Dramatist in America: Letters of Maxwell Anderson, 1912-1958

By Laurence G. Avery; Maxwell Anderson | Go to book overview

flattering unction--and God knows a man is tempted to hope that the most intelligent are those who find virtue in his work.

Lately I've made a compromise with my conscience--just in order to go on. I assume that I am trying to do something which neither the critics nor the public is likely to understand--something therefore which neither can judge, and which will have to wait for a decision later on. When neither my face nor my voice is around to distract opinion. And when I get a letter like yours--which may be once in two or three years--I say to myself--this may possibly be a hint of what posterity will think of it--may possibly. But I naturally remember that posterity may not think of it at all.

Without such a word once in a while, though, I'd be entirely without hope--so I leave you to imagine how many times I've read your birthday letter--and will read it again. I'm fifty-one.

Maxwell Anderson

1.
Raymond MacDonald Alden, ed., The Sonnets of Shakespeare, from the Quarto of 1609 with Variorum Readings and Commentary ( 1916). Alden ( 1873- 1924) was professor of English at Stanford ( 1899-1911 and 1914-24).
2.
In the original, "corollary" is attempted and crossed out several times.

90. TO PAUL MUNI

New City
July 10, 1940

Dear Muni:

Your last letter to me seems to indicate that you think maybe "Key Largo" should have had better fortune than it had. I am inclined to think that's true, but I'm certain it wasn't the casting that was at fault. There was something a little wrong with the play or with its timing which made it a little less than popular. But you held it up magnificently and gave it a far longer run than any of us expected. More than that, I'm glad we worked together because that's the only way people get acquainted in the theatre these days, and we think we have found two very good friends in you and Bella. 1 All the members

-99-

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