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The Magnificent Ambersons ()

Pulitzer Prize (Fiction)

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells the story of the decline of the once magnificent Amberson family, the leading family of a Midwestern city  at the turn of the century.

George Amberson Minafer is the spoiled young heir to the Amberson fortune, but America is now entering the automobile age & the conservative Ambersons are ill equiped to deal with the rapid changes.

Tarkington intertwines two tragic love stories with the theme of the Ambersons decline and produces one of the really great forgotten novels that I've ever read.  Perhaps the book got lost because of the great screen version that Orson Welles produced, but whatever the reason, this is a book that deserves a wider audience and Modern Library is to be applauded for including it on the list.


Grade: (A)


Newton Tarkington Links:

    -ETEXT: Magnificent Ambersons
    -ETEXT: Penrod
    -Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) (American Literature on the Web)
    -Booth Tarkington (Wikipedia)
    -Tarkington, Booth (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001)
    -Booth Tarkington
    Hoosiers, (The Lost World of Booth Tarkington) (Thomas Mallon, May 2004, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY: The Rise and Fall of Booth Tarkington How a candidate for the Great American Novelist dwindled into America’s most distinguished hack. (Robert Gottlieb, 11/11/19, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: Booth Tarkington and Penrod (Robert S. Sargent, Jr., June 14, 2004, Enter Stage Right)
    -ESSAY: Forgotten Classics: Family, Wealth, and Modernity in The Magnificent Ambersons (Felix James Miller, May 27, 2023, American Conservative)

Book-related and General Links:
Newton Booth Tarkington: Hoosier Novelist
-ESSAY: Why Did They Hate The Magnificent Ambersons?: Orson Welles, cinema’s golden boy, had his first failure when he questioned America’s most sacred value: progress. (Peter Tonguette, Aug 5, 2022, American Conservative)