The Sewanee Review

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The Sewanee Review  
Sewanee review.gif
Abbreviated title (ISO 4)
Sewanee Rev.
Discipline Literature
Language English
Edited by George Core
Publication details
Publisher
Publication history
1892–present
Frequency Quarterly
Indexing
ISSN 0037-3052 (print)
1934-421X (web)
OCLC no. 1936968
Links

The Sewanee Review is a literary journal established in 1892 and the oldest continuously published periodical of its kind in the United States.[1] It incorporates original fiction and poetry, as well as essays, reviews, and literary criticism. It notably published five stories by Flannery O'Connor, the dramatic version of Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, and Cormac McCarthy's first published work—a selection from his first novel, The Orchard Keeper. Other noted contributors include Hannah Arendt, W. H. Auden, Saul Bellow, Wendell Berry, Bertolt Brecht, Albert Camus, James Dickey, Andre Dubus II, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Robert Graves, Merrill Joan Gerber, John Haines, Donald Hall, Seamus Heaney, George V. Higgins, Madison Jones, X. J. Kennedy, Thomas Kinsella, C. S. Lewis, F. O. Matthiessen, Howard Nemerov, Joyce Carol Oates, Saint-John Perse, Katherine Anne Porter, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Peter Taylor, Dylan Thomas, Richard Tillinghast, and Eudora Welty.

History[edit]

The Sewanee Review was established in 1892 by William Peterfield Trent, an English professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. About the university's new quarterly, Trent remarked, "It will be devoted to reviews of leading books and to papers on such topics of general Theology, Philosophy, History, Political Science, and Literature as require further treatment than they receive in specialist publications." Trent edited the review until 1900. Upon his retirement, John Bell Hennemann edited the journal until 1909. For a year, the magazine was overseen by the faculty of the University. John McLaren McBryde, Jr. edited the review from 1910–1920, when George Herbert Clarke became editor.

Addition of poetry and fiction[edit]

Clarke was the first editor of the journal to publish poetry, and he published verse by Herman Melville, Hart Crane, Donald Davidson, Merrill Moore, John Crowe Ransom, Mark Van Doren, and Margaret L. Woods. Up until this time, the journal had functioned largely as Trent intended; it published essays and book reviews on a wide variety of topics—literary criticism, philosophy, theology, natural sciences, and international events and politics. Clarke's editorship marked a shift toward a magazine devoted more wholly to literary criticism and to poetry. Clarke remained editor until 1926, when William Skinkle Knickerbocker took the helm. Knickerbocker first published fiction in the review in 1932, moving the magazine further away from Trent's original dictum to its current nature.

Upon Knickerbocker's retirement in 1942, Tudor Seymour Long became editor but was largely ineffectual. His brief tenure was dominated by Andrew Lytle, who served as a highly active managing editor until 1944, and Allen Tate, who served as an advisory editor and de facto editor until 1944. Both men were urged to come to Sewanee and assist in the production of the magazine by the University's vice-chancellor, Alexander Guerry. It was during the early 1940s that the Review's place in American letters was revolutionized. It became a solid pillar in the New Criticism, which was sweeping American literary culture, placing it firmly alongside Cleanth Brooks's Southern Review and John Crowe Ransom's Kenyon Review. Lytle and Tate saw to the publication of such authors and critics as Randall Jarrell, R. P. Blackmur, Richard M. Weaver, and Brooks. When Tate officially became editor in 1944, he had the review redesigned by P. J. Conkwright, who crafted the distinctive blue cover and design still used today. Tate also published such literary giants as Robert Penn Warren, Peter Taylor, Jean Stafford, Caroline Gordon, Theodore Roethke, William Meredith, Wallace Stevens, Reed Whittemore, Karl Shapiro, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Jacques Maritain, Joseph Frank, and Marshall McLuhan. In 1952 T. S. Eliot commented that the "Sewanee Review has . . . reached the status of an institution—by which I mean that if it came to an end, its loss would be something more than merely the loss of one good periodical; it would be a symptom of an alarming decline in the periodical world at its highest level."

Modern journal[edit]

Tate's editorship ended in 1946, and John E. Palmer became editor. He was followed by Monroe K. Spears in 1952 and then Andrew Lytle again in 1965. The current editor, George Core, succeeded Lytle in 1973. These four editors have continued the literary tradition begun in the 1940s, retaining elements of the New Criticism while devoting the lion's share of the magazine's pages to fiction, poetry, literary criticism, and book reviews.

The journal has, since the publication of "I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition" (1930), been heavily influenced by the Southern Agrarians. Allen Tate and Andrew Lytle have both served as editors, and Donald Davidson, John Crowe Ransom, and Robert Penn Warren have all contributed to the review. However, the review has never been a Southern magazine, even under Tate and Lytle; while many illustrious Southern authors have been featured in its pages (O'Connor, Faulkner, Welty, Porter, Dickey, etc.), the review has also published fiction and criticism by authors more associated with the New York Intellectuals, notably Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, and Lionel Trilling.

Core's editorship has also seen the emergence of themed issues. From 1974 to the present, the review has had issues devoted to themes as diverse as the literature of war, literature of the British Commonwealth, the autobiography, travel, war, Henry James, Irish letters, Jane Austen, humor, and the Renaissance. Core remarked in 1992, "The Sewanee Review . . . is a magazine based in the South, but it is not a southern magazine. It is not nearly so southern as the Virginia Quarterly Review, as the Southern Review or the Southern Literary Journal. Since I have been here, I have written a lot about the South myself, but I have published relatively little about the South. It is true that I have published a lot of southern writers, but their subjects often have not been southern at all."

The review gives the annual Aiken Taylor Award, a prize of $10,000, begun in 1985 by the physician and poet K. P. A. Taylor in honor of his brother Conrad Aiken. Winners of the award, which has been given to poets otherwise unaffiliated with the review, have included Howard Nemerov, Richard Wilbur, Anthony Hecht, W. S. Merwin, John Frederick Nims, Gwendolyn Brooks, George Starbuck, Wendell Berry, Maxine Kumin, Fred Chappell, Carolyn Kizer, X. J. Kennedy, George Garrett, Eleanor Ross Taylor, Frederick Morgan, Grace Schulman, Daniel Hoffman, Henry S. Taylor, B. H. Fairchild, Brendan Galvin, Anne Stevenson, John Haines, Donald Hall, Louise Glück, and Billy Collins.

The journal is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Prior to its transfer to electronic processing at the Johns Hopkins University Press, it was one of only two academic journals in the United States still printed by letterpress.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sewanee Review", Johns Hopkins University Press, retrieved 31 January 2009 

External links[edit]