Australian nurse Thomasina Grey, making her less disillusioned and less promiscuous in
her relationship with the British Captain Sutton. But Surles had referred the question of
nurse Grey to Robert Sherwood of the Office of War Information, who would check
with British and Australian authorities to see whether they would be offended by the
play ( Surles to Anderson, December 6, 1943; W). Anderson was in Baltimore, where Storm Operation was beginning its try-out run at the Maryland Theater. His agreement
with the War Department (see no. 130, n. 1) compelled him to revise the play as Surles
132. TO KATHARINE S. WHITE
March 17, 1944
Dear Mrs. White:
Your letter waited for me at the office and I didn't get it till
yesterday. I feel very apologetic for having put you through all this.
My information about Fish was small but vague, and I certainly
should have looked up my facts before bursting into dithyrambs. It's a
lot more difficult to revise than to write a first draft. Whether I can
rearrange the poem to fit the facts without taking all the edge off it, I
don't know. It might be very funny to have a footnote to every line
and I'm inclined to think that many would be necessary to clear
matters up. I hope I won't have to give the whole thing up but a
political document should be black and white and there's nothing
clear about Mr. Fish's position in space or politics.
I want to thank you personally for the way you have gone about
this matter. I think you must be the conscience of the New Yorker.
Sincerely Maxwell Anderson
Mrs. White, wife of E. B. White and collaborator with him on several books, was
an editor of the New Yorker. During the 1944 elections Anderson headed a committee
in his congressional district to defeat Hamilton Fish for reelection to the U.S. House of
Representatives, and about March 1 he had sent a verse satire on Fish to Mrs. White.
Her reply ( March 7, 1944; T) said she wanted to use the poem if Anderson could revise
it to reflect the complications that had resulted from the redrawing of New York
congressional districts, complications (mostly geographical) that she explained at
The poem as revised was published as "Mr. Fish Crosses the River," New Yorker 20 ( May 13, 1944): 28.
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: 187.
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