Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111207108-Rawlings.jpg Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born Marjorie Kinnan in Washington, D.C., on August 8, 1896. She attended the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in English, was a member of the school drama club, belonged to the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and was on the editorial staffs of the school literary magazine and yearbook. She graduated in 1918 and subsequently worked as a publicist for the Young Women’s Christian Association in New York City.{$S[A]Kinnan Rawlings, Marjorie;Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan}

In 1919, Kinnan married writer and boating enthusiast Charles Rawlings, and the couple moved to Rochester, New York. From 1919 to 1928, she wrote a newspaper column for United Features called “Songs of the Housewife.” During these years, Rawlings was also trying to publish fiction, although unsuccessfully. In 1928, she bought an orange grove at Cross Creek in Hawthorne, Florida, a north central Florida area to which she moved. In March, 1930, Scribner’s accepted her “Cracker Chidlings,” a group of anecdotes about local life.

In 1933, Rawlings gained national recognition with her first published novel, South Moon Under; that same year her marriage ended in divorce. South Moon Under was selected by a national book club and received superb reviews. The book examines the difficulties of a hunter’s life; its setting, the Florida scrub country surrounding Ocala, has been compared to Thomas Hardy’s Wessex. Rawlings’s setting, like Hardy’s, approaches the function of a fictional character.

Golden Apples, Rawlings’s second published novel, is set in north central Florida in the 1890’s. It contrasts the struggles of a Florida boy and his sister who take over an abandoned orange grove to the way of life of a young Englishman who has disgraced himself with his father. Though flawed, the novel reveals much about Rawlings’s personality; her solitary life was an unfulfilled...

(The entire section is 809 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was the older of two children born in Washington, D.C., to Ida May Traphagen Kinnan and Frank R. Kinnan, a patent attorney. Rawlings read widely and began writing early. By the time she was six years old, she was submitting stories to area newspapers. At the age of eleven, she won a two-dollar prize in a contest sponsored by The Washington Post; at age fifteen, she placed second in McCall’s Child Authorship Contest and saw her story published in that magazine.

Rawlings’s father died in 1913, and the next year, the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin. That fall, Rawlings entered the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in English and was active in college publications and in the drama society. As a junior, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, she moved to New York City and worked for a year for the Young Women’s Christian Association. In 1919, she married Charles A. Rawlings, Jr., a journalist whom she had met at the university, and they moved to his hometown, Rochester, New York. During the next nine years, Rawlings wrote features for newspapers, advertising copy, and a syndicated column. However, all the short stories she submitted to magazines were rejected.

After visiting central Florida in 1928, the couple decided to move to the area. Purchasing an orange-grove property at Cross Creek, they settled down in their new home, and Rawlings began using Florida settings for her...

(The entire section is 544 words.)