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McQuary, Joan
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Joan McQuary Collection of Sinclair Lewis Letters

  • 5
  • Collection
  • 1942-1945

The 19 letters were written by Sinclair Lewis to Joan McQuary between 1942 and 1945. In the fall of 1942, McQuary met Lewis as a student in his creative writing class at the University of Minnesota. When the class finished in December, Lewis moved to New York City. During his time in Minneapolis, April to December 1942, Lewis nearly completed his novel Gideon Planish.

In these letters, Lewis discussed a wide variety of topics, giving a sense of his life while living in New York City. Lewis elaborated on his search for and described his new apartment at 300 Central Park West. Despite moving to New York City, Lewis longed for his University of Minnesota pupils and Minnesota, urging Joan to visit him in New York City, possibly working for him as a secretary. Lewis often mentioned spending the coming summer in Minnesota.

While in New York City, Lewis finished his novel, Gideon Planish. It was published that spring. Lewis was aware of the reviews he received for his book, noting to McQuary that the “furious attack” by literary critic Mumford Jones “is to be answered by yet more furious letters full of literary sniffing and thumbings of the philological nose…” He also mentioned on several occasions that he was sick of writing. After completing short stories for Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan in the spring of 1943, Lewis said the only writing he wanted to do was checks and luggage labels.

Lewis, Harry Sinclair