. . . by a generation I mean that reaction against the fathers which seems to occur about three times in a century. It is distinguished by a set of ideas, inherited in moderated form from the madmen and outlaws of the generation before; if it is a real generation it has its own leaders and spokesmen, and it draws into its orbit those born just before it and just after, whose ideas are less clear-cut and defiant.— From “My Generation” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
For nearly half a century, Malcolm Cowley has adorned the American literary scene as critic, poel, and literary historian. William Faulkner was being little read by his own countrymen in the early 1940s when the two initiated a correspondence that was to produce THE PORTABLE FAULKNERand to provide Faulkner's own illumination of his finest works. The account of that relationship is drawn from THE FAULKNER-COWLEY FILE,to be published next month by Viking.
A veteran of the First World War, MALCOLM COWLEY graduated from Harvard in 1919 and then went to France on a fellowship. While in Paris he made friends among the Surrealists, helped to edit two expatriated magazines, SECESSION and BROOM, and wrote the first of the critical studies which were eventually to appear in his best-known book, EXILE’S RETURN. A critic who is concerned with the problems of the American writer, he here gives us a penetrating evaluation of Thomas Wolfe. Mr. Cowley is president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.