The Southern Review
Date of Publication:
July 1935 (1:1) – Apr. 1942 (7:4)
Continued 1965 (1:1) –
Place(s) of Publication:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Frequency of Publication:
Louisiana State University Press
Approx. 200 pages. No illustrations.
Charles W. Pipkin (July 1935 – Spring 1941)
Cleanth Brooks Jr. (Winter 1941 – Spring 1942)
Robert Penn Warren (Winter 1941 – Spring 1942)
Libraries with Complete Original Issues:
Louisiana State University; Getty Research Institute; Library of Congress; Smithsonian Institute; New York Public Library; Georgia State University; Northwestern University; Princeton University; University of Pennsylvania
New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1965
Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI [microfilm]
Johnson Associates, Inc. [microfiche]
The Southern Review began with a casual conversation between the Louisiana State University President and poet Robert Penn Warren. Less than six months later, the university’s quarterly of literature and criticism debuted. The first issue appeared in July, 1935, with Charles W. Pipkin as the magazine’s editor and Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks Jr. as managing editors.
From its beginning The Southern Review balanced political, social, and economic essays with works of fiction, criticism, and poetry. The editors reflected this interests: Pipkin was a political scientist and Warren and Brooks worked in the university’s English department. During its seven years of publication, the magazine was known for its excellent criticism of books and poetry (Hoffman 398). More importantly, however, were the number of significant fiction submission published from aspiring Southern authors: although the editors never explicitly expressed any favoritism to the South, over fifty percent of its contributors were Southern (Cutrer 88). Eudora Welty and Katherine Anne Porter are a few of the distinguished authors who were featured in the Review.
Although it remained a well-respected publication throughout its existence, World War II suspended the magazine’s publication; feeling it should spend its money elsewhere, the administration cut its funds after The Southern Review’s April 1942 issue (Brooks and Warren xv). In only seven years of existence, however, the magazine left a remarkable impression on the literary world. Scholars and critics agree that The Southern Review stands as a significant little magazine because of its fair treatment of relevant social discourse, its quality literary criticism, and the lasting literature it published (Cutrer 79).
In a letter to e. e. cummings on March 25, 1935, editor Cleanth Brooks described the goals of his new magazine, The Southern Review:
“Despite its title, this quarterly does not aim, especially in its literary aspect, at a sectional program, nor will it have an academic bias. We hope to provide a large quarterly which will be a ready index to the most vital contemporary activities in fiction, poetry, criticism, and social-political thought, with an adequate representation in each of the departments. In each issue there will be a large display of poetry” (qtd. in Cutrer 52).
Fellow editor Charles Pipkin echoed Brooks’ sentiments regarding who the magazine would appeal to:
“The Southern Review is reaching a wider group with each issue, and we are hopeful that our editorial policy will make a contribution that is useful to clearer thinking on the American scene” (qtd. in Cutrer 74).
Charles W. Pipkin (1899 – 1941)
Editor: July 1935 – Spring 1941
The son of a Methodist minister, Charles Pipkin grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. A Rhodes Scholar, he received his undergraduate degree from Henderson-Brown College and his M.A. from Vanderbilt, and in 1925, he received his doctorate degree from Oxford University (Cutrer 29). He became the Dean of Louisiana State University’s graduate School where he taught government and served as editor to The Southern Review from 1936-1941. Pipkin died in the summer of 1941 from a heart attack, several months before the magazine published its last issue (Brooks xii).
Cleanth Brooks, Jr. (Oct. 16, 1906 – May 10, 1994)
Co-Editor: Winter 1941 – Spring 1942
Cleanth Brooks was born in Murray, Kentucky on October 16, 1906. Like Pipkin, his father was a Methodist minister. While working towards his Bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University, he met Robert Penn Warren, who would become a friend and a long time professional partner. Brooks received his M.A. from Tulane University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. Once he earned his B.Litt in 1932 he came to teach at LSU where he joined the editorial staff of The Southern Review (Cutrer 26-29).
Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 – Sept. 15, 1989)
Co-Editor: Winter 1941 – Spring 1942
Robert Penn Warren was born in Guthrie, Kentucky, and enrolled in Vanderbilt University in 1921 where he became friends with classmates Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate. After he received a Master’s Degree from the University of California in 1927, he joined Brooks in earning his B.Litt. from Oxford. When he returned to the United States he taught English at Southwestern University in Memphis and then at Vanderbilt for three years. In 1934 Warren reconnected with Brooks as a fellow faculty member in the English department, and served as an editor for The Southern Review for over a year (Cutrer 34-39).
“The Class Approach to Southern Problems”
T. S. Eliot
“The Poetry of W. B. Yeats”
“The Women on the Battlefield”
“Literature and Examinations”
“An Essay on the Human Will”
“The Machine Gun”
“Jericho Jericho Jericho”
Katherine Anne Porter
“Pale Horse Pale Rider”
“The Glass of Water”
Robert Penn Warren
“Curtain of Green”
Bongiorni, Sara. “Women, Administrators, Benefactors Recommended in Naming of East Campus Apartment Buildings.” LSU Today 1 (Oct. 1999).
Brooks, Cleanth, and Robert P. Warren. Introduction. Anthology of Stories from the Southern Review. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State UP, 1953. xi-xvi.
Cutrer, Thomas W. Parnassus on the Mississippi: The Southern Review and the Baton Rouge Literary Community, 1935-1942. New York: Louisiana State UP, 1984.
Hoffman, Frederick J., Charles Allen, and Carolyn F. Ulrich. The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1947.
Kimbrel, William W. “Brooks, Cleanth.” American National Biography Online. Davidson College Library, Davidson, NC. 2 July 2009.
Simpson, Lewis P., James Olney, and Jo Gulledge, eds. The Southern Review and Modern Literature 1935-1985. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State UP, 1988.
The Southern Review. 1935 – 1942. New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1965.
Tate, Allen. “The Present Function of the Critical Quarterly,” Southern Review 1 (Winter, 1935-1936): 552.
‘The Southern Review” compiled by Ryan Alexander (Class of ’09, Davidson College)