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Monday
Jun042012

1955

The View from Pompey’s Head

By Hamilton Basso

Original Publisher: Doubleday & Co.

Current Publisher: Transaction Large Print

Fiction Finalists That Year:

Fiction Winner That Year: William Faulkner for A Fable

Fiction Judges That Year: Malcolm Cowley, Paul Engle, Elizabeth Janeway, Wallace Stegner, Robert Penn Warren

The Year in Literature: 

  • A Fable also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • Halldór Laxness won the Nobel Prize for literature.

More Information: 

  • The novel spent 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
  • Basso’s prequel to The View from Pompey’s Head, The Light Infantry Ball, was a Fiction Finalist in 1960.
Monday
Jun042012

1955

The Dollmaker

By Harriette Arnow

Original Publisher: The Macmillan Company

Current Publisher: Scribner

Fiction Finalists That Year:

Fiction Winner That Year: William Faulkner for A Fable

Fiction Judges That Year: Malcolm Cowley, Paul Engle, Elizabeth Janeway, Wallace Stegner, Robert Penn Warren

The Year in Literature: 

  • A Fable also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • Halldór Laxness won the Nobel Prize for literature.

More Information: In the afterword of the 1971 Crown Publishers edition, Joyce Carol Oates writes, “There are certainly greater novels than The Dollmaker, but I can think of none that have moved me more, personally, terrifyingly, involving me in the solid fact of life’s criminal exploitation of those who live it—not hard, not sentimental, not at all intellectually ambitious, The Dollmaker is one of those excellent American works that have yet to be properly assessed.”

Monday
Jun042012

1954

No Finalists Announced

Monday
Jun042012

1953

The Build-Up

By William Carlos Williams

Original Publisher: Random House

Current Publisher: New Directions

Fiction Finalists That Year:

Fiction Winner That Year: Ralph Ellison for Invisible Man

Fiction Judges That Year: Saul Bellow, Martha Foley, Irving Howe, Howard Mumford Jones, Alfred Kazin

The Year in Literature:

  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize for literature.

More Information:

  • Williams was the first person to win the National Book Award for Poetry in 1950. He won for two books: Paterson: Book III and Selected Poems. He was a Finalist several more times, for both Poetry and Nonfiction.
  • The Build-Up was the final book in Williams’ Stecher trilogy, which also included White Mule and In the Money.
Monday
Jun042012

1953

East of Eden

By John Steinbeck

Original Publisher: Viking Press

Current Publisher: Penguin

Fiction Finalists That Year:

Fiction Winner That Year: Ralph Ellison for Invisible Man

Fiction Judges That Year: Saul Bellow, Martha Foley, Irving Howe, Howard Mumford Jones, Alfred Kazin

The Year in Literature:

  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize for literature.

More Information: Steinbeck was a Fiction Finalist a second time in 1955 for Sweet Thursday.