The 2016 exhibit “The Golden Age of Indiana Literature: From Ben-Hur to Alice Adams” opens today in the Carriage House Interpretive Center at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum. As part of statewide Indiana Bicentennial celebration, the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum will be discussing the great contribution Hoosier writers have made to literary culture over the years.
The Beginning of the Golden Age
Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, published in 1880, is generally credited with initiating the Golden Age of Indiana Literature. Ben-Hur sold more copies than any other printed work in the 19th century with the exception of the Bible.
All in all, the Golden Age lasted into the 1920s and spawned hundreds of titles, as well as two Pulitzer Prize winning novels by Booth Tarkington. Writers like Meredith Nicholson, Gene Stratton-Porter, Maurice Thompson, James Whitcomb Riley, and Lew and Susan Wallace became the defining voice of Midwestern culture to the rest of the world.
A Continued Legacy
Although the Golden Age began to wane in the years following World War I, Hoosier writers continued to have an impact in the publishing industry throughout the 20th century with writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Jessamyn West, John Green, and James Alexander Thom.
Museum staff has developed exciting programming to accompany the exhibit, and more details will be forthcoming throughout the year. As part of this programming, the Study is hosting a Hoosier Authors Book Club. The book club will be meeting Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m. The book for this meeting is The House of a Thousand Candles by Meredith Nicholson, a lively mystery story set in small-town Indiana.
“The Golden Age of Indiana Literature: From Ben-Hur to Alice Adams” will run through mid-December, 2016. It may be viewed Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please contact Amanda McGuire at 765-362-5769 or [email protected] for more information about the exhibit.