The Beginning of Wisdom, the first novel from future Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Vincent Benét, was published in 1921 just after the author's graduation from Yale University. Reflecting the influence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the semiautobiographical work chronicles the coming of age of Philip Sellaby, who, as a young boy, "doesn't know what it is to be bored, has a quantity of humorous vanity, considerable physical recklessness and is beginning to develop from much scattered and unchecked reading an ashamed fierce curiosity in regard to matters of sex."
STEPHEN VINCENT BENÉT (1898-1943) was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A prolific poet, novelist, and writer of short stories, he is best known as the 1929 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the epic Civil War poem "John Brown's Body" and the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster." He was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1929 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1938. He won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Western Star, a volume of verse.
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