14 October 2011

John Marquand in Newburyport, Massachusetts: Literary New England #5

In the tiny ancient Sawyer Hill Burying Ground - usually called 'the little cemetery' by locals - lies a notable author.

John Phillips Marquand, Sr, (1893-1960) grew up as his once very prosperous family was discovering how to live through the stock market crash that ruined them, and learned about poorer classes through schooling in Newburyport. The prominent statue of William Lloyd Garrison in the town too gave the message that not all are born wealthy.

Marquand gained a scholarship to Harvard, a stronghold of Ivy League privilege, where he just didn't have the name to give sufficient kudos to be accepted as one of the privileged. So he wrote satiral works about high society that were perhaps a little too subtle for all the Boston Brahmins to understand.

In 1938, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his Boston Brahmin satire The Late George Apley.

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