of two business managers who would laterrngo on to become distinguished editorsrnin their own right. During his career atrnRandom House, Albert Erskine’s clientsrnincluded William Faulkner, EudorarnWelty, Ralph Ellison, James Michener,rnJohn O’Hara, and William Styron, asrnwell as Erskine’s own mentor. Red Warren.rnAlbert’s successor in Baton Rougernwas John Palmer, who would later editrnboth the Sewanee Review and the YalernReview. For a hme, the magazine’s secretaryrnwas the future novelist JeanrnStafford. The entire enterprise, madernpossible in large part by the largesse ofrnthe Huey Long machine, came to anrnend when the Kingfish was shot and lessrnimaginative politicians took his place.rnAfter the Southern Review was suspendedrnin 1942, ostensibly in deference tornwar-time austerity, the football team’srntiger mascot continued to live in a heatedrncage and consume choice cuts ofrnmeat.rnThe demise of the Southern Reviewrnso demoralized Red Warren that hernpromptly accepted a position at the Universityrnof Minnesota, where he receivedrnthe promotion and higher salary that hadrnbeen denied him at LSU. By this time,rnhe had published two novels and an impressivernbody of poetry, while Cleanth’srnfirst book on literature. Modem Poetryrnand the Tradition (1939), had establishedrnhim as one of the most influential andrncontioversial critics of his time. The twornmen had also collaborated on three textbooksrnthat would revolutionize thernteaching of literature in American colleges.rnThis aspect of their career developedrnalmost by accident. Teaching at arnland grant university in one of the lessrncosmopolitan regions of the country.rnBrooks and Warren discovered thatrnmany of their students simply did notrnknow how to read literature. Often thernplain prose meaning of the text eludedrnthem. Even when that was not the case,rnthey were frequentiy ignorant of the literaryrndevices that make a poem more thanrnits paraphrasable prose content.rnUnfortunately, the available textbooksrnwere of little help. Anyone teachingrnKeats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” from thernmost popular classroom anthology of thernday. The College Omnibus, had to berncontent with a short biographical intioductionrnand a dollop of impressionisticrnresponse. (“The song of the nightingalernbrings sadness and exhilaration to the poetrnand makes him long to be lifted uprnand away from the limitations of life.rnThe seventh stanza is particularly beautiful.”)rnIn desperation, Warren prepared arn30-page mimeographed booklet on metricsrnand imagery, which he and Brooksrnused in the spring semester of 1935. Byrnthe fall of 1936, this had developed into arncritical anthology of poetry, fiction, drama,rnand expository prose they called AnrnApproach to Literature. In 1975,40 yearsrnafter its original publication. An Approachrnto Literature went into its fifthrnedition.rnThe two textbooks that followed. UnderstandingrnPoetry and UnderstandingrnFiction, were even more influential.rnEven as the New Criticism associatedrnwith Brooks, Warren, and others fell outrnof fashion, it continued to inform thernundergraduate teaching of literature.rnDouglas Bush spoke more truly than hernrealized when he dismissed the NewrnCriticism as “an advanced course in remedialrnreading.”rnThe one Brooks and Warren textbookrnthat failed to meet expectations wasrnAmerican Literature: The Makers and thernMaking, a magisterial anthology thatrnCleanth and Red compiled with theirrnYale colleague R.W.B. Lewis. This bookrnran to two million words, a fourth ofrnwhich consisted of commentary by therneditors. The result was not just a standardrnclassroom anthology but a criticalrnhistory of American literature from thern17th century to the present. If anything,rnthe book may have been too good. Morernthan a few teachers have had theirrnstudents buy less imposing anthologiesrnand then cribbed their lecture notesrnfrom Brooks, Lewis, and Warren. Evenrnthough this anthology did not make itsrneditors as much money as it should have,rnworking on it demonstiated the essentiallyrnsocial nature of literary criticism. Thernbest criticism often arises from the meetingrnof kindred spirits to talk about books.rnAmong other things, the collective experiencernof putting together American Literature:rnThe Makers and the Making convincedrnR.W.B. Lewis of “an irreduciblernsubsurface of regionality in American literaryrnfolk.” As the three colleagues beganrndiscussing the mid-19th century,rnLewis got “the eerie but enlivening sensationrnthat we were, between us, reenactingrnthe Civil War.” Brooks and Warrenrnseemed to him to become increasinglyrnSouthern. “To my ears their very accentsrnthickened,” Lewis recalls,rnand though I am in fact Chicagoborn,rnI felt myself becoming morernand more northern and even, likernEmily Dickinson, beginning to seern”New Englandly.” When Warrenrnpresented us with his selection ofrnMelville’s war poems, I remarkedrnthat to judge from this lot—all ofrnthem from northern defeats andrndisasters—one would be in doubtrnas to which side had actuallyrn”won” the war.rnCleanth Brooks and Robert PennrnWarren were part of a remarkable generationrnof literary figures bom within half arndozen years of the turn of the century.rnEven if we should eventually look uponrntheir like again, it is doubtful that we willrndiscover so voluminous a correspondence.rnBrooks and Warren lived most ofrntheir lives before phoning long distancernwas a commonplace occurrence, and Irndoubt that either man ever used e-mail.rnEven as our means of communicationrnhave become more efficient, a certain civilityrnhas been lost. Cleanth and Redrnwere good men as well as great critics.rnEavesdropping on their written conversationsrnwith each other helps confirmrnthe measure of our loss.rnMark Royden Winchell, who teachesrnEnglish at Clemson University, was thern1997 recipient of the Warren-BrooksrnAward for Literary Criticism.rnLIBERAL ARTSrnA REAL PAGE-TURNERrn”O’Neill’s book breaks newrnground. The overall structure ofrnthe argument is very attractivernand convincing: moving betweenrnRawls’s monological impartialismrnand Walzer’s dialogicalrncontextualism to open arnspace for Habermas’s discoursernethics. I honestly couldn’t put itrndown.”rn—from a cover blurb for ShanernO’Neill’s Impartiality inrnContext: Grounding Justice in arnPluralist World (State Universityrnof NewYork Press, 1997)rnJANUARY 1999/33rnrnrn