Skip to main content

Maxwell, William Keepers, Jr.

William Keepers Maxwell, Jr., 1908–2000, American novelist, short-story writer, and editor, b. Lincoln, Ill. Educated at the Univ. of Illinois and Harvard, he began his career as a teacher, but soon turned to writing. In his fiction the discreet and courtly Maxwell often handled such traditional themes as growing up and the impact of death with a deft, spare, and gentle realism, frequently setting his tales in the early-20th-cent. Midwest of his youth. His six novels include Bright Center of Heaven (1934), They Came like Swallows (1937), Time Will Darken It (1948), and So Long, See You Tomorrow (1980). His stories are collected in All the Days and Nights (1995) and his essays in The Outermost Dream (1989). Maxwell also wrote children's stories and a memoir, Ancestors (1972). As the superb and subtle fiction editor of the New Yorker for 40 years (1936–76), he helped to shape the work of many of the century's finest writers, including Vladimir Nabakov, John Updike, J. D. Salinger, John Cheever, Flannery O'Connor, Frank O'Hara, Eudora Welty, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

See biography by B. Burkhardt (2005); M. Steinman, ed., The Element of Lavishness: Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell, 1938–1978 (2001); C. Baxter et al., ed., A William Maxwell Portrait (2004).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Maxwell, William Keepers, Jr.." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 20 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Maxwell, William Keepers, Jr.." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (February 20, 2019).

"Maxwell, William Keepers, Jr.." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.