By John Batteiger
Copyright (c) 2011
Recommended biographies, resources and inspired commentary on Don Marquis:
O Rare Don Marquis by Edward Anthony (Doubleday and Co., 1962): The definitive biography, written by a Marquis contemporary whose efforts preserved hundreds of anecdotes and reminiscencs by Marquis friends and coworkers. It’s an affectionate and enjoyable read.
Selected Letters of Don Marquis by William McCollum Jr. (Northwoods Press, 1982 ): Hundreds of letters to dozens of friends and acquaintances — Christopher Morley, George Middleton, Fola LaFollette, Hugh Walpole, Franklin Pierce Adams and more. Some of Don’s most inspired writing was in the letters he dashed off to complete strangers.
Don Marquis by Lynn Lee (Twayne Publishers, a division of G.K. Hall and Co., 1981, part of the Twayne’s United States Authors Series): A critical analysis of Marquis’ books and his place in American literature.
The Dictionary of Literary Biography delivers concise but masterful profiles of Marquis in two separate but complementary entries — volumes 11 (humorists) and 25 (journalists), written by Dan Jaffe and Sam G. Riley, respectively. The exhaustive DLB reference series is available at most public and academic libraries.
Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, another reference work available at larger libraries, has excerpts from dozens of contemporary reviews of Marquis’ books in volume 7.
The American Humorist: Conscience of the Twentieth Century by Norris W. Yates (Citadel Press, 1965): A chapter on Marquis summarizes his life and work and confirms his places among major American humorists. Note his closing comment on Don: “He could be skeptic as well as dreamer, philosopher as well as vagabond, rebel as well as Rotarian — and above all, a somber humorist with a crooked smile.”
H.L. Mencken and the Debunkers by Edward A. Martin (University of Georgia Press, 1984): A chapter on Marquis examines his work as a “debunker” of the “inflated rhetoric and postures by which twntieth-century culture valued itself.”
“Archy and Uncle Remus: Don Marquis’s Debt to Joel Chandler Harris” by Hamlin L. Hill (article in the Georgia Review, Spring 1961).
“Day In and Day Out: Adams, Morley, Marquis, and Broun: Manhattan Wits” by Carl Van Doren, (article in the Century magazine, December 1923).
“A Successor to Mark Twain” by Christopher Morley (article in Michigan Alumnus: Quarterly Review, July 24, 1937).
“Confessions of a Reformed Columnist” by Don Marquis (two-part article in the Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, 1928).
“Archy From Abdera” by Christopher Morley (Bowling Green column in The Saturday Review of Literature, May 15, 1937, pp. 10-11).
“O Rare Don Marquis” by Christopher Morley (Bowling Green column in The Saturday Review of Literature, January 8, 1938, pp. 13-4).