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Tarkington, Booth

Tarkington, Booth (Newton Booth Tarkington), 1869–1946, American author, b. Indianapolis. His most characteristic and popular works were his genial novels of life in small Middle Western towns, including The Gentleman from Indiana (1899), The Conquest of Canaan (1905), and the trilogy Growth (1927), made up of Turmoil (1915), The Magnificent Ambersons (1918; Pulitzer Prize), and The Midlander (1923). Alice Adams (1921; Pulitzer Prize), considered by some his best novel, tells of the frustrated ambitions of a romantic lower-middle-class girl. He wrote several amusing and beloved novels of boyhood and adolescence, the most notable being Penrod (1914) and Seventeen (1916). Extremely popular in the 1910s and 20s, he wrote some 30 novels and many short stories and serials. His plays include a dramatization of his own historical romance Monsieur Beaucaire (1901) and Clarence (1921). His work fell into obscurity some years before his death.

See his reminiscences, The World Does Move (1928); biography by J. L. Woodress (1955, repr. 1969); study by K. J. Fennimore (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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