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The Sewanee Review - Winter 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 113 Number 1
  • Published Date: Winter 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly
Officially this country’s most time-tested literary quarterly (it was founded in 1892), The Sewanee Review is one in that very small number of old-school American journals that just can’t be messed with, the kind of publication that can successfully sport an antiquated, unembellished cardstock cover without seeming quaint or stodgy. A reviewer feels, while reading a publication whose founding date stands more than a century back, that any inspired high praise will seem inordinately past its deadline. This is the journal, after all, about which T.S. Eliot wrote more than 50 years ago: “[It] has now reached the status of an institution.” In fiction, this winter issue (like most SR issues, I believe) features a single short story, a glorious piece by none other than the inimitable Wendell Berry. Berry’s “Mike,” about a family’s beloved hunting dog and the manner by which the canine creature pries at the stolid heart of the narrator’s reticent father, is reason enough to own this edition. Five poets are also here featured in a handful of short poems. Otherwise the contents of this decidedly scholarly journal are devoted to book reviews, critical essays, and creative nonfiction presented under the unifying concern of “Explorations in Autobiography”—including an interesting reassessment of the career of the late genius of American reportage, Joseph Mitchell. (Mitchell’s first-hand account of his relationship with the erudite Bohemian Joe Gould, published in 1964 and entitled “Joe Gould’s Secret,” was adapted to an eponymous film starring Stanley Tucci a few years back.) Also of note is new nonfiction by writer Floyd Skloot (a favorite of the litmag world), and a long profile of the legendary editor Albert Erskine, whose legendary authors included William Faulkner, James Michener, Robert Penn Warren, and Ralph Ellison. []
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Review Posted on September 30, 2005

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