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Wescott, Glenway (1901-1987)  
 
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Wescott and Ford spent hours discussing poetry and fiction, and Ford was deeply affected by these conversations. In his 1933 memoir, It Was the Nightingale, Ford wrote "if Mr. Wescott had not paid me a visit of some duration, I do not think I should have taken seriously again to writing."

Wescott and Wheeler then traveled to Paris and fell in with the American expatriate community there, which famously included Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway.

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Hemingway, who may have resented the praise Wescott had received for his poetry, made remarks about him in private. He also probably based the implicitly homosexual character Robert Prentiss in The Sun Also Rises (1926) on Wescott; after meeting Prentiss, Hemingway's narrator, Jake Barnes, confesses, "I just thought perhaps I was going to throw up."

Stein was also critical of Wescott. In her book, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), Stein wrote, "There was also Glenway Wescott but Glenway Wescott at no time interested Gertrude Stein. He has a certain syrup but it does not pour."

In 1924, Wescott published his first novel, The Apple of the Eye, which he had begun three years earlier, immediately before his relocation to Europe. The novel explores the themes of repression and escape, as Dan Strane, a Wisconsin teenager, becomes aware of the puritanical restrictions of his rural upbringing and takes steps to free himself from them. It received a mixed critical reception, with one reviewer calling it "a peculiar hodge-podge." However, as William Rueckert notes in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, "though it has many of the shortcomings of youthful first works . . . it is an impressive, quite original first novel."

A year after the book's release, Wescott and Wheeler, wishing to escape the expense and distractions of Paris, moved to Villefranche-sur-Mer, in the south of France. They settled into a waterfront hotel popular with artists, including the poet and novelist Jean Cocteau. "We made friends very rapidly," Wescott later recalled of his association with the French writer.

That same year, Wescott published his second poetry collection, Natives of Rock: XX Poems, 1921-1922. According to Wescott scholar William Rueckert, "It is with Natives of Rock that Wescott [made] his contribution to Imagist poetry and [became] significant, in a minor way, in the history of poetry of the 1920s."

George Platt Lynes

In 1926, Wescott and Wheeler met eighteen-year-old George Platt Lynes (1907-1955), a minister's son from East Orange, New Jersey. Lynes had been sent to France by his parents to prepare him for college.

Wheeler immediately became infatuated with the young man. Instead of causing a rift between Wescott and Wheeler, however, Lynes was accommodated into their relationship for the next seventeen years, with the three men often sharing the same home.

In an undated letter, Wescott wrote to Lynes: "There isn't anybody or any sort of thing to take your place for me." And again, in 1929, several years into their complex, triangular relationship, Wescott wrote: "It is more than affection that makes me want for you, and more particularly for myself, all the quality, the sureness and inquietude, the farewell kiss and the future blessing, of our brotherhood. You are the nourishment and no one of us has failed."

The Grandmothers and Good-bye, Wisconsin

Wescott's second novel, The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait (1927), established him, as Bruce Bawer has written, "as one of the major American novelists of his generation."

The novel, a series of short narratives based on the pictures in a family photo album, recounts many actual events in Wescott's personal history. As an early biographer explained, "Wescott first conceived of [the novel] as a history of his own family rather than a work of fiction, but as the work grew, it compelled his imagination to transcend memory, and the work was transmuted from a personal memoir to a skillful and successful novel."

Upon its release, The Grandmothers was praised lavishly by critics, many of whom cited it as a major work of uniquely American fiction. For example, C. P. Fadiman of the Nation observed that "Wescott's very beautiful and moving chronicle is possibly the first artistically satisfying rendition of the soul of an American pioneer community and its descendants."

Several commentators also highlighted the care with which Wescott had constructed his novel. A critic for The Atlantic, for instance, believed that the novel "stands out as a book which has been conceived in deep and quiet perceptions and born in pride, care, and patience."

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