thumbnail of Sinclair Lewis' Minnesota: A State of Mind; 10; Frederick Manfred Talks About Sinclair Lewis
Transcript
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
If. Rolling over bearing. The cities you. Know nothing. Missing. You live. In the SO. Your home is Minnesota. With. The St. Cloud State College broadcasting service under a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Present Sinclair Lewis is Minnesota. A state. Of Mind. You can't escape your roots. I know you can't escape you. You're. Good
person. This. Was written by Dr. James Lundquist native Minnesotan and author of several articles on a book on. The comments of one writer on another. Our usually our most valuable critical resource. One the writer doing the commenting has much in common with the subject. The commentary becomes doubly important and insightful. Such as the man. A Minnesota writer and personal friend of Sinclair Lewis. Is our narrator Leslie.
A lot of bright September day our writer James Lundquist and a sound crew paid Minnesota's most important living novelist to call it his home two miles north of Laverne Sachs undersized Minnesota town near the Iowa South Dakota and Minnesota borders. They had driven down of course to talk to Mr. Manfred about Sinclair Lewis but they spent much of their time examining and marveling at Mr. Mann Fred's house which is built against the wall of the non-banded SU Quartzsite or Pipe stone Quarry on a hill from which three states can be seen despite being in the midst of his most recent novel entitled milk of wolves. Mr. Manfred gave an entire afternoon down some memorable remarks on the subject of Sinclair Lewis. Frederick Manfred was born on January 6 1912 on a farm north of Iowa just a few miles from his present home. The oldest of six brothers he graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1934. For the next three years he wandered back and forth across America
from New York to Los Angeles stopping off now and then to work as a busboy a filling station attendant a driver a harvester a warehouse Rostov out factory hand and finally a newspaper reporter and 1942 he married very short. And they have three children named Freya Mara and Frederick 1043 concluding it was now or never. Manfred finally decided to devote full time and energy to his writing. Since then he has published 20 books including the novels Lord grizzly riders of judgment conquering horse scarlet mourning red king of spades the trilogy wanderer lost and Eden Prairie is received several grants and writing fellowships from such sponsors as the American Academy of Arts and Letters at the Huntington Hartford foundation. He is currently a writer in residence at the University of South Dakota to which he commutes weekly from lover
until 1951 he wrote under the pen name of Frankie Fika ma an Old Frisian family name of which Frederick Manfred is actually a translation. Mr. Manfred has lived in the area he calls Sioux land all his life at his books with their emphasis on frontier life in the upper Midlands reflect this. He likes gardening fixing of the fence and chopping wood and like Sinclair Lois he enjoys taking long rambling walks through the countryside. Mr Manfred met Sinclair Lewis for the first time in the late 1930s when Lewis was in the Twin Cities to Acton. Angela is 22. A play written by Lewis himself. You wrote I would never remember because he said it had all the door. Right right. Stringer for time and I and some others you know. Just so you know from history of this sort of vision I had
not that sort of I don't remember that may not last. Forever. And. Remember this. Hit. Maker who plays we saw many of you are very good. Right. With me in New York you're. Sort of. Slightly jumpy I think you're. Too much sometimes distracted you from the interior of the man. You know that he wanted to portray and you were slightly conscious of the fact that he really was an actor but he was an offer that was not to be the last. Frederick Manfred saw Sinclair Lewis Some time later is meant for recalls.
Which was unfinished. Trying to finish my novel. And. We didn't have enough stores in the house so my wife decided to stay in town with a little bit ground and so I kept the house from freezing or you know. Other weekend when Joran was in the day and I was trying to shop to stay on the phone rang Whoa. Wait. Here was just name was pronounced correctly which I. Suspect. For. Me. Like. I said Yes well this is incredibly was very much like to meet you. I know this is. My friend Brenda. SCHUMER somewhere. In the. Pool. On the. Set.
Just exactly were this time yesterday. Yes but I don't think I can do very much good tonight. So here we are. Coming. To meet you to meet you. So we should date. Which was a tiny call. I showed. Her. Just going up there to see if I had met her somewhere else just where the town had two books published while I was just out of the show. I turned my hand with his. Cast Tamerlane and back in my books and he's
very cordial. Manner. I mean assessed. Differently from the way we're managing the twin cities with the man I picked up our way in New York or somewhere but we send down a car while it turns to and he says here look at me so I turn to be really. Suddenly this guy look at me. We talk some more. I want you both to come up to my house for a week. During that stay in Duluth a 1946 Manford in the US but a great deal of time talking about Minnesota. Its writers and the history of the state talk about. What he meant to the state how great it was to have him come here pretty much constantly. But. He got his education in this state and that it was always a very hard for the state had a lot about.
I don't know if you read and extensively but he knew enough about him to be able to talk about leisure class we discussed time coming from some of what he meant to the state for that and going here you know he was going to me this is home no trying to come from my roots. Scott seemed to write as if he never came from some of the Eastern Sunday Eastern problems and so on. The Jazz Age and so on. Most of the things that he was wrote about truly. Real real fact today most of them came out of St. Paul most of his conceptions of his feelings for things came up missing. All we talked about just a warm beach of the university and what a tremendous cover he was writing. Modern fiction. He was the. First one. To write. In a. Critical manner.
About. The writer. Himself. Partner. Saw Steinbeck Hemingway who also wrote very well about. Henry James. Beach brought in a lot of writers here bright red there I'm sorry. We talked about the years the first ones to come in there. Fresh justice and more in sorrow one. Name and of course really. Mississippi and then our. Twin Cities recently were. Really set up for by people of your east of America. One of the things that Lewis talked most enthusiastically about in that Fred is Duluth Lewis's favorite spot in Minnesota. You say. Though at that
moment you could hear screaming about the writing on the ice some spots in the water. Oh it was a remarkable spectacle out there. He liked all that but he was also selling his house at that time. And so you see. To feel justified in leaving he had to say some things that. He didn't like. Why did coke and any. Where he didn't get on her to go away so I'm sure there are a few times when he said The trouble with her was she was always telling her we should return. Now you know I would tell her she's that herders. This is Lucy. This is really serving you how I should run my life with errors and he should actually person read one or two issues I think more. So his feelings about the Lutheran next time he thought
to. Use the word provincial. But with. Those If you talk to the notion that there were too many people to talk to. He felt home. And at ease. Why are people asking why I'm here now two and a half miles from. There. I ask you when you get out of that I hear there's nobody really you can talk to. From Lewis in that respect he was much more gregarious than I. I think he had some trouble being alone. He had some trouble. He was a warrior but he liked
my solitude. He wanted activity. He was kind of a man in the sense that he had to have people around and talk to you. Right. We have friends come in and have sharp exchanges talking with saw her really. I myself can't take that. I don't want anybody. Getting into me. With their. Rhythms. And their styles and so on because I'm sort of half lost and I work. All day and night too. And maybe this accounts for the fact that his books are with where they are as they are talking in general these dialogues he has right mind the other way around. More of a. Brew type as a writer who makes use of Minnesota settings in his own work. Benford admits to having thought often of the way Lewis reacted to his home state.
I don't think I remember really cut up the old lady this minute though I think she really loved her long and lonely and he felt that everywhere he went and really made him who he was. And I think he knew this. He was asking for something from her that she was able to give and there was this particular crime the tragedy that he wasn't very good looking and he was awkward moving out. You know he did gracefully law. You know he sort of church almost like his style. He walked very much like he writes he wrote in a. Journal. On happiness that he had with the state at the same time wishes it could have been warmer and closer to it than that he did live in thinking about Louis Mr. Manford admitted that it was his most famous topic this small town is one that Manfred
as a writer has considered dealing with the small town Manfred has in mind is liver you know I think like this. Main Street down here. Are going to. Thank you here. With. The contractor and his lawyers and I really got to know the inner workings of the establishment in this small town. Sure there's no money for anything my dear kind Irish. But the fact is this is it this is the way they do things over coffee starting cars they can follow a conversation about one thing or another that there are things there. And so then they do think of ways of having something which to an outsider looks like skinny but actually this is just the way things are done. Can I go back to that. I got to know how operate it I know virtually the whole structure of this town. I want already myself.
Well yes Mr. Manford how his version of Main Street would differ from that of Sinclair Lewis's kind of encounter to me Street. I didn't make street talk because it is a culture in itself. It's a microcosm of the big city. You know these are tough to. Pick up on. Here and this town is an area I don't mind solitude I don't like small town people and I find that by just listening in a restaurant having a cup of coffee and jostling around it in there and you're out there you're something more profound than my actual life. Sitting in some kind with. Party in Minneapolis or some university crowd for the night and using sophisticated language and trying to be very witty. All servers and nothing said nothing to
me except she said with a red nose or a sat in a corner with a used to be the big my university one minus for the local culture. Here. Are some banks are you saying some people get these ideas they think I give them some big brain in the Twin Cities. Here is one reason. Why I don't myself tree early board parties. Occur. First. I heard all you here was. All this is a rehash of all thing here really here in the wall. I like your song right. Why do you do that stuff there.
Through this way. I mean to be here. Truest to me you missed much I mean he gets up there he gives the talking it's the motion of the planters used evaporated. So he just loved him. I think he misses. She's generally this into me. I don't know what that should be there. It's still way too weird stuff. It's the only can. It's their natural mode and it's no different from the way you do it of the Chamber of Commerce One of the tragedies. All right well Mr. Manford might be at odds with Sinclair Lewis on the handling of Main Street. He certainly despairs over the treatment Lewis has received from the critics. No no. I think Mark sure missed him. Probably I can understand why his executors permitted came over him.
Cribbage who in some respects was just the worse I've become somewhat the same kind of town saw this country. And who was really busy and to you know stick to the point were his wife. And every time one of the by the project away from somebody else finished drying up. And why didn't you go to someone who love or like to read are respected and all we are now saying to her should be someone who is full of are Jewish but the reason you do something is you do is you want to do it and therefore someone should know there are degrees here we like to do actually do but do actually fairly with Hi this is easy and sure but generally the book the book should be full of the
law for the land. Yeah it should be done and then you turn go do what you do with the worst of the classes Joe. It is far superior as others have first heard. Me to my. Router first Shasta's Jiro and then returned it with the search term. Those far far better now. And some where lose the common server here you Dorothy Parker. He she. Should carry Martians. And then I think it was decided he made no apologies.
Martian publishes are very very right. I met. He said. To my there but that doesn't mean there are cameras there. There are respected powerful creatures you know there are other. Stories here you want him. One thing Manfred has no doubts about is the importance of Sinclair Lewis in American literature. For one thing he completely turned around literary arises in this country by running very frankly of our country shot as if it was worth writing about. He was a forgery making this immortal route occurred anywhere six and. Three. Bruce is an artist.
Balance and dollar with their hours as I mentioned are worth two men characters rather unforgettable. Oh no. I don't think. We forgot. I think we stand up as big people as big this Becky Sharp and her attacker David Carr you fall in two cities but Dick reaches down to me possibly is his most memorable character too. This is like. The. Warrant reads like well maybe I should read it. Hundreds of my friends showing up here because this is a new year. We I think come more
stitched this. 50 years all the way. My my so I sell suppositions prefaces we weave that cost into it by our contemporary critics to be read. Very fine. Probably you will be no better than either Main Street or their mortal ground Manford referred to is of course Minnesota and as we have learned in listening to Mr. Manfred himself a writer engaged in making Minnesota and the American West a mortal ground Lewis was deeply influenced by his Minnesota background and at the same time Durst a pervasive resentment of it. He was born and raised in Minnesota and always thought of it as is home but it never really was home to him
as often as he talked about resettling in the state and as many times as he tried it it was always disappointed. Perhaps as bad Fred said Lewis asked something from Minnesota that she wasn't able to give him something no state could give him. What was that something. It would seem to be what Lewis saw throughout his life. Riot he beauty and newness. Lewis found out has Did Matthew Arnold before him that the world which seems to live before us like the land of dreams. So various so beautiful so new that really neither joy or loss of or light nor certitude nor peace nor help for pain. Lewis realized the validity of Arnold's words in the poem Dover Beach but he did not like having to accept that validity. He always harbored the hope that Minnesota would somehow be different. And in this respect it's Lois. The hard boiled romantic nursed his vision of the land
of dreams. Lewis did more than one phrase is hope for a better life in Minnesota terms. And see. He was interested in exploring ways of improving the quality of life in Minnesota. And one way in which he thought this could be done. Would be through the state's political structure. Of which he was a devoted student. Our next topic will be the. Sinclair Lewis. Minnesota Pub. You have been listening to Sinclair Lewis his Minnesota. State of mind. This 12 program series has been produced by the St. Cloud State College broadcasting service under a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcast.
News exposing. The nothing to do. With what we say. You speak to you. And you cannot hide him. Singing. Too much. We. Then would leak. That. This series was written by Dr. James Lundquist of the college department of English. A music composed and performed by Lowell psyche. This program was produced and directed by James C. peeler. And a producer he's got a bright. Sun.
Series
Sinclair Lewis' Minnesota: A State of Mind
Episode Number
10
Episode
Frederick Manfred Talks About Sinclair Lewis
Producing Organization
St. Cloud State College
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-cn6z1d68
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-cn6z1d68).
Description
Other Description
In 1920, Minnesotan Sinclair Lewis published his novel "Main Street," an inciteful analysis of the American small town. This radio series, produced five decades after the novel was published, explores whether "Main Street" still holds true of small towns.
Date
1971-00-00
Asset type
Episode
Topics
Literature
Media type
Sound
Duration
00:29:14
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Producing Organization: St. Cloud State College
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 71-9-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “Sinclair Lewis' Minnesota: A State of Mind; 10; Frederick Manfred Talks About Sinclair Lewis,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 17, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-cn6z1d68.
MLA: “Sinclair Lewis' Minnesota: A State of Mind; 10; Frederick Manfred Talks About Sinclair Lewis.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 17, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-cn6z1d68>.
APA: Sinclair Lewis' Minnesota: A State of Mind; 10; Frederick Manfred Talks About Sinclair Lewis. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-cn6z1d68