“Here’s a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal.”
The Green-Room is a place for courtesies. The nicest thing that was ever said to us by way of criticism was that the Virginia Quarterly’s danger is in “being too good. It is possible to be so good that you become dull.” The friendly critic added that controversial articles were a saving grace from benevolent dullness and cited Mr. Hamilton’s recent article on “Those Southern Repudiated Bonds.” The proof of controversialism had already been before us; for a firm of Scotch solicitors, quoted by Mr. Hamilton, had written denying the implication that their hands were “those of Esau.” They met, too, the demand for “a bill of particulars” specifying the bonds which they held. Considering the strong statements in the earlier letter given in Mr. Hamilton’s article the editor was less impressed than the authors of the second letter since a copy of it addressed to the Virginia Quarterly was, we were told, sent to every member of Congress. With this, and certain other articles that have been provocative enough to provoke an occasional un-phlegmatic subscriber to the point of irate cancellation, we were interested when Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick suggested, on sending his article “If Majorities are Wrong,” that it might be too radical for our Southern readers. It is true that Southern thinkers have not, (to borrow a phrase used in another connection by Mr. Edwin Mims) turned the ‘revolt against convention into the convention of revolt’ but if they are frightened by the liberalism of Mr. Fosdick’s paper the Virginia Quarterly needs the information; for it is founded on the principle that at its best the South believes fundamentally in the freedom of discussion.
Mr. Fosdick’s article which attacks “the passion for uniformity,” will in substance form part of a forthcoming book. Since it was in July, 1925, that Raymond B. Fosdick contributed his “The League and the Menace of War” to our pages, we reintroduce him to our newer readers. After a brilliant and stormy political career in New York, he made an investigation of police conditions abroad and in America which gave him material for his first two books. Later he was chairman of the commission in charge of Training Camp Activities and civilian aide of General Pershing in France. After the World War he was for a time under secretary general of the League of Nations.
Anne w. Armstrong, who writes in this issue of “Babbitt’s big brother,” lives in Emmett, Tennessee. Tier intimate knowledge of “Business Bourbons” was gained during her experience as a business executive with the National City Company on Wall Street and the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester—and since as a business consultant on special problems. She was the first woman to lecture before the Harvard School of Business Administration and before the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
In the October, 1926, Virginia Quarterly Dr. Henry Pratt Fairchild in “Battling Impulses” discussed the deeper significances of immigration. In this number he approaches the prohibition question in a similar spirit. We regret that some of our subscribers who parted company with us because of the unfavorable attitude toward prohibition of some of our writers will miss the opportunity of getting a Fairchild for a Franklin. (See Fabian Franklin’s “The Spirit of Liberty,” October, 1927.)
Sean O’Faolaix was born in Cork, and took degrees at the National there. Though at present living in Boston, he is gathering material for a life of William Butler Yeats. Mr. O’Faolaix is the author of several published stories of unusual beauty, and is the young friend of George William Russell, the Irish poet, statesman, and editor, the famous “AE,” who is now visiting the United States. His delicate essay on James Joyce’s use of words, in this number, appears shorn of much artistic use of erudition through the Virginia Quarterly’s embargo on footnotes to articles.
The two most absorbingly interesting countries of Europe today are certainly Russia and Italy. Last October we printed Maurice Hindus’ “Russia’s Awakened Peasants.” In this issue travellers in Russia and Italy relate experiences that show how the human life of each country goes interestingly on under the changed conditions.
Russia is for most of us a closed book of travel; but Ernestine Evans put more human understanding into her trip “South to the Caucasus” than most people could supply for themselves, because she knows her way about. As correspondent for the London Chronicle, the New York Tribune and the Chicago Inter-Ocean, she became an experienced observer. She has also been one of the editors of the Christian Science Monitor and has written for Asia, The Century, Creative Art, The Nation, The New Republic and other periodicals. She is now literary advisor for the new publishing firm of Coward-McCann, New York.
The poetry of this issue is by writers already familiar to our readers. John Drinkwater, the English writer, is so well-known as the author of the plays on Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee that his distinction as a poet is sometimes forgotten. Lawrence Lee. native of Alabama, is now an editor in New York. His poetry first became known through the pages of the Virginia Quarterly.
He would be a poet, of course, who would write “The Picture Biography of Francis Thompson,” and E. L. Peterson has wiiispered the confession into the editor’s ear that one of his sonnets is in the recent number of “Poetry.” Plis own modest biography, when he was asked for one for The Green-Room—usually by the way The Green-Room ferrets out its own facts—read:—”If it means anything to you, I’m twenty-six years old, awkward, and skinny.” The letter came from a smoky town in Pennsylvania.
Too many secrets are known to the Green-Room about the author of “Little Yellow Dog” to admit of any being told here. F. Stringfellow Barr has been a Rhodes Scholar, a sojourner in various parts of Europe, and a professor of history. Also he has written for a rather wide variety of publications and is managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly. Perhaps the pertinent thing about him in view of the little fable is that he has auburn hair.
“Night on La Verna” is “true in every detail”—we have the word of honor of its author who says “If it reads as fiction, I am undone!” Certainly there are touches that hint at symbolism but that may be explained by the author’s adding that he has tried “to include only those details which have some significance.” William Force Stead is an American who lives in England where recently he has received an appointment at Worcester College, Oxford. His several volumes have all been published in England. His recent book of verse, “Festival in Tuscany” (London: Cobden-Sanderson) follows a prose book “The Shadow of Mount Carmel.”
The review of Percy MacKaye’s life of his father, Steele MacKaye, is by Thomas H. Dickinson, of Connecticut. He is the author of many books on the drama including “Playwrights of the New American Theatre.” Arthur H. Quinn of the University of Pennsylvania has long been recognized as an authority on the history of the American stage. His “The History of the American Drama,” recently completed, is the standard work in its field. The review of “Messages” by Ramon Fernandez should be read in connection with John LIyde Preston’s study, in the January issue, of Carl Spitteler and Paul Valery. George Herbert Clarke of Queen’s University, Canada, is himself a poet and the editor of “Selected Poems of Shelley.” Arthur Theodore Finch of Essex, England, is editor of “The Pottery and Glass Record.” James C Bardin has been for a long time a student of the Maya civilization. Henry M. Wriston is a student of international affairs and President of Lawrence College, Wisconsin. Edward Wagenknecht is on the faculty of the University of Washington. Agnes Rothery is author of several novels and a journalist of long experience.
The virginia quarterly review
Edited by james southall WILSON
Advisory Editors Edwin A. Alderman Carroll M. Sparrow
John Calvin Metcalf Bruce Williams
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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F. Stringfellow Barr. Managing Editor
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