The Headmaster's Dilemma
By Louis Auchincloss
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618883424, 192pp.)
Publication Date: September 2007
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In The Headmaster’s Dilemma, Louis Auchincloss revisits the prep school world of his most famous novel. That book, The Rector of Justin, published in 1964, took the form of a fictional biography, giving the reader the full life story of a much beloved and revered, if also feared, headmaster of an exclusive New England prep school. In The Headmaster’s Dilemma, we see up close what happens when a school’s ideals and founding principles collide with the exigencies of change.
The Headmaster’s Dilemma is the story of Michael Sayre, the handsome, avant-garde headmaster of Averhill, the great New England prep school as he is faced with a school administrator’s worst nightmare: a lawsuit brought by fervent parents in response to an incident involving their son and an upperclassman. To make matters worse, Michael is losing support from both the board of trustees -- led by the conniving Donald Spencer -- and senior faculty members. With the help of his supportive wife, Michael attempts to right these wrongs, while keeping Averhill’s best interests in mind.
Louis Auchincloss was honored in the year 2000 as a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. During his long career he wrote more than sixty books, including the story collection Manhattan Monologues and the novel The Rector of Justin. The former president of the Academy of Arts and Letters, he resided in New York City until his death in January 2010.