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Jon Schneider

Jon Schneider has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia.

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The Richmond Debate of 1930

January 15, 2011 | Articles

Head and shoulders portrait of Sherwood Anderson.

 

Sherwood Anderson, circa 1930.

On November 14, 1930—seventy-five years after the Battle of Appomattox and one full year into the Great Depression—Sherwood Anderson stood in front of a crowd 3,500 hundred people in the ex-Confederacy’s capitol to introduce a public debate over the economic future of the South. The Richmond Times-Dispatch was sponsoring the event—a debate, “Agrarianism versus Industrialism,” between VQR editor Stringfellow Barr and poet and critic John Crowe Ransom. Even before Anderson assumed the lectern, the evening had become an intellectual moment that had, in the words of Times-Dispatch editors, “assumed the proportions of national importance.”

At 8:30 P.M., the walls of the City Auditorium lined with latecomers and a “squad of Boy Scouts” who served as ushers, Anderson read a speech he had prepared for the event. Far from a simple introduction, Anderson’s address framed the debate, highlighted the speakers’ main points, and then offered the audience his take on the South’s “new industrial experiment.”

The Times-Dispatch, reporting on the debate the following day, focused mainly on Anderson’s critique of Sinclair Lewis, the recent winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, but the rest of Anderson’s introductory essay tackling the question of Industrialism vs. Agrarianism went largely uncovered. This speech is the work of a literary giant from the industrial North, living in the agrarian South, and introducing the “Agrarian” John Crowe Ransom who “isn’t a farmer” and the “Industrialist” Stringfellow Barr who “doesn’t manufacture anything.” Anderson presented the audience with a middle position. He was both fascinated and terrified by machines.

His words won thunderous approval from the audience, but they have never been published in full—until now.

 

Katherine Anne Porter in VQR

Toward the end of 1934, VQR editor Lambert Davis began assembling a roster of prominent Southern writers to contribute essays, short stories, and poems to the tenth anniversary issue of the journal focused exclusively on “Southern letters.” Among [...]

Robert Frost and VQR

December 1, 2008

Over the course of nearly twenty years, Robert Frost published some of his most famous and enduring poetry in the pages of the Virginia Quarterly Review. Poems like “Acquainted with the Night,” “The Silken Tent,” “The Gift Outright,” and [...]

Ezra Pound in VQR

In early 1958, a few months before Ezra Pound was released from “St. Liz,” the federal asylum he called home for twelve years following his spiteful, and eventually treasonous World War II broadcasts from Italy, Harry Meacham, the president of [...]

Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound: Foreign Correspondent

Spring 2008 | Essays

On July 14, 1959, the Richmond News Leader ran an editorial by Ezra Pound entitled “Keynes Brainwashed Electorate with Economic Hogwash.” It was his first and last publication in the Virginia newspaper—despite a yearlong stint as its foreign correspondent in Europe. In typical Pound style, it was a scathing swipe at the English economist, occasioned by an article that Pound had not bothered to read. Nevertheless, his editor, James J. Kilpatrick, was relieved to find the article publishable.

Pablo Neruda in VQR: Two Poems

October 11, 2007

By 1961, Pablo Neruda had established himself as one of the most important and prolific Spanish-language writers of the twentieth century. His work had been translated into a dozen different languages, yet for most North Americans and other English- [...]