Philip Roth Goes to the Prom: Photos of Famous Authors as Teenagers

Even the greats of modern literature had awkward phases.
roth11 banner _edited-1.jpg

Over the weekend, Vol.1 Brooklyn published a delightful collection of never-before-seen photographs of Ernest Hemingway as a teenager, in all his handsomely smug glory.

Inspired, I dug up a handful of snapshots of other legendary authors in those awkward (or not so awkward, as the case may be) teenage years, before they penned the words that made them famous. They're below.

ernest.jpg

A 17-year-old Ernest Hemingway as a high school junior. [via Book Tryst]


gaiman.jpg

A teenage Neil Gaiman. [via The Village Voice]


oconnor.jpg

A 16-year-old Flannery O'Connor, profiled in her high school paper. [via Alfonso Martone]


roth11.jpg

Philip Roth at his senior prom at Weequahic High School, 1950. He's all the way in the back. [via New Jersey Jewish News]


morrison2.jpg

At left, an 18-year-old Toni Morrison (then Chloe Wofford) with a few of her Lorain High School classmates. [via Black River Historical Society]


twain.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. [via the National Endowment for the Humanities]


karr.jpg

Mary Karr in her hometown, age 15. [via Larry John McNally]


ginzy3.jpg

A 16-year-old Allen Ginsberg having a swell time. [via The Allen Ginsberg Project]


amis1.jpg

A 15-year-old Martin Amis with his famous dad. [via The Sunday Times]


plath1.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Sylvia Plath. [via Twitter / @itssylviaplath]


93859385830.jpg

Seventeen-year-old J.D. Salinger's yearbook photo from Valley Forge Military Academy, 1936. [via Amazon]


woolf3.jpg

At the far right, a 14-year-old Virginia Stephen, soon to be Woolf. [via British Paintings]


nin.jpg

Anaïs Nin at 19. [via tribe]


sendak.jpg

A teenage Maurice Sendak. [viaWe Love You So]


woody2.jpg

Margaret Atwood's Leaside Highschool senior yearbook photo. [via Fuck Yeah Toronto]


beckett.jpg

Samuel Beckett as a very serious 14-year-old. [via Art Tattler]


This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Presented by

Emily Temple is an editor at Flavorpill.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In