. Ending this splendid collection is Maxwell himself, in the unpublished speech "The Writer as Illusionist."