jungle. After all, we evolved from the jungle. Nothing will ever evolve
from the ant-hill.
But I think it was the tone of your criticism that disturbed me
more than the content. You know that my opinions are not
purchaseable, but it seemed to me there was a touch of New Deal
acrimony in your voice, especially in the reference to the Manufacturers' Association--as if to imply that any opinion which opposed
the obviously high functions of the Roosevelt administration could
hardly be honest.
2 Perhaps you'll say I expect too much of a critic, and
I do expect a lot of you, for you have always seemed to try to give an
unbiased opinion in matters pertaining to the theatre. But politics is
another jungle, and we'll just have to hope that the best man
Atkinson (b. 1894), influential drama critic for the New York Times ( 1925-60)
whose other work at the time included Henry Thoreau: Cosmic Yankee ( 1927), had
written an antagonistic review of The Essence of Tragedy and Other Footnotes and
Papers ( "Ruminations of a Poet," New York Times, June 4, 1939, sec. 9, p. 1, cols.
1-3). The review focused on one essay in the book, "The Politics of Knickerbocker
Holiday," and criticized Anderson for his Thoreauvian attack on Roosevelt's extension
of governmental power over the lives of individual citizens. In an unlocated letter Anderson challenged the review, and in reply ( June 14, 1939; T) Atkinson admitted that
the review had been written from a point of view favorable to the New Deal but
maintained that poets in particular should support the New Deal because of its
In his review Atkinson had said: "Probably Mr. Anderson does not aspire to be
the poet laureate of the National Manufacturers Association, but there is nothing in
[his] political sentiments to disqualify him."
New York City
[ September/October, 1939]
I didn't quite realize till I heard it read today how wise and witty Madam, Will You Walk is. Now that I've passed my mid-century mark
and spend a good deal of time looking ahead into darkness I
appreciate what few fixed stars of belief men have been able to hang
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Dramatist in America:Letters of Maxwell Anderson, 1912-1958.
Contributors: Laurence G. Avery - Editor, Maxwell Anderson - Author.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press.
Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC.
Publication year: 1977.
Page number: 91.
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