A Separate Peace

Title: A Separate Peace

Author: John Knowles

Genre: Bildungsroman

Publication Date: 1959

Overview

A Separate Peace Literary Guide

The novel A Separate Peace was the first book to be published by John Knowles, who had previously only published a few short stories as a journalist and a freelance writer. Knowles not only shared the identity of a Yale alumnus with Thornton Wilder, a well-known playwright, poet, novelist, and author of the books Our House and The Bridge of San Luis Rey, but also shared a friendship that prompted Wilder to encourage Knowles into writing a work of fiction that reflected Knowles’ life experiences. A Separate Peace is the result of Wilder’s support and encouragement and Knowles’s writing acumen and intricate awareness of his own personal experiences.

A similarity between Wilder and Knowles can be found in their writing. A Separate Peace, much like Wilder’s novels, places the axis of their stories on the concept of relationships. Reminiscent of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Knowles centers his first novel around the lives of and the relationship between Gene and Phineas or Finny (yes, much like Twain’s Finn), their lives intricately woven in the backdrop of the Devon School in New Hampshire. The novel also serves as a great addition to the many post-war fictional texts of the 20th century, yet it does not revolve around soldiers or their families, or metaphorical worlds and societies mired in dystopia, but instead explores that world from the eyes of two young school boys in New Hampshire in 1944.

A Separate Peace Biography

A Separate Peace Background

A Separate Peace Characters

A Separate Peace Summary and Analysis

A Separate Peace Themes

A Separate Peace Quotes

A Separate Peace Discussion Questions

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