During the 1930 s, one of the liveliest decades in the history of the American mind, Malcolm Cowley was literary editor of the New Republic, the magazine that served more than any other as the intellectual conscience of a generation. The impressive collection of essays and reviews of this gifted commentator from that period is a kind of topical chronicle of the era. From hundreds of reviews and essays, Henry Dan Piper has selected and arranged these articles to offer a source book of readings in the epoch s intellectual, social, and literary history.The volume is divided into two parts, and the articles are arranged chronologically. Part 1, The Social Record, illuminates the issues, problems, and ideas of the period. Part 2, The Literary Record, contains articles which deal chiefly with literary values. In addition, Mr. Cowley has written a lively, new, retrospective essay for this volume, Adventures of a Book Reviewer, in itself a classic on the art of the book review. No important name and no vital issue of this significant period is omitted from this record, attesting to Mr. Cowley s remarkable discernment and to the purity of his artistic judgment. Thus, the record has a special value for the student of the era."
Malcolm Cowley, one of America s best-known literary critics, was literary editor of the New Republic from 1929 to 1940. Among his many books are Exile s Return, After the Genteel Tradition, and, most recently, The Faulkner-Cowley File. Henry Dan Piper is Professor of English at Southern Illinois University. His most recent book is F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait."