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Unseen Upton Sinclair: Nine Unpublished Stories, Essays and Other Works

McFarland Publishing Co.: Jefferson NC, 2009

Upton Sinclair / Ruth Clifford Engs, editor

Sample from the Biography *

In 1902, Sinclair wrote The Journal of Arthur Sterling in six weeks working fourteen-hour days. This concentrated effort destroyed "both mind and body." He developed stomach problems which he had experienced the previous summer while working on his first novel.(16) This "dyspepsia" caused by stress and overwork was to remain with Sinclair the rest of his life. For its treatment, over the years he sought and experimented with many cures, most which appear in some of his satires, including one sketch for a stage play, "The Health Hunters," found in this volume. After the attack of pain, he consulted a local country doctor and was told to take "a spoonful of pink liquid containing pig pepsin." However, the remedy only worked for a while and he "found it necessary to become [his] own doctor and another kind of 'crank.'"(17).

Sample from, "The Health Hunters"

THE HEALTH HUNTERS: A Farce Comedy in Four Acts

This sketch is a proposal for a theatrical production. It shows various health cures, crusades, and regimens of the early twentieth-century that Sinclair liked to satirize. Many of the cures and Eastern spiritual traditions depicted in this proposed drama will be familiar to the present-day reader. The draft is 12 pages in length and only one copy was found. It was probably written around 1910-1911 when Sinclair was focused on diets and cures.

Act I**

The first act opens in a summer garden of a hotel in a small village in Connecticut. Mr. Jeremiah Sassingham, original discoverer of the "Sassingham Perpetual Suspender," has just arrived. Mr. Sassingham is an elderly gentleman, stout and rosy, a good-natured and lovable old body, a shrewd business man, but extremely gullible as regards all altruistic and cultural enterprises. He is in a state of perpetual agitation concerning his health, and is the prey of innumerable charlatans, who have plans for making him all over, and, incidentally, the rest of the world, too.

He has telegraphed for his favorite nephew, Dick Burroughs, a college boy, to come and help him in his latest emergency. Dick arrives, and learns that his uncle has come to this place, having heard wonders of the miracles that are being worked by the Hochheimer Hygeia Sanatorium (Naturopathic), presided over by the famous Dr. Gustavus Hochheimer. He tells his nephew about all the wonders of mud baths, air baths, cold water treatments, internal and external, the squirrel diet, bare-foot promenades, sleeping on the ground, and all the rest of the regimen. Dick is dubious, and reminds his uncle of numerous other fads which he has taken up, with no benefit - the milk diet, the sour milk diet, the meat diet, the spinach diet, homeopathy, osteopathy, and all the various baths, springs, hospitals, and sanatoriums which he has visited. He tells his uncle he never saw him looking better in his life, at which the other becomes highly indignant, and rattles off a terrifying catalogue of symptoms.

[ Read the book to follow the rest of the adventures of Dick and his uncle - - Yes, besides chasing diets and cures, they even find romance]

16. Sinclair, "Perfect Health," Contemporary Review, (Jan-June:1910), 431.
17. ibid; AUS, 87. Later in his memoirs he realized that, he, in fact, was a health fanatic. Evidence of this abounds throughout many of his works.

* Copyright (c) by Ruth C. Engs, 2008 (first two whole paragraphs)
** Copyright(c) by John Weidman and Jeffrey Weidman, 2009 (last two whole paragraphs)
Please note: this sample is taken from the last draft of the manuscript and is not for quotation.

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