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

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

following speeches were cut out, leaving the lines on liberty for the curtain. I am afraid I can't tell you any more about it.

I certainly wish you well with your autobiography and intend to read it. 2

Sincerely Maxwell A.

1.
In connection with These Things Are Mine: The Autobiography of a Journeyman Playwright ( 1947), Middleton had asked Anderson about the closing lines in the production of Valley Forge: "This liberty will look easy by and by / when nobody dies to get it." As was his custom after the formation of Anderson House, Anderson published the preproduction text of Valley Forge, and that text does not end with the lines on liberty.
2.
In These Things Are Mine Middleton used the present letter to make the point that with plays "production is fusion" of diverse considerations and opinions (p. 69).

98. TO GORDON K. CHALMERS 1

New City
April 21, 1941

Dear Prof. Chalmers:

The truth is I can't think of any way to accept your invitation without reservations that would destroy my usefulness on a commencement program. I should like very much to come and talk to the young people at Kenyon and to you but on June 9th I may not be within reach of Ohio and you naturally have to make your plans some time in advance.

If I had any turn for speaking and could deliver a lecture without any preparation my own attitude toward such an affair might be different but I am easily flustered on my feet and cannot speak well without a manuscript. A manuscript requires an original impulse and considerable work. Just now I don't have the impulse, wouldn't know what to say and would have to go to work without an idea. The paper which you and Mrs. Chalmers heard at the Modern Language Association contained the one thing I have had to say in essay form in many years. Most of the time I am content to write plays and embody whatever ideas I have in them.

-111-

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