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

By Laurence G. Avery; Maxwell Anderson | Go to book overview
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be wise to see it through the works. 2 But I haven't forgotten our appointment for September, and hope to have a new play written to show you. That's not a threat, however. I hate reading MS. and understand that in others. Mab sends her love to Anna and to you-- and so do I, though you'll probably throw it right back in my teeth, enriched with profanity.

Sincerely
Max

1.
Huntington, in a letter of April 15, 1947 (T), had congratulated Anderson on Joan of Lorraine, which he had just read. He thought that Anderson was especially well suited for philosophizing by means of history and that he had made a powerful contemporary play out of the Joan story.
2.
Joan of Arc.

155. TO UPTON SINCLAIR

[ Los Angeles, California]
June 4, 1947

Dear Upton-- 1

I have learned after many battering years in the theatre that one has to be completely honest about the plays he reads--otherwise he'll find himself involved in productions which he doesn't believe in and to which he can give nothing. I found A Giant's Strength well-built and well-written, and in parts moving and fascinating--but I was disappointed. Inevitably, no doubt. When you write about the atomic bomb you're certain to say what should be done about it--which will always sound like propaganda--and you are certain to indicate a solution--which, since the future is unknown, will always sound hypothetical and unconvincing. This would happen to anybody who chose this subject. It's not a criticism of your playwriting but only of your choice of material.

One other weakness is inherent in the subject itself. Nobody has yet worked out a solution. You carry your people through an imaginative experience--and carry the reader along with you most of the time--but in the end all the lad can say is: Stop killing each other. Well, that's been said. Jesus said it, and so have many others, including

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