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His Life and Contribution

Although his first book was about English romance, Newton Booth Tarkington, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, came to be known for his comical (and almost cynical) style of the Lost Generation that characterized the 1920's. Born to a middle class family in Indianapolis in 1869, he is forever connected to Indiana and the midwest, the part of the United States he wrote about in most of his works.

Part of Tarkington's writing is the battle between the high and middle classes, both of which he experienced during his childhood. When the Panic of 1973 hit, Tarkington's family lost many of their comforts and securities. They resorted to renting houses in less fashionable neighborhoods. He also spent time in the middle class homes when his Uncle Newton Booth (his namesake) helped them with a house in the better part of Indianapolis.

Although he was best know for his midwest stories, Booth Tarkington also served as a state representative and was a world traveler. He also lived in Kennebunkport, Maine (although he never lost his fondess for Indiana). He died in 1946 following a two month illness.

Alice Adams

Alice Adams describes the humourously rediculous life of a fading aristocratic family trying to get back on top of the social ladder. Alice, with a hand from her money-obsesed mother, locks herself in a world where she believes that she is a memeber of the aristocracy. While her family has lost its status, Alice and her parents will stop at nothing to impress others (especially rich young men) with wealth they don't really have. The scheming of each of the family members demonstrates the absurdity of the games of the social ladder and makes for great laughs.
1922 Pulizter Prize for Fiction

The Magnificent Ambersons

Like most of Tarkington's work, the The Magnificent Ambersons centers around the life of a wealthy Midwestern family, and how it falls a part towards the end of the 19th century. The book contains a set of complex characters, courting, and lifestyles. The Ameberson family lives the life of the wealthy and snobbish until the family fortune is lost in a bad investment and the family falls apart.
1924 Pulizter Prize for Fiction
Cited Works

"Booth Tarkington" Indiana Historicla Society
      28 May 1998. "Deep Focus: The Magnificent Ambersons" Deep Focus
      28 May 1998.