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The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
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The Magnificent Ambersons is a 1918 novel by Booth Tarkington which won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. It was the second novel in the Growth trilogy, which included The Turmoil (1915) and The Midlander (1923, retitled National Avenue in 1927). In 1942 Orson Welles directed a film version, also titled The Magnificent Ambersons.

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THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS

By Booth Tarkington

Chapter I

Major Amberson had "made a fortune" in 1873, when other people were losing fortunes, and the magnificence of the Ambersons began then. Magnificence, like the size of a fortune, is always comparative, as even Magnificent Lorenzo may now perceive, if he has happened to haunt New York in 1916; and the Ambersons were magnificent in their day and place. Their splendour lasted throughout all the years that saw their Midland town spread and darken into a city, but reached its topmost during the period when every prosperous family with children kept a Newfoundland dog.

In that town, in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet, and when there was a new purchase of sealskin, sick people were got to windows to see it go by. Trotters were out, in the winter afternoons, racing light sleighs on National Avenue and Tennessee Street; everybody recognized both the trotters and the drivers; and again knew them as well on summer evenings, when slim buggies whizzed by in renewals of the snow time rivalry... Continue reading book >>


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