Talented emerging fiction writers find inspiration in one of the most famous paintings in New York’s Frick Collection: Jean-August-Dominique Ingres’s Comtesse d’Haussonville from 1845.
Following the successful literary musings on art at the Frick, The Sleeve Should Be Illegal and Cocktails with a Curator, this anthology of newly commissioned texts from graduate students in New York University’s Creative Writing Program pays homage to one of the institution’s most celebrated paintings.
Gathered here are fourteen fictional stories inspired by one of Ingres’s most captivating portrait paintings. A detail of the work—the fine silk dress, a red ribbon, a shawl casually draped over the arm of a chair, the contents of a tabletop, the contemplative pose—is the starting point for each story. The pieces range from gothic tales that take place at the time of the painting in the mid-nineteenth century and stories that use the countess as a key character to a present-day ghost story and inventive sagas that take representations of the countess to faraway lands: Poland, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, India, and a heaven that is populated solely by Black people.
The faculty adviser for the project is best-selling novelist Darin Strauss, who writes the book’s introduction. Illustrated with Ingres’s famous portrait as well as with many lush details, this one-of-a-kind volume is an ode, both traditional and postmodern, to a glorious work of art.
About The Author
Darin Strauss is the author of the novels Chang and Eng, The Real McCoy, More Than It Hurts You, the memoir Half a Life, and, most recently, The Queen of Tuesday, a finalist for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize in Fiction.