At age 22 Brooks bemoaned the lack native American arts and culture in The Wine of The Puritans. In 1915 Brooks called for Americans to create a vibrant new culture, a genial “middle ground” between the highbrow of “academic pedantry and the lowbrow of “pavement slang”. Novelist Waldo Frank wrote to Brooks in the 1920’s “Closing your book-which I raced through fascinated- I said aloud: “We are off!” The race has begun. Our generation has already built a house of the fair and soaring timber of our land.”
Brooks in 1925 sent Fitzgerald a copy of The Pilgrimage of Henry James which Fitzgerald praised as “exquisitely done + entirely fascinating”. Sinclair Lewis would, as a result of reading Van Wyck Brooks decide to move back to his Connecticut roots and to Westport.
When Van Wyck Brooks scouted the town Westport as a prospective place to live, on their drive their host showed he was shown one house where a woman hanged herself, and another where a Swedish officer murdered his wife. The driver also pointed out ‘“old Kate,” who had killed her father with a bread knife and had just been released from an asylum . In 1925 Fitzgerald in sending him a copy of The Great Gatsby – “sending you this after running across a copy of America’s Coming of Age and read it with enormous pleasure” . Brooks translated Gatsby into French for Fitzgerald and Van Wyck Brooks translated into English Hommes de la Route by Andre Chamson, the only French writer with whom Fitzgerald formed a friendship . Brooks in 1925 sent Fitzgerald a copy of The Pilgrimage of Henry James which Fitzgerald praised as “exquisitely done + entirely fascinating” .
Brooks would often bicycle the few miles between Westport and New Canaan to visit Fitzgeralds editor Maxwell Perkins. FSF hooked up (again?) with VWB in NYC in 1923. Fitzgerald in a letter to Maxwell Perkins was still referring to Brooks in December 10 of 1921. In 1937 Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize for History.
White, Vechten, 126.
AZ, p. 27.
MB, sons of, 81.
Nelson, p. 183.