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The Green-Room

ISSUE:  Winter 1931

“Here’s a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal”

Among Thomas H. Dickinson’s many works, chiefly

books on the drama, there is one which bears the title, “The United States and the League.” Out of two of his major interests has come his “Bernard Shaw and Woodrow Wilson,” in which he points out the astonishing parallelism between the Weltpolitik of Britain’s leading dramatist and that of the American president who fathered the League of Nations.

When the Virginia Quarterly asked Sherwood Anderson to write on “J. J. Lankes and his Woodcuts,” he tempered his enthusiastic response with the confession that he was “a terribly undisciplined man,” and that while he might write “suddenly, almost at once,” then again it might take months. He concluded his letter with the admirably accurate statement that “It’s hell being an editor.”

What persuaded him to promptness was seeing the new woodcuts J. J. Lankes did for this issue of the Virginia Quarterly. Mr. Lankes, whose work has won him a permanent place in the art collections of the New York Metropolitan, the British Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale, and many important art museums in America, has recently published a volume of “Virginia Woodcuts” through the Virginia Press, of Newport News. Both he and Mr. Anderson are relatively recent acquisitions to the literary and artistic life of Virginia. Mr. Anderson was born in Ohio and now publishes ambidextrously both the Republican and Democratic newspapers of Marion, Virginia, whence issued his latest book, “Hello Towns.” Mr. Lankes was born in Buffalo and now lives in Hilton Village, Virginia.

Can a nation “over-produce”? “Yes,” replies the man in the street, looking for a job in a jobless winter. “No,” answers a host of economists. “Yes, under our present system of production,” answers Henry Pratt Fairchild, in “Machines Don’t Buy Goods.” Dr. Fairchild, who is professor of sociology in New York University, is the author of many books, chiefly on the subject of immigration. Readers of the Virginia Quarterly will recall his article “The Deeper Significance of Prohibition,” published in April, 1928, which drew the fire of many “wets”—including some who had written for the Quarterly! The editors of the Virginia Quarterly, being as editors neither wet nor dry, capitalist nor socialist, offer here a searching comment on the foremost economic problem America faces, unemployment.

This is the first time Aldous Huxley has written for the Virginia Quarterly Review. But, as one of England’s foremost living ironists, he scarcely needs an introduction to readers of the Quarterly. Mb. Huxley’s latest book, “Brief Candles,” appeared only a few months ago. In “Boundaries of Utopia” Mr. Huxley pleasantly points out some limitations on the “way out” suggested by Dr. Fairciiild.

If even the joys of leisure have their limits, Clarence E. Cason is perhaps right in reminding his fellow-Americans that leisure is still a precious boon. Mil. Cason, who is professor of journalism at the University of Alabama, has already contributed several articles to the Virginia Quarterly. It would be an amusing culmination of the North’s criticism of Southern laziness if the “problem of leisure,” now so perpetually under discussion in sociological circles, resolved itself into a national acceptance of “That Southern Languor.” Mr. Cason has lived in the Middle West, as well as in his native South.

Geoffrey Johnson is an English poet who has contributed frequently to the Quarterly, in the past two years. The poetry of Frances M. Frost and Frederic Prokosch is also well known to the Quarterly’s readers. Miss Frost lives in Vermont; Mr. Prokosch, a Pennsylvania!!, is living in New Haven, Connecticut. Henry Bellamann is literary editor of The State, Columbia, South Carolina; he is a poet, novelist, critic, and musician.

E. P. Chase is professor of government in Lafayette College. As a student of history and government at Oxford, where he went as a Rhodes Scholar, he had ample opportunity to observe the national attitudes which he describes in “Can Politics Be a Profession?”

Dumas Malone, an editor of the Dictionary of American Biography, has been for many years a student of Thomas Jefferson. He has recently edited the “Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, 1798-1817,” published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. In “Polly Jefferson” he explores a little known but characteristic side of a great American.

Roark Bradford’s books of Negro Bible stories, “Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Children” and “Ol’ King David an’ the Philistine Boys,” have become particularly famous through Marc Connelly’s dramatization of the former as “The Green Pastures.” Mr, Bradford’s works have been signal for their skilful mingling of humor and deep feeling.

Walter L. Myers is the author of “The Later Realism,” a study of the recent English novel, and is professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. John Donald Wade is the biographer of Augustus B. Longstreet. His latest book is a life of John Wesley. Like Mr. Myers, he has reviewed for the Quarterly before. Dexter Perkins, professor of history at Harvard, is the author of “John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State.” Allen Tate, poet, critic, and biographer, has written lives of Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson, and is a close student of the Confederacy. Like Mr. Wade, he was a contributor to the symposium, “I’ll Take My. Stand,” reviewed in this issue. Although Mr. Tate has published poetry in the Virginia Quarterly, this is his first prose contribution. Howard Mumfobd Jones, poet, dramatist, critic, is already well known to the Quarterly’s readers. William Sener Rusk is a writer and lecturer on the history of art and a member of the faculty of Wells College, Aurora, New York. Gerald W. Johnson, whose novel “By Reason of Strength” is reviewed in this issue, is on the staff of the Baltimore Sun. He is a native of North Carolina. Scott Buchanan was educated at Amherst, Harvard, and Oxford. For a time engaged in adult education, he has taught also in various American universities. He is at present professor of philosophy in the University of Virginia. He is the author of two philosophical works, “Possibility” and “Poetry and Mathematics,” besides numerous magazine articles.

This is the first time that James Southall Wilson has not written the Green-Room. It is difficult to speak here, without being fulsome, of his seven, years’ service as editor, from the founding of the Virginia Quarterly until his resignation last October. What he gave of time, of energy, of courage, of judgment, what be gave of himself during those seven years, only his editorial associates know. He took hold of the Quarterly when it was a project and he gave it form and substance. Seven years ago the Virginia Quarterly might have become almost anything: a success, a failure—as was freely predicted; pleasantly trivial, ponderously authoritative and “academic.” It was Mr. Wilson’s clear vision that gave it its present form, and his skill at discovering material of distinction that gave it content.

Happily for the new editor, this pioneer work is finished. But his actual problems are hardly less formidable. Even to maintain the Quarterly at its present level were difficult enough, but also to realize the growth implicit in Mr. Wilson’s far-seeing plans is a task to which he would have felt unequal had he not been assured beforehand of the active collaboration of the first editor.

“What is your programme?” This question invariably greets a new editor, but it misses the point here. A programme implies an ideal of doing, in contrast with an ideal of being. The Quarterly will champion no cause. It will continue to be a magazine for those to whom living is personal art, who seek understanding rather than the accentuation of their own prejudices.



Advisory Editors Edwin A. Alderman .  John Calvin Metcalf

James Southall Wilson  Carroll M. Sparrow

The Virginia Quarterly Review is published at the University of Virginia: in April, July, October, and January. Subscription rates: $3.00 the year. Canadian, $3.25; Foreign, $3.50. Single copies, 75 cents.

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Lambert Davis, Managing Editor



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