News Archive

Tarkington Sesquicentennial

Next Monday will be the 150th anniversary of Newton Booth Tarkington’s birth, and the impending occasion has prompted some long-overdue attention to author once called “The Dean of American Letters.”
A couple of months ago I ran across news of the publication of a new collection–Tarkington: Novels & Stories–a Library of America volume that includes The […]

Mrs. Tarkington Gets the Historical Treatment

The March 2019 edition of the Indiania Historical Society’s “Women Behaving Badly” program features none other than Susannah Tarkington, Booth Tarkington’s second wife and long companion. The program takes participants through a series of vignettes, each introducing guests to a renegade lady in the shadows of Indiana history.

2003 Intro to Penrod and Sam Online

David J. Nordloh at Indiana University wrote a fine introduction for that institution’s reprint of Penrod and Sam. An ebook scan of the text has shown up online for the reading enjoyment of those who already have a copy of the novel, but are interested in worthy critique.

Indiana University Stages Adaptation of Gentleman

The Theater department at IU in Bloomington invited me to attend a performance of The Gentleman from Indiana, which opens July 11… but alas! I live in Seattle. I don’t think I’m up for that long a drive! I wish I could go, though. They’re staging James Still’s 2007 adaptation, and Still’s a real Hoosier.

Autobiographical “As I Seem to Me” Released in Book Form

History may often be written by the winners, but make no mistake—it’s always lived by the losers, too, and for a good deal of Tarkington’s younger years his immediate family lived more like losers than winners. But that’s the benefit of being a writer, isn’t it? You get to win in the end by rewriting your life in a fashion that suits you better. Especially when others buy your books by the tens of thousands. And for Tarkington, that meant telling the truth as he lived it, if with sly humor and happy endings. Hence, “As I Seem to Me” rather than “As I Actually Am.”

Alice Adams Gets New POD DVD Release

A few weeks ago, I reported that Vintage Books had released a new line of reprints of “the source material that inspired a number of iconic Hollywood films.” The first grouping of four novels in the series included Tarkington’s Alice Adams. Following almost oddly on the heels of that development is the late-May inclusion of the 1935 Kate Hepburn-starring adaptation of Alice Adams in the Warner Archive made-to-order DVD collection.

Penrod: Wishful Thinking?

Penrod himself certainly sensed that his world was changing. And he didn’t like it much at all. Whether or not Tarkington’s readers grasped the geo-political forces shaping the world in 1914, they certainly saw themselves in Penrod’s shoes at a particular time of life. And if Rich himself can never recall summer idylls or idles as innocent as Penrod’s, well, more’s the pity.

Alice Adams Gets New Print Edition

The Hollywood Reporter, among other outlets, reported last week that Vintage Books’ “Movie Classics” imprint is releasing a new line of reprints of “the source material that inspired a number of iconic Hollywood films.” The first grouping of four novels in the series also includes Show Boat, Cimarron, and Back Street.

Ambersons Lecture Weds. at Indiana State

The lecture is March 19 at 1:30 PM. The Library’s main “Big Read” event was Friday night, during which the “newly restored Indiana Theatre” was decorated to “recreate the opulence of the Amberson’s home.” For a $5.00 admission fee, guests were “invited to the Amberson mansion for the celebration of the year. … Come and meet this remarkable family, see an original play and dance the night away.” Wish I could have been there!

Writer’s Rights… 19th Century Style

It’s hard to believe, but at the start of the 20th Century, it was commonly held that publishing your stories in a periodical put them into the public domain… and you lost your rights to them entirely. On the other hand, it’s not hard to believe at all. At the opening of the 21st Century, similar controversies swirled around digital rights, and the dawn of the “magazine age” 100 years prior was really not so different.

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