Tuesday, 12 July 2011

John Goodwin The Idols and The Prey

John Blair Linn Goodwin (1912–1994) was an American author and poet, best known for his story "The Cocoon" (1946), collected in Houghton Mifflin's The Best American Short Stories in 1947.

Goodwin was a native of Manhattan and a world traveler. His other works include the 1940 children's book The Pleasant Pirate, 1952 novel The Idols and the Prey about Haiti, and 1963 novella "A View From Fuji." He died at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in January 1994.

John Blair Linn Goodwin (1912-1994) was a novelist, poet, and painter, as well as a discerning collector of modern art. The son of Walter L. Goodwin and Elizabeth Sage Goodwin, he was born in Manhattan, and grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. Later he maintained homes in Manhattan, West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Netherlands Antilles and socialized with a wide and interesting circle of friends that included the novelists Paul Bowles and Christopher Isherwood, the artist and poet Jean Cocteau, and the painters Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, and Roberto Matta. Goodwin was born into a distinguished family of artists, collectors, and art patrons. The Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut, preserves a nineteenth-century reception room from the home of one of his forebears, and other members of the family have been generous donors both to the Athenaeum collection and to its library. His uncle, Philip L. Goodwin, was one of the architects of the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as a member of its board of directors, and his older brother, Henry Sage Goodwin, was a highly regarded architect and painter. The Surrealist artist, patron, and collector Kay Sage was also a member of the family. This cultivated background informed and enriched his entire life and was a formative influence on his collecting.

A well-informed world traveler, Goodwin often wrote knowledgeably about places he had visited. His novel, The Idols and the Prey (New York, 1953) was set in Haiti, and his novella, A View from Fuji (New York, 1963) took place in Japan. He also published poetry, a children's book, The Pleasant Pirate (New York, 1940), and one of his many short stories, "The Cocoon," was included in a 1947 anthology of best American short stories.

From 1974-1977 the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe exhibited a selection of works from the Goodwin collection, thirteen of which are included in this sale. Upon Goodwin's death in 1994, his collection was inherited by Anthony P. Russo.
Doyle NY

The book has the inscription: "for Malcolm Lowry - with affection, respect and considerable qualms. John - July 53."

Malc wrote to Arabel Porter, executive editor of New American Library in 1953: " Thank you for giving my address to John Goodwin: I'd very much like the Idols and The Prey, from what I read of it in the second N.W.W. A strange, strange fellow." Letters Vol 2 Pg 650.

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