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Indian Summer’

In response to:

Rereading 'Indian Summer' from the February 1, 1990 issue

To the Editors:

What would I have done without the “estate di San Martino” easing me into those damp, cold Roman winters?

As an admirer of John Updike’s critical writings, may I gently amend his statement about Indian summer’s being “a season that Europe doesn’t have” in his William Dean Howells piece in the Feb. 1, 1990 issue?

In the Encyclopédie Larousse you will find three mini-seasons handily categorized: l’été de la Saint-Michel, l’été de la Saint-Luc, and l’été de la Saint-Martin. St. Michael’s Summer is at the end of September, St. Luke’s in mid-October, and St. Martin’s in early November (St. Martin’s Day is November 11). In Spain it is called “the little summer” (“el veranillo de San Martín”), and in Germany—who knows why?—“alt weiber Sommer.”

Lynne Lawner
New York City

John Updike replies:

Yes, but they don’t call it Indian Summer.

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