Booth Tarkington’s “The Magnificent Ambersons”

Nothing portended that Booth Tarkington‘s novel The Magnificent Ambersons would not endure. In fact, it was quite the contrary. All conditions were ideal for a generous posterity: the novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1919, a year after its publication. Moreover, the film was adapted for the silver screen two different times during Booth Tarkington’s lifetime. Once in 1925 (Pampered Youth) and the second more famously in 1942 by … Orson Welles.

Advertisement for the film The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

That’s right—that Orson Welles. The big guy with the baritone whose consummate ugliness in Touch of Evil (1958) shocked even you! I.e., the fabled director of Citizen Kane (1942), that movie you’ve heard so many people speak of, indicating some importance, but for what you knew not.

So then why did the book fall into abeyance … like the word abeyance?

Interested in what I’ve written on other novels?