Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998

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American writer of many genres, including novels, short stories, poetry and librettos. Many of her friends and correspondents were at one time students or colleagues of Yvor Winters.

From the description of Janet Lewis papers, 1964-1989. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122639569

Biographical Note : Yvor Winters

Yvor Winters was born in Chicago on October 17, 1900, the son of a stockbroker. As a very young child he moved west with his family to California and Washington, returning later to Chicago where he spent three years in high school and four quarters at the University of Chicago.

In his last year of high school he became interested in poetry and by age sixteen he subscribed to Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, edited by Harriet Monroe, the Little Review, and Others, all promoting the new Imagist poetry. At the University of Chicago, from 1917 to 1918, he joined the recently formed Poetry Club through which he met Harriet Monroe, Maurice Lesemann, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, and Glenway Wescott, among others.

A diagnosis of tuberculosis in 1918 cut short his college study, and he went to the drier climate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a three-year convalescence. During his enforced rest there, Winters had ample time for reading and correspondence. He sent poetry to Harriet Monroe for publication and continued to correspond with his Poetry Club associates. He also corresponded with Marianne Moore, then working at the New York Public Library, who sent him literary works that she admired.

By 1921 Winters had recovered sufficiently to leave the sanatorium and paid a brief visit to Chicago where he met Janet Lewis, his future wife, at the lodgings of Elizabeth Madox Roberts. The following year Janet Lewis, herself ill with tuberculosis, entered the same sanatorium in Santa Fe that Winters had just left. Winters returned to New Mexico in 1921 to teach school in the coal camps of Madrid and Cerillos, south of Santa Fe. He also published his first books at this time: The Immobile Wind, 1921; and The Magpie's Shadow, 1922. In 1923 he entered the University of Colorado and received his B.A. and M.A. in Romance Languages from the university in 1925. From 1925 to 1927 he taught French and Spanish at the University of Idaho.

Winters married Janet Lewis on June 22, 1926, in Santa Fe, but she was too weak to accompany him back to Idaho; therefore, they were apart for that first year of marriage. In 1927 they moved together to California where Winters entered Stanford as a graduate student and published The Bare Hills. In 1928 he became a full-time instructor in the English Department and started The Gyroscope Group, a dynamic group of young Stanford students who sought Winters' criticism, ideas and friendship. Winters, Janet Lewis, and Howard Baker edited a mimeographed journal, Gyroscope, in 1928-1929, which ran to four numbers. At the same time, he was Western editor of the Hound and Horn, in which, during its last couple of years, some of Winters' best uncollected critical writing may be found. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1934 and stayed on as a permanent faculty member in the English Department, being appointed to the Albert Guerard Professorship in 1962. During his forty years at Stanford, Winters continued to write, teach, edit, translate, and lecture.

One of America's preeminent critics of poetry, Winters began his career as a poet, doing his important work in literary criticism later in his life. His early poetry was written under the influence of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Marianne Moore, among others. An adherent of the balance between reason and emotion in poetry, Winters is highly acclaimed for critical theory which is distinctly individual yet remarkably objective. It is his poetry which provides the strong foundation for his teaching and criticism and which was the most meaningful to him personally.

In 1965 the cancer that eventually led to his death was diagnosed, and the first of two operations was performed. Despite his illness, Winters completed Forms of Discovery in 1966. He died January 25, 1968.

Before he retired in 1966, Winters had taught and influenced many young writers who have since become known and respected in their own right. A partial list includes Steve Berry, Gus Blaisdell, J.V. Cunningham, Catherine Davis, Kenneth Fields, Lee Gerlach, Barbara Gibbs, Albert Guerard, Jr., Charles Gullans, Thom Gunn, Donald Hall, Philip Levine, Edward Loomis, (James McMichael), N. Scott Momaday, Raymond Oliver, Grosvenor E. Powell, Judith Roscoe, Ann Stanford, Don Stanford, Alan Stephens, Helen Pinkerton Trimpi, and Wesley Trimpi.

Yvor Winters' publications include: The Proof, 1930; The Journey, 1931; Before Disaster, 1934; Primitivism and Decadence and Twelve Poets of the Pacific (editor), 1937; Maule's Curse, 1938; Poems (handprinted by his own Gyroscope Press), 1940; The Anatomy of Nonsense and The Giant Weapon, 1943; Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1946; In Defense of Reason and The Brink of Darkness, 1947; Poets of the Pacific, 2nd series (editor), 1949; Collected Poems, 1952; The Function of Criticism, 1957; The Early Poems, 1966; and The Quest for Reality, published in 1969, the year after his death. His publisher, Alan Swallow, became an important and close friend. Winters contributed to almost all the important American literary journals, among the Poetry, Dial, The New Republic, The Hudson Review, the New Mexico Quarterly Review, and Hound and Horn.

Publications about Winters include:

Davis, Dick. Wisdom and Wilderness. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1983. (Incl. Bibliog.)

Isaacs, Elizabeth. An Introduction to the Poetry of Yvor Winters.

Chicago: Swallow Press, 1981. (Incl. Bibliog.)

McKean, Keith F. The Moral Measure of Literature. Denver:

A. Swallow, 1961.

Powell, Grosvenor. Language as Being in the Poetry of Yvor Winters. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980.

Sexton, Richard J. The Complex of Yvor Winters' Criticism.

New York, Fordham University. Thesis. 1973.

Powell, Grosvenor, 1932-. Yvor Winters, an annotated bibliography, 1919-1982. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1983.

Biographical Note: Janet Lewis

Janet Lewis was born in Chicago on August 17, 1899, the daughter of Elizabeth Taylor Lewis and Edwin H. Lewis, an English college teacher, novelist, and poet. From her father Janet received her basic education in English prose as well as the background and chief inspiration for her novel The Invasion, a narrative of events concerning the Johnstone family of St. Mary's. The year Janet was born her father built a cabin on an island in the St. Mary's River, at a spot called Sailor's Encampment, between Mackinac and Sault Ste. Marie. It was there the Lewis family spent their summers and there, also, that the grandchildren of the Johnstone family of The Invasion (John Johnstone and his Ojibway wife Neengay) became dear and lasting friends.

Janet Lewis attended Oak Park High School in the prosperous suburb of Chicago, where she wrote for the student publications Trapeze and Tabula, later attended the Lewis Institute, and then entered the University of Chicago as a French major, receiving her Ph.B. in 1920. White at the University, she belonged to the Poetry Club, sponsored chiefly by Robert Morss Lovett, and contributed to Harriet Monroe's Poetry Magazine. Other members of the Club at that time included Maurice Lesemann, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Yvor Winters, Glenway Wescott (president), Pearl Andelson, Edward Sherry, John Toigo, and Kathleen Foster, among others. Immediately upon graduation she left for Paris where she worked at the U.S. Passport Bureau. On her return to Chicago she was for a short time on the staff of Redbook and she also taught at the Lewis Institute.

Late in 1921 she met Yvor Winters, her future husband, in Chicago, at the lodgings of Elizabeth Madox Roberts. Earlier, not having yet met Lewis, Winters, as secretary of the Poetry Club, sent her notification of admission to the Club on the strength of her poem Freighters. In 1922 her first collection of poetry, Indians in the Woods, was published in Monroe Wheeler's Manikin I. It was also in that year she discovered she had tuberculosis.

In the early fall of 1922 she went to Sunmount Sanatorium in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to tutor a boy, from a wealthy New York family, who had a tubercular knee. She received board and keep as well as the concerned supervision of a doctor there, although she was at that time an arrested case. After one academic year of tutoring her student, she returned to Everens Point on Neebish Island, in the St. Mary's waterway, for the summer, became ill in the autumn, and returned to Sunmount Sanatorium just before Christmas 1923 where she remained until the spring of 1927. While at the sanatorium, she tutored, without compensation, a couple of young boys who were also patients there.

In 1926 she married Yvor Winters in Santa Fe and, upon her release from Sunmount in 1927, they moved to Stanford where she continued to write, combining the role of author with that of wife and mother of two children, Joanna and Daniel. Since the death of her husband in 1968, she has taught writing at Stanford and literature at the University of California in Berkeley. She and her husband had a mutually reinforcing effect on each other's work, sharing many critical standards. Together they gardened, raised goats, bred and showed prize Airedales. These daily life pursuits, together with her wide circle of close friends, provided the rich experience that is reflected in her writing. Janet Lewis still lives in the Los Altos home she and her husband, Yvor Winters, shared for many years.

Among her published works are a children's story, The Friendly Adventure of Ollie Ostrich, 1923; poetry: The Wheel in Midsummer, 1927; The Earth-Bound, 1946; Poems, 1922-1944, 1950; The Ancient Ones, 1979; and Poems Old and New, 1918-1978, 1981; fiction: Against a Darkening Sky, 1943; Good-bye, Son, and Other Stories, 1946; historical fiction, cases of circumstantial evidence: The Wife of Martin Guerre, 1941; The Trial of Sören Qvist, 1947; and The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron, 1959; historical narrative: The Invasion, 1932, and After Father Allouez, 1970; and librettos: The Wife of Martin Guerre, 1958; The Last of the Mohicans, 1976; and The Birthday of the Infanta, 1979. She has also contributed to journals such as Poetry, The Lyric West, The New Republic, This Quarter, and Hound and Horn.

For additional biographical material, see:

Crow, Charles L. Janet Lewis. Western Writers Series, No. 41 Boise, Idaho: Boise State University, 1980. (Bibliography.)

Peck, Ellen McKee. Exploring the Feminine: A Study of Janet Lewis, Ellen Glasgow, Anais Nin and Virginia Woolf. Stanford, Department of English. Ph.D. Thesis. 1974. (Bibliography.)

From the guide to the Yvor Winters and Janet Lewis papers, 1906-1982, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biographical Note

American writer of many genres, including novels, short stories, poetry and librettos. Many of her friends and correspondents were at one time students or colleagues of Yvor Winters.

From the guide to the Janet Lewis Papers, 1964-1989, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn American authors collection, 1832-1956. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Campbell, Kathleen. Kathleen Foster Campbell papers, 1924-1992. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn John Conley Papers, 1934-1993 University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
creatorOf Janet Lewis Papers, 1964-1989 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Stanford, Donald E. (Donald Elwin), 1913-1998. Donald E. Stanford papers, 1933-1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. Letter : Los Altos, Calif. : ALS, 1948 Aug. 5. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. Letters to Thomas Parkinson, 1963-1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Thomas family. Thomas family papers, 1895-1968. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Stanford Program for Recordings in Sound audio recordings, 1953-1975 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Aralia Press. [Christmas cards printed at the Aralia Press]. Indiana University
referencedIn Davie, Donald. Donald Davie papers, 1926-1995 (bulk 1970-1990). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Hildegarde Flanner with Janet Lewis : video, 1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Stanford Program for Recordings in Sound. Stanford Program for Recordings in Sound assorted recordings, 1953-1975. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Murray, Bain. The legend : an opera-oratorio / [music by] Bain Murray. Cleveland State University Library, Michael Schwartz Library
referencedIn Conley, John, 1912 Jan. 2-. Papers, 1934-1993. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Modern poetry collection of miscellaneous manuscripts, 1920-1964. University of Chicago Library
creatorOf Janet Lewis reading at Stanford [videorecording], 1990 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Donald Davie papers, 1926-1995, 1970-1990 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Winters, Yvor, 1900-1968. Yvor Winters and Janet Lewis papers, 1906-1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Harris, Josephine H. Josephine Harris papers, 1954-1986. Arizona State University Libraries
referencedIn Janet Lewis talks to Hildegarde Flanner about her work : video, 1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. The legend : opera-oratorio, 1986. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Lesemann, Maurice, b. 1899. Maurice Lesemann papers, 1918-1986. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Davie, Donald. Donald Davie papers, 1926-1995 (bulk 1970-1990). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Edmunds, John, 1913-1986. The manger / [words by] Janet Lewis ; [music by] John Edmunds. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Bacon, Ernst, 1898-1990. Ernst Bacon papers, 1933-1986. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Colt Press. Colt Press records, 1920-1973. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Campbell, Kathleen. Kathleen Foster Campbell papers, 1924-1992. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Yvor Winters and Janet Lewis papers, 1906-1982 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Papers, 1930-1990 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Campbell, Gladys, 1892-1992. Gladys Campbell papers, 1914-1995. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Scowcroft, Richard. Richard Scowcroft papers, 1939-2000. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Tillie Olsen papers, 1930-1990. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. After Father Allouez: the rise of English control : a published contribution to L.R. Witherell's THE U.S. AND CANADA, AN OVERVIEW, Univ. of Wisconsin, Green Bay, 1970. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Pinsky, Robert. Robert Pinsky papers, circa 1960-2008. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Carroll, Donald, 1940-. Donald Carroll letters received from poets, 1959-1969. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Modern Poetry Collection of Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1920-1964 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
referencedIn Ernst Bacon Papers, 1933-1986 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Gioia, Dana. Dana Gioia typed letter, signed, to Matt Phillips, 2000 Dec. 9. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Flanner, Hildegarde, 1899-1987. Hildegarde Flanner papers, 1924-1984. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Brighton Press. Brighton Press archive, 1985-2001. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. Janet Lewis papers, 1964-1989. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Lewis, Edwin Herbert, 1866-1938. Edwin Herbert Lewis papers, 1896-1935. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Roberts, Elizabeth Madox, 1881-1941. Elizabeth Madox Roberts : papers, 1815-1941. The Filson Historical Society
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. Janet Lewis reading at Stanford : videorecording, 1990. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Stanford University. Libraries. Stanford University, Libraries, photographs, 1967-1999. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Carnochan, Brigitte Hoy. Papers relating to research on Janet Lewis, 1930-1994. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. Interview conducted by Margaret Furbush of Janet Lewis's recollections of William Saroyan, 1996. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Brighton Press Archive, 1985 - 2001 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf Lewis, Janet, 1899-1998. Letters to Kathleen Foster Campbell, 1982-1991. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Winters, Yvor, 1900-1968. Yvor Winters and Janet Lewis papers, 1920-1970. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Stanford, Donald E., 1913-. Donald Stanford oral history interview, 1992. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Gladys Campbell papers, 1914-1995 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Kathleen Foster Campbell papers, 1924-1992 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Stafford, Clayton. Clayton Stafford papers, 1911-1981. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Furbush, Margaret M. Reference materials re. Janet Lewis, 1979-1990. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aralia Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973 person
associatedWith Bacon, Ernst, 1898- person
associatedWith Bacon, Ernst, 1898-1990. person
associatedWith Bergsma, William, 1921-1994. person
associatedWith Blaisdell, Gus. person
associatedWith Brighton Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Campbell, Gladys, 1892-1992. person
associatedWith Campbell, Kathleen. person
associatedWith Campbell, Kathleen. person
associatedWith Campbell, Kathleen Foster. person
associatedWith Carnochan, Brigitte Hoy. person
associatedWith Carroll, Donald, 1940- person
associatedWith Colt Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Conley, John, 1912 Jan. 2- person
associatedWith Daryush, Elizabeth Bridges. person
associatedWith Davie, Donald. person
associatedWith Davies, Louise. person
associatedWith Edmunds, John. person
associatedWith Edmunds, John, 1913-1986. person
associatedWith Flanner, Hildegarde, 1899-1987. person
associatedWith Fraser, John. person
associatedWith Freis, Richard. person
associatedWith Furbush, Margaret. person
associatedWith Furbush, Margaret M. person
associatedWith Gioia, Dana. person
associatedWith Gullans, Charles B. person
associatedWith Gunn, Thom. person
associatedWith Hammer, Victor Karl, 1882-1967. person
associatedWith Harris, Josephine H. person
associatedWith Henderson, Alva, 1940- person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Jackson, Angela, 1951- person
associatedWith Lesemann, Maurice, b. 1899. person
associatedWith Lewis, Edwin Herbert, 1866-1938. person
associatedWith Momaday, N. Scott, 1934- person
associatedWith Murray, Bain. person
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Parkinson, Thomas Francis, 1920- person
associatedWith Pinsky, Robert. person
associatedWith Powell, Grosvenor, 1932- person
associatedWith Roberts, Elizabeth Madox, 1881-1941. person
associatedWith Saroyan, William, 1908-1981. person
associatedWith Scowcroft, Richard. person
associatedWith Sherry, Pearl Andelson. person
associatedWith Stafford, Clayton. person
associatedWith Stanford, Ann. person
associatedWith Stanford, Donald E. (Donald Elwin), 1913-1998. person
associatedWith Stanford Program for Recordings in Sound. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Creative Writing Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Libraries. corporateBody
associatedWith Thomas family. family
associatedWith Winters, Yvor, 1900-1968. person
associatedWith Witherell, L. R. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Stanford, Ann
Gullans, Charles B
Edmunds, John
Gunn, Thom
Daryush, Elizabeth Bridges
Davie, Donald
American literature--20th century
Sherry, Pearl Andelson
Fraser, John
Powell, Grosvenor, 1932-
Freis, Richard
American literature--Video tapes
Lesemann, Maurice
Stanford, Donald E., 1913
Momaday, N. Scott, 1934-
American literature--Video recordings
Blaisdell, Gus
Bergsma, William, 1921-
Music
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1899-08-17

Death 1998-12-01

Americans

English

Information

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