Karl Bissinger photographed the luminaries of New York's cafe society and haute bohemia in the years following World War II, and then suddenly dropped out of the scene in the late 1950s. Now, more than four decades later, his compelling portraits of writers, poets, dancers, actors, musicians, and movie stars--either published here for the first time or not seen in over 40 years--capture a lost, golden era of the cultural life of New York City. With subjects ranging from Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Marlon Brando, and Montgomery Clift to Gore Vidal, Walter Lippmann, James Baldwin, and Katharine Hepburn in settings that include lofts, studios, and apartments, Greenwich Village gardens, and the stoops and shabby outer edges of Manhattan, these portraits offer a collective portrait of an artistic and literary milieu the likes of which will never be seen again. Bissinger also evokes the European cultural scene in remarkable portraits of notable figures from Jean Renoir, Jean Cocteau, and Colette to Aldous Huxley, Alec Guinness, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Not only will The Luminous Years fascinate anyone interested in that bygone era; it will also mark a signal event in publishing: the rediscovery of a lost master of photography.