The Tarkington Appreciation Society?
Writing at the Front Porch Republic, John Willson this week semi-seriously proposed the formation of The Booth Tarkington Appreciation Society. His extensive remarks were in part a reaction to Thomas Mallon’s “snotty” piece in the Atlantic Monthly five years ago, which dissed Tarkington mightily. I commented on Mallon’s article on this site as well.
Here’s Willson’s opening salvo.
Newton Booth Tarkington (b. 1869, the same year as my Grandfather Willson) was a significant American writer, in some ways the American Anthony Trollope. Trollope was wildly popular during his lifetime and made a lot of money writing (he was unapologetic about writing for money), but his reputation went south amongst the “critics” for almost seven decades because of a supposed lack of ideas and artistic integrity (another way of saying that he wrote for money). Booth Tarkington was wildly popular during his lifetime and made a lot of money writing, but his reputation went south after his death in 1946. Just as Trollope made a comeback in the late 1940s, Tarkington is due for his comeback about now.
Be sure to click through the link above to read the full article. It’s excellent… and includes mention of yours truly.
Martin Cothran, who has come to Tarkington’s defense before, joins me in welcoming Willson’s proposal!