Glenway Wescott

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Glenway Wescott
Born (1901-04-11)April 11, 1901
Kewaskum, Wisconsin, US
Died February 22, 1987(1987-02-22) (aged 85)
Rosemont, New Jersey, US
Occupation Writer

Glenway Wescott (April 11, 1901 – February 22, 1987) was an American poet, novelist and essayist. A figure of the American expatriate literary community in Paris during the 1920s Wescott was openly gay.[1] His relationship with longtime companion Monroe Wheeler lasted from 1919 until Wescott's death.


Wescott was born on a farm in Kewaskum, Wisconsin in 1901. His younger brother, Lloyd Wescott, was born in Wisconsin in 1907. He studied at the University of Chicago, where he was a member of a literary circle including Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Yvor Winters, and Janet Lewis. Independently wealthy, he began his writing career as a poet, but is best known for his short stories and novels, notably The Grandmothers (1927) and The Pilgrim Hawk (1940).

Wescott lived in Germany (1921–22), and in France (c. 1925–33), where he mixed with Gertrude Stein and other members of the American expatriate community. Wescott was the model for the character Robert Prentiss in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. After meeting Prentiss, Hemingway's narrator, Jake Barnes, confesses, "I just thought perhaps I was going to throw up."[1] In the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), Gertrude Stein wrote about him, "There was also Glenway Wescott but Glenway Wescott at no time interested Gertrude Stein. He has a certain syrup but it does not pour."

Wescott and Wheeler returned to the United States and maintained an apartment in Manhattan with photographer George Platt Lynes. When his brother Lloyd moved to a dairy farm in Union Township near Clinton in Hunterdon County, New Jersey in 1936, Wescott along with Wheeler and Lynes took over one of the farmhand houses and called it Stone-Blossom.[2]

His novel, The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story (1940), was praised by the critics. Apartment in Athens (1945), the story of a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who must share their living quarters with a German officer, was a popular success. From then on he ceased to write fiction, although he published essays and edited the works of others. In her essay on The Pilgrim Hawk Ingrid Norton writes, "After...Apartment in Athens, Wescott lived until 1987 without writing another novel: journals (published posthumously as Continual Lessons) and the occasional article, yes, but no more fiction. The Midwest-born author seems to slide into the golden handcuffs of expatriate decadence: supported by the heiress his brother married, surrounded by literate friends, given to social drinking and letter-writing."[3]

In 1959, when his brother Lloyd acquired a farm near the village of Rosemont in Delaware Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Wescott moved into a two-story stone house on the property, dubbed Haymeadows.[2] In 1987, Wescott died of a stroke at his home in Rosemont.[4]


  • The Bitterns (1920) poems
  • The Apple of the Eye (1924) novel
  • Natives of Rock (1925) poems
  • Like a Lover (1926) stories
  • The Grandmothers (1927) novel [Published as A Family Portrait in England]
  • Goodbye, Wisconsin (1928) stories
  • The Babe's Bed (1930) novel
  • Fear and Trembling (1932) essays
  • A Calendar of Saints for Unbelievers (1932) nonfiction
  • The Pilgrim Hawk (1940) novel
  • Apartment in Athens (1945) novel
  • Images of Truth (1962) essays
  • Continual Lessons: Journals, 1937-55 (posthumous, 1991)
  • A Visit to Priapus (posthumous, 2013) stories


  1. 1.0 1.1 Eric Haralson, Henry James and Queer Modernity, Cambridge University Press, 2003, page 175
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rosco, Jerry (2002). Glenway Wescott Personally. University of Wisconsin Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. On The Pilgrim Hawk, Open Letters Monthly by Ingrid Norton
  4. "Glenway Wescott, 85, Novelist and Essayist". The New York Times, February 24, 1987. Accessed April 4, 2008.

Further reading

  • Crump, James and Anatole Pohorilenko (1998). When we were three: The travel albums of George Platt Lynes, Monroe Wheeler, and Glenway Wescott, 1925-1935. Arena Editions. ISBN 0965728048.
  • Diamond, Daniel (2008) Delicious: A Memoir of Glenway Wescott. Toronto: Sykes Press. [See: External links]
  • Rosco, Jerry (2002) Glenway Wescott Personally: A Biography. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Phelps, Robert, with Jerry Rosco (1990) Continual Lessons: The Journals of Glenway Wescott 1937-1955. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.

External links

  • Works by Glenway Wescott at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Review of Jerry Rosco's biography and overview of Wescott's work
  • A Visit to Priapus, the only explicitly gay short story by Wescott (1938), has been reprinted with permission in the gay literary journal Ganymede, #3 issue (April 2009) and in 2013 was included in A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories, the additional contents of which are described as "drawn together from midcentury literary journals and magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as from Wescott's papers."
  • The Loves of the Falcon Edmund White essay on Wescott and a review of books by and about him, from The New York Review of Books
  • [1] source for DELICIOUS (Diamond)