This evening will celebrate the brilliance of Elizabeth Hardwick (1916-2007), novelist and prose writer, upon the appearance of her Collected Essays. Hardwick’s novels include the experimental Sleepless Nights (which Joan Didion called “extraordinary and haunting”) and her collections of essays include Seduction and Betrayal: Women and Literature. Susan Sontag wrote that “the boldness and virtuosity of Hardwick’s associativeness intoxicate,” and said that her sentences “are burned in my brain.” The essays “are incorruptible,” writes Catharine R. Stimpson. “Their intelligence is prodigious, but never boastful. This major American writer dares, inspires, and cajoles us into reading and writing with renewed conviction and resistance to the meretricious.” Hardwick taught at Barnard and Columbia for twenty years, and three of this evening’s contributors were her students.