In This Issue
Explore the March 1948 print edition below. Or to discover more writing from the pages of The Atlantic, browse the full archive.
"Not only is the motion picture an art, but it is the one entirely new art that has been evolved on this planet for hundreds of years. It is the only art at which we of this generation have any possible chance to greatly excel."
Ever since his expulsion from Eden, man has lived by this ruthless pattern of land use: Cut, burn, plant, destroy, move on. But the planet is no longer big enough, says FAIRFIELD OSBORN, for this kind of plunder. With a world population of more than two billion we have barely enough forests, water sources, and arable soil for subsistence and no new lush lands to conquer. But suppose the population reaches three billion. President of the New York Zoological Society, Mr. Osborn is leading the drive for conservation on a national scale. His forthcoming book, Our Plundered Planet, is a shocking report on how far spoliation has gone the world over.
The most eminent philosopher in the English-speaking world, GEORGE SANTAYANA, now in his eighty-fifth year, is living in Rome and writing with vigor and sapience. It is the Atlantic’s privilege to publish in successive issues this spring his three new Dialogues, two of them short and the third of considerable length. Each contains passages characteristic of Santayana at his best; each reflects his sense of detachment from his own time, or any particular time, and his critical and contemplative devotion to truth as he sees it, regardless of age, war, or climate.
A native of Robinson. Illinois, JAMES JONES went straight into the army from high school. He got on the trail of the Atlantic when he read Cord Meyer’s “Waves of Darkness” and Victor Ullman’s “Sometimes You Break Even” in the O. Henry Memorial Awards collection of 1946. Since the war he lias written two novels, which are now undergoing revision. This is the first of his short stories to appear in print.
Last October we published an article by Ralph Lee Smith, who resigned from the Naval Academy midway in his second year. In his paper, ”Why I Resigned from Annapolis,” he criticized the hazing to which the piebes were submitted, and also the curriculum, which he felt to be inadequate. The Atlantic invited replies, and to date we have received ninety-eight articles or letters in extenso. Of the responses defending the Academy, we have selected the five vigorous statements which follow. It should be understood that in each case the views expressed are not those of the Navy Department or the Naval Service, but of the individual writer.
That composers have to live on a budget, and without the protection of Petrillo, is a thought which never occurs to us as we listen to the latest composition of Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, or Roy Harris. HUNTINGTON CAIRNS, who has been Secretary-Treasurer and General Counsel of the National Gallery of Art since 1943, reminds us of the princely patronage which supported Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Wagner. He tells us of the miserly sums now paid to ranking composers and asks what relief can be expected from Federal aid. His article will be published by the Harvard University Press in a collection entitled Music and Criticism: A Symposium.
In his thoughtful latest book, On Understanding Science, PRESIDENT JAMES BRYANT CONANT of Harvard University has pointed out the great fallacy of trying to separate scientific theory from the groping, fumbling, tentative efforts that lead to it. Now in this clear, challenging article he calls on men of science to assume a new responsibility for maintaining and improving the unique democracy in which we live. The substance of this paper formed his address as outgoing president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
A veteran, now in his twenty-fifth year, who is thinking and writing in terms of peace, JOSEPH HELLER is a junior at New York University, where he is majoring in English and producing short stories which in our judgment give very real promise. During the war he flew sixty missions as a bombardier with the 12th Air Force in Italy and France, but the urge to write was then in his mind, and now he is doing it.
Britain’s most distinguished dramatist, whose plays, whose letters, and whose postcards have delighted people the world over, GEORGIA BERNARD SHAW saw his first Shakespeare production as a boy, seventy-five years ago. He was born in Dublin in July, 1856, and these are the dates which stand out in his record: 1876, when he captured London for life; 1884, when he became the leading spirit of the Fabian Society; 1898, when he was married; and 1925, when he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
A graduate of Williams who taught for twelve years at Harvard before assuming the presidency of his old college, JAMES PHINNEY BAXTER has been fighting to overcome the losses in faculty and in funds which every college, large or small, has sustained, thanks to inflation and the war. During his years in Washington, first with the OSS and then with the OSRD, President Baxter saw how able teachers were drawn into private industry and government research, many of them never to return. The financial burdens of a college president have seldom been more candidly presented.
A graduate of Sandhurst who fought with Denikin, served with his regiment, the Gloucestershires, on the Northwest Frontier, and lumbered with elephants in Burma, COLONEL A. W. SMITH was sent on a mission to South Africa in 1943 and on the way touched at Zanzibar, a savory island where his parents had first lived as newlyweds. There the past came back to meet him. The author of novels and short stories which have appeared under the Atlantic imprint, Colonel Smith is happiest on his home acres in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Home-building in the United Stales is still paralyzed by high prices, crippling regulations, and old-fashioned methods. While we tolerate rickety tenements, cheeseboxes, and jerry-built new construction, we stubbornly disdain the great possibilities of prefabrication. England has created almost 200,000 pre-fabs since the war, whereas our best post-war year produced only 37,000. Such is the finding of ANTHONY F. MERRILL, who during his recent residence in England visited the building sites of every type of new post-war house and interviewed many of the urban and rural housing authorities.
An Oxford graduate and a born linguist, GEOFFREY HOUSEHOLD had worked in Central Europe, Spain, South America, and the United States before he began to write the short stories and novels which marked him as one of the best. In 1939 when he had finished Rogue Male (from which came the exciting film “Man Hunt”), Mr. Household took a course of training for special Intelligence duties. As a result he was ordered to Egypt a week before the outbreak of war, with the very first draft of the new army, and for six years thereafter he never saw England. He served on a somewhat mysterious mission to Rumania, then as a Security Officer in Greece, Syria, Palestine, and Iraq. In 1915 he at last returned home, and there, after a year of rest, began writing Arabesque, a novel drawn exclusively from his firsthand experience and inside knowledge of Levantine politics.
Until recently a correspondent associated with the Paris office of the National Broadcasting Company, WILLIAM BIRD is now living in Morocco.
CHARLES J. ROLO, who now writes our Bookshelf “ Reader’s Choice,”will be remembered by Atlantic readers for his articles on Aldous Huxley and André Gide. Here, for those eying the European travel situation, is his report on his vaeation in Italy last summer.
MUSICIAN, journalist, and novelist, JOSEPH WECHSBERG is traveling in Europe, whence he sent us this account of present-day Switzerland.
When W. SOMERSET MAUGH AM was asked to select and edit the ten best novels in world literature, he thought at once of Balzac. Dickens, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky; then the choice became difficult. Finally he chose three novels from France, two from Russia, one from America, and four from England, and for each book he wrote an introduction. His appraisal of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary we printed in November, his essay on Fielding and Tom Jones in December; in January he discussed Balzac, and Le Père Goriot, and in February the Brontës and Wuthering Heights. The set of the Ten Best Novels will be published by the John C. Winston Company.