"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, November 10, 2014

Birthday Today - John P. Marquand

Born today in 1893, Marquand is one of my favorite novelists.   He wrote big bestsellers in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and all of them are good... the type of grown up novel about grown ups that doesn't get written anymore.    My favorites include:  Wickford Point (1939), So Little Time (1943), Point of No Return (1949), and Women and Thomas Harrow (1958).  

He looked like a successful businessman, which, on one level, he was.   He was a professional writer who made his living writing.   He wasn't an academic; he wasn't on a government grant.   In fact, in Wickford Point he gives a hilarious send-up of an academic trying to write a "Great American Novel."   No one teaches him anymore and perhaps few people read him.   But if you want to find out what America was like before the 1960s, i.e., when we were still a coherent civilization, read Marquand or James Gould Cozzens or John O'Hara.  

No comments:

Post a Comment