Images of Truth: Remembrances and Criticism

By Glenway Wescott | Go to book overview

Autobiographical Note

I was born in April, 1901, on a farm in Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, of restless and long-lived pioneer stock. Slightly but inspiringly educated in Wisconsin public schools and at the University of Chicago (no degree), I afterward traveled to New Mexico and England and Germany, and expatriated myself for a decade in France. Since 1936 I have resided in rural New Jersey, close enough to the metropolis to be counted a New Yorker.

By temperament a talker perhaps more than a writer, I began writing almost by chance, without great illusions of ability, but I was lucky from the start. Others have believed in me, always to some effect. My literature-loving sister-inlaw especially has enabled me to engage in the literary art as a vocation (rather than as a profession or a livelihood); to express myself and to develop my convictions quite fearlessly and blithely, and to take all the time for each volume that it seemed to require. Alas, not everything that I have written has been excellent, but (I gladly point out) no two of my books have been alike. If I live as long as my forefathers, perhaps I shall do as much as has been expected of me.

I believe that, as Francis Bacon stated, a man is a debtor to his calling. In recent years, ardently desiring to have illustrious, unsuccessful creative men and women pensioned off, and to have copyright legislation improved, the taxation of authors alleviated, and literary censorship entirely abolished, I have acted with some public spiritedness on the Council of the Authors Guild, and as a member of the National Commission for UNESCO ( 1948-50), and as President of the National Institute of Arts and Letters ( 1958-61).

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