History

A Chronology of the Sewanee Review
From 1892 to the Present

1892

Sewanee Review founded by William Peterfield Trent

Benjamin Lawton Wiggins (head of ancient languages and eventual vice-chancellor of the University) serves as a largely uncredited coeditor until his death in June 1909

It will be devoted to reviews of leading books and to papers on such topics of general Theology, Philosophy, History, Political Science, and Literature as require further treatment than they receive in specialist publications.

—Trent on the original purpose of the SR

1900

Trent retires and John Bell Hennemann becomes editor


1909

The faculty of the University of the South edit the SR under direction of Wiggins


1910

John McLaren McBryde, Jr. becomes editor


1920

George Herbert Clarke becomes editor

Poetry first published in the SR: Clarke publishes Donald Davidson, John Crowe Ransom, Merrill Moore, Mark Van Doren, Margaret L. Woods, and Melville Crane


1926

William Skinkle Knickerbocker (head of English department at Sewanee) becomes editor


1930

I'll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition is published with essays by Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, John Crowe Ransom, Andrew Lytle, and Robert Penn Warren; Tate and Lytle would later edit the SR, and Davidson, Ransom, and Warren would contribute fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to its pages.

It is less purely academic than a few years ago; without losing academic strength it has appealed more to general cultivated readers and has projected itself more directly into the battles of current American letters.

—Gorham Munson, "The Sewanee Review: From 1892 to 1930"
(winter 1932)


1940

Knickerbocker publishes "Trent at Sewanee," a history of the first editorship, in the spring issue

 

1942

Tudor Seymour Long becomes editor

Andrew Lytle appointed managing editor

Allen Tate serves as highly involved advisory editor

 

1943

Lytle sees to the publication of Randall Jarrell, R. P. Blackmur, Harry M. Campbell, Solomon Fishman, Richard M. Weaver, and Cleanth Brooks. By the end of the 1943 volume the SR's place in the era of New Criticism is firmly established in the vein of Brooks's Southern Review and Ransom's Kenyon Review.

 

1944

Allen Tate serves as editor for two years and has SR sold at Gotham Book Mart in New York City

SR redesigned by P. J. Conkwright, a designer employed by Princeton University Press and frequently honored by the American Institute of Graphic Art; winter 1944 sees the characteristic SR design which prevails today

Tate frequently publishes work by RPW, Peter Taylor, Jean Stafford, Caroline Gordon, Theodore Roethke, William Meredith, Wallace Stevens, Reed Whittemore, Karl Shapiro, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Jacques Maritain, and Marshall McLuhan.

In less than two years he changed its nature decisively, revolutionized its format, quadrupled its circulation, and brought it into the first rank of American literary quarterlies.

—Monroe K. Spears on Allen Tate's editorship

 

1946

John E. Palmer becomes editor

 

1948

Palmer devotes an entire issue to John Crowe Ransom, with contributions by Wallace Stevens, Lytle, Lowell, Brooks, and Howard Nemerov.

 

1952

Monroe K. Spears becomes editor

The Sewanee Review has now reached the status of an institution—by which I mean that if it came to an end, its loss would be something more than merely the loss of one good periodical: it would be a symptom of an alarming decline in the periodical world at its highest level.

—T. S. Eliot (1952)

 

1955

J. A. Bryant, Jr.'s essay "Shakespeare's Allegory: The Winter's Tale" is published in the spring; Bryant taught in the English department at Sewanee and would contribute substantially to the issues on the Renaissance (particularly on Shakespeare, Jonson, and Middleton) over the next three decades.

 

1959

Fall issue devoted to Allen Tate, featuring contributions by Ransom, Davidson, Katherine Anne Porter, Malcolm Cowley, Lowell, Van Doren, Anthony Hecht, T. S. Eliot, Nemerov, Arthur Mizener, Blackmur, J. F. Nims, Wallace Fowlie, and Bryant

 

1961

Andrew Lytle becomes editor in the fall

 

1962

Summer issue devoted to Flannery O'Connor, with essays on her work by Robert Fitzgerald and John Hawkes, and her story, "The Lame Shall Enter First"

Fall issue devoted to Peter Taylor, featuring his story, "At the Drugstore," and essays on his work by Morgan Blum, Brainard Cheney, and Ashley Brown

The Sewanee Review is associated with much that is modern, and was revolutionary, in literature and criticism. Yet it has always maintained high standards of scholarship, and it has been extremely well edited by men entirely free of all the provincialism, temporal and spatial, that beset editors. Where is there a better literary journal in English?

—Frank Kermode (1963)

 

1965

William H. Ralston named associate editor and remains so until 1973

 

1966

Largest volume in SR history (nearly 1,000 pages)

Winter issue devoted to T. S. Eliot

 

1974

George Core becomes editor in winter and remains so today

"Current Books in Review" section is created by Core in the winter issue; shorter reviews are now characteristically published at the beginning of every issue

 

1975

Winter issue devoted to Henry James is the first "thematic issue" of the SR's history, followed by issues on literature of the British Commonwealth, the autobiography, the literature of war, the literature of travel, literature inspired by friends (within and without the world of letters), love, Jane Austen, humor, and the Renaissance

 

1976

Winter issue devoted to Irish letters reprinted upon popular demand, the first and only time in SR history

The Sewanee Review . . . is a magazine based in the South, but it is not a southern magazine. It is not nearly so southern as the VQR, as the Southern Review or the Southern Literary Journal. Since I have been here, I have written a lot about the South myself, but I have published relatively little about the South. It is true that I have published a lot of southern writers, but their subjects often have not been southern at all.

—George Core (1992)

 

1979

Allen Tate dies and is buried in the old cemetery in Sewanee. Robert Buffington, Tate's official biographer, publishes "Young Hawk Circling," the first of several installments on Tate and his work in the SR, leading up to recent volumes

 

1981

Heritage Printers, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, replaces the old university press at Sewanee in producing and distributing the magazine.

 

1985

Establishment of the Aiken Taylor benefaction through the generosity of Dr. K. P. A. Taylor, a younger brother of Conrad Aiken, an annual prize of $10,000, awarded over the years to Howard Nemerov, Richard Wilbur, Anthony Hecht, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maxine Kumin, Wendell Berry, Fred Chappell, Grace Schulman, Frederick Morgan, J. F. Nims, Eleanor Ross Taylor, Brendan Galvin, Anne Stevenson, Donald Hall, Louise Glück, and others.

 

1992

The Centennial of the Sewanee Review

In November the SR celebrates with Helen Norris Bell's reading of "The Love Child"; Shelby Foote's reading of a selection from his monumental Civil War history; a panel discussion with Beverly Jarrett (director of University of Missouri Press), Walter Sullivan, and Louis D. Rubin, Jr.; and a keynote address by George Garrett. Harold McSween and George V. Higgins were present, as were Spears and Lytle. There was also a presentation of Revelation and Other Fiction from the Sewanee Review by William Butler (publisher of Harmony House and a graduate of the university). National attention included coverage by the Associated Press, National Public Radio, and Edmund Fuller's article in the Wall Street Journal.

Core publishes reflections on the SR's centennial by Spears

For a full narrative history of the first 100 years of the SR, see Robert Bradford's excellent article!

 

1995

Andrew Lytle dies in December.

 

1996

Winter issue devoted to the memory of Andrew Lytle

 

1998

Monroe Spears dies in May.

Summer issue dedicated to Spears, featuring contributions by Bryant, Core, and Wyatt Prunty

2001

Spring issue devoted to the book, featuring some of the SR's most prolific contemporary contributors: James Sloan Allen, Cyrus Hoy, Pat C. Hoy II, Michael Mewshaw, Sam Pickering, Sanford Pinsker, Fred C. Robinson, and Cushing Strout

Summer issue: Walter Sullivan publishes a tribute to Eudora Welty, who died earlier in the year

 

2005

Fall issue is the last produced by Heritage Letterpress; the SR leaves for the Johns Hopkins University Press, where it is now electronically produced. It had been the oldest periodical still published by letterpress. The JHUP remains the SR's co-publisher with the University of the South.

Longevity alone does not guarantee virtue, even among Old Testament patriarchs and church fathers. Nevertheless the long life of such a magazine at a small liberal-arts college in the South is nothing short of extraordinary: one is tempted to use the word miraculous, which often sprang to the pens of the early editors when the magazine endured repeated financial crises and prevailed from issue to issue and year to year.

—George Core (1983)

 

2006

Issues of the Sewanee Review from 2007—present are made available online via ProjectMUSE (a subscription service from Johns Hopkins University Press giving electronic and online access to more than 200 journals published by the press)

 

2007

Issues of the Sewanee Review from 1892—2006 are made available online through JSTOR (a government-funded, subscription-based archiving service for publications significant to American culture)

Summer issue devoted to travel, the first of its kind

The Aiken Taylor Internship, offered only to a graduating senior from the University of the South, is instituted through the continued generosity of Dr. K. P. A. Taylor's funding for the Aiken Taylor Award.

 

2008

Fall issue devoted to the works of Jane Austen, one of the most-read issues in recent SR history

 

2009

John E. Palmer dies after having edited the Yale Review for twenty years, and the fall issue is dedicated to him.

 

2010

Spring issue devoted to literature of war, the eighth of its kind in Core's tenure

 

2013

The Sewanee Review blog begins.

 

2014

The Sewanee Review launches its new website.

Brock Adams's essay "Spilt Ink" is posted on the Sewanee Review blog as the first installment of an ongoing series of essays by SR contributors. The publication of this essay marks the first time that the Sewanee Review publishes an original piece exclusively online. The series is named Spilt Ink after its innagural essay.

Take a look at our timeline of significant SR publications and a list of notable contributors!