Authors: Booth Tarkington

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

American novelist

Author Works

Long Fiction:

The Gentleman from Indiana, 1899

Monsieur Beaucaire, 1900

The Conquest of Canaan, 1905

His Own People, 1907

The Flirt, 1913

Penrod, 1914

The Turmoil, 1915

Penrod and Sam, 1916

Seventeen, 1916

The Magnificent Ambersons, 1918

Ramsey Milholland, 1919

Alice Adams, 1921

Gentle Julia, 1922

The Midlander, 1923

Growth, 1923 (includes The Turmoil, The Magnificent Ambersons, and The Midlander, the last here renamed National Avenue)

Penrod Jashber, 1929

Young Mrs. Greeley, 1929

Presenting Lily Mars, 1933

Little Orvie, 1934

The Heritage of Hatcher Ide, 1941

The Fighting Littles, 1941

Kate Fennigate, 1943

Image of Josephine, 1945

Short Fiction:

In the Arena, 1905

The Fascinating Stranger, and Other Stories, 1923


The Guardian, pb. 1907 (with Harry Leon Wilson)

Mister Antonio, pr. 1916

The Gibson Upright, pb. 1919 (with Wilson)

Clarence, pr. 1919


The World Does Move, 1928 (reminiscence)


Newton Booth Tarkington was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 29, 1869. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Purdue University and graduated from Princeton University. Primarily interested in art, he had hoped to make drawing his career, but financial necessity turned him to writing. He was a prolific writer, with successful ventures in the short story and the drama, but it is chiefly as a novelist that he is remembered. After an inauspicious beginning he gradually achieved popularity among readers and considerable acclaim from critics. His first popular success in fiction was Monsieur Beaucaire, a romantic novella that helped call attention to his first novel, The Gentleman from Indiana, which had appeared a year before, in 1899. Today Tarkington is perhaps most widely known for his stories of youth and teenagers: Penrod, Penrod and Sam, Penrod Jashber, and Seventeen. These are “American boy” stories, comic but human and appealing. The Penrod books, extremely popular and financially rewarding for Tarkington, were among the first contemporary novels to be adapted to film. His most critically acclaimed novel, Alice Adams, appeared in 1921 and won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1922. The Magnificent Ambersons had earlier won the same prize. In 1933 Tarkington was awarded the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Tarkington was twice married, to Laurel Louisa Fletcher in 1902 and to Susannah Robinson in 1912.{$I[AN]9810001463}{$I[A]Tarkington, Booth}{$I[geo]UNITED STATES;Tarkington, Booth}{$I[tim]1869;Tarkington, Booth}

Booth Tarkington

(Library of Congress)

Tarkington suffered difficulties with his eyesight for years and became totally blind in 1930, but his sight was partially restored by a series of operations. For the last thirty-five years of his life he divided his time between his family home in Indianapolis and the summer resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, that he called “the house that Penrod built.”

BibliographyFennimore, Keith J. Booth Tarkington. New York: Twayne, 1974. A volume in Twayne’s United States Authors series, this book is an excellent introduction to Tarkington’s life and works.LeGates, Charlotte. “The Family in Booth Tarkington’s Growth Trilogy.” Midamerica: The Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature 6 (1979): 88-99. The family occupies the center of Tarkington’s world, and LeGates’s discussion of it is exemplary.Mayberry, Susanah. My Amiable Uncle: Recollections About Booth Tarkington. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1983. An important contribution to the biography of Tarkington.Noverr, Douglass A. “Change, Growth, and the Human Dilemma in Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons.” Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Newsletter 11 (1981): 14-32. This article treats primarily one novel, but it has value for anyone seeking to understand the major themes of Tarkington’s work.Woodress, James. Booth Tarkington, Gentleman from Indiana. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1955. An important biography of Tarkington, this volume offers some analysis of the novels. Considered the standard biography by many critics.
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