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UT QUARTERLY SEARCHING; NEEDS FOCUS Quarterly and the pitfalls it faces. The promise: editorship under an enlightened man who will shape the magazine without preconceptions. The pitfalls: too much editorial open-mindedness, receptivity, and charity. Bias, even prejudice, sometimes makes for the astringent selectivity which is the essence of good editorship. It is too early to enter more than tentative criticism of the Texas Quarterly. This is massive machinery Ransom is trying to get into motion, and the full flow of material is yet to come. Therefore it is with a sense of only interim appraisal that we now say that the magazine looks like it needs editorial tightening, more focus, more realization, that simply because an article touches on or in some way involves a given subject, it is not necessarily qualified to be included in a “study” or “survey” of that subject. Further, that because you ask a worthy fellow \(even a worthy literticle you are not necessarily bound to run it, or run it verbatim. Editors are to cut and shape and to reject. If a magazine leads its readers into thinking they will find a certain depth of investigation, a certain complexity of cogitation or artistic expression, that magazine is impolite and slightly traitorous to submit the readers to chug holes of superficiality. By the same token if a publication purports by general appearance to be a matter for generally enlightened consumption, and then throws in technical treatises or scholarly reports, reading it is like Over at the Observer office I turned on the fan and looked out the window next to my desk, out on the confusion of bushes and weeds and underbrush. I saw the big bloated spider, a bachelor spider who shares this simple vista with me and has more nasty black legs than he knows what to do with, right in the act of bring= ing a roach home for lunch. The roach was still alive and squirming, and when the bachelor spider started to dismember him, silently, slowly, with suppressed anticipation, the roach protested wildly, kicking and wriggling in his pain. I wondered if his pain, his roach-pain, was like the pain we folks further on up the scale feel, and I wanted to feel what he was feeling, for a moment, for a flashjust curiosity, Anyway, he must’ve known he was a goner now, because he stopped kicking and I guess started getting ready to meet his Maker. Down at the southern end of the web there were other, or former roaches, who flapped a little in the breeze because they had no insides whatever, having lost them some time ago. About that moment a redbird flew up and stopped on a limb and looked at the spider and the roach, and maybe pondered making a meal of both, except that my bachelor spider friend looks so damned mean, especially at meal time. The redbird poised on the brink of something Darwin said and then looked up at me looking out at him. He blinked at me once or twice and I could see the curse forming on his lips, and when I shook my fist at him he left. I typed some things and then. started clipping the Texas Press, which is an astounding occupation, since there is always something, sometimes a news story Now the Spring issue of the Quarterly is not an “issue on the South” but rather has some articles and features on the South in it. Some are definitive and probing, some are dragged in by the heels. The lead article is a warning from Walter Prescott Webb for the South to accept integration and leave the Republicans alone. Dr. Webb urges that the South not be diverted by a dead issue but accept the role it has as the “No. 1 economic opportunity” for the next 50 years, and to think about the problems in making the most of this opportunity. \(Obs Another look at the modern South is provided by Otis Singletary, who sees the qualities of an ominous, stubborn, and possibly explosive clot in the South’s segregation oriented sectionalism. Singletary says the South has not changed its folkways as much as some people think. Singletary suggests the interesting idea that the Southerner, of all Americans, “alone possesses the haunting knowledge that the rest of his countrymen must yet learn through bitter experience: that defeat is really possible. … Because of this knowledge, the Southerner can never be a typical American; experience and tradition have made him incapable hidden in the back or an editorial or a letter to the editor that shakes you up with a violence. But fortunately this time I ran across a column by N. V. Peale comparing the game of life to the game of baseball. His advice is move! keep moving! never throw clown that bat! So I started moving and went out to get a pimento cheese sandwich and a coke and heard a few people sitting around the lunch counter talking about baseball. A basic confusion or lack of control over what to put in. an issue about the South is illustrated by a series of pictures taken on Austin’s East Sixth Street by Hans Beacham. They remind one of race-conscious documentations of the “real South” that came out in the thirties: “the \(quotes all ble, seamed faces” … “pathetic ironic juxtaposition of signs which say `BAR,”Dr. S. B. Satchell, The Great Healer,’ and ‘New Look Beauty Salon.'” These are not just there as pictures \(as such, but as pictures about the South. Kind of an. automatic reflex: Southpoor people pictures … their hands … their faces. So much for the South, except to mention that there’s a good poem of agrarian moodiness by Theodore Weiss, “The Generations,” and a fine little reminiscence by Allen Winston, which is about the North as much as the South, We’ve mentioned all this and still haven’t taken note of, say, half the book. The balance is filled out with the Quarterly’s first fiction, a creditable, opaque toned opus called “The Old Place,” by Mavis Gallant; a very worthy supplement consisting of poems by George Garrett, who writes in a fresh pared-down idiomatic style \(Illustrations by Jo Alys Downs; supplement, “The Sleeping Gypsy And Other Poems,” to of articles. A translation of part of The Unnamable, by Samuel Beckett appears: it is the tormented monologue of a deaf mute who is partially blind and totally incapable of movement. One of the most substantial pieces is written by philosophy professor Frederick Ginascol, who argues convincingly that religion and philosophy \(or “rational” forms of experience, that there is a place for both, that to deny one or the other is to live in either an abyss of blind emotionalism or limited symbolism. Complementary in turn to Ginascol’s article is a good piece by William J. Handy, who points to how certain human values, percepts, can only be expressed by art. There is, we might add in closing, a pretty technical non-technical article by L. M. Milne-Thomson which gives a theory of water waves. A sign in front of the home of Mrs. Alvis Ballew of 3116 Pecos Street in Fort Worth has been removed after it caused alarm in the all-white neighborhood. The sign said: “Place for SaleColored O.K.” Glen Crest Civic League President C. R. Bradley said he received a large number of calls about the sign. “I think she was threatening to sell the house to Negroes because of a neighborhood argument,” he said. Mrs. Ballew said she might not sell the house to Negroes if neighbors would “leave me alone.” A next door neighbor said Mrs. Ballew had been reported to authorities for building a structure without a permit and for raising dogs in her back yard. IT A 17-year-old boy, Eddie Gene Thomas, of Denison, was blasted by a 20-gauge shotgun while raiding a watermelon patch with three friends. He , died later in the hospital, although physicians reported none of the shot struck a vital organ or could have caused death. Charged with murder is W. C. Parker, 67, who was lying in wait near his watermelons. Young Thomas’ father told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “A man who was at the scene of the shooting told me and my son that Parker walked up to Eddie where he was laying on the ground and said ‘There’s one s.o.b. who won’t raid a watermelon patch again’. Those other boys ran and Parkernow this is my idea had plenty of opportunity to take that gun butt and use it on his head.” If George Carmack, editor of the Houston Press, speculating on the effect of the coming of Alaska on “this bewhiskered gag about things Texan,” writes in his column: “If the Texas joke doesn’t die, we have our own selves to blame for it. There are still here in Texas a few newspapermen, a few radio and TV commentators, a few professional public speakers, and a few self-considered humorists, who still consider it an important part of their stock in trade. The Texas joke is about as out of date as it is possible for anything to be, and its use is the symbol of a trite mind.” Page 6 August 1, 1958 The Texas Quarterly, edited by Dr. Harry H. Ransom; The University of Texas Press, Vol. 1, Number 2, $1.00. AUSTIN The Texas Quarterly is ambitious, searching. It is planning to come out August 22 with an issue carrying five or six articles on Russia, including a novella by Richard Elman of Brooklyn, “A Coat For The Tsar.” When asked if a certain story might fit the publication, a worker told me: “We’d have to see it. We have no rules, we keep it fluid. We’re always looking for good stuff … it’s still experimental. And it’s strictly Dr. Ransom’s baby. He improvises right up to the last minute.” Editor Harry Ransom’s ideas are echoed in his letter-from-theeditor type department, “Arts & Sciences,” in the front of the Spring issue: discussing the rigidities and possible hypocrisies of the academic mind that insists on some fixed relationship between teaching and research, he says: “… the dynamics of a university must come from differences from differences which keep changing and which can be adjusted only temporarily. Whatever a university attains must be attained in this changing variety of opinion, conviction, hypothesis, and proof … Recognition of these conditions does not require the proclamation of easy relativism or mere anarchy. It leads, almost invariably, to consideration of cases.” This statement of principle encloses both the promise of the AUSTIN The other morning I got up fairly early and had some tomato juice with ice cubes in it and thought that life doesn’t amount to very much. Besides, the tomato juice tasted like gin. I got in the car and drove up Lamar Blvd. There _must’ve been a body in Weed and Corley Funeral Home, because people were parking there and several were walking inside. The sun was hot, and in the shade of some berry trees a skinny old man sat next to the flowers he was trying to sell, and they looked dusty and withered, like the old man. On Radio 59, the new touch in radio, they were playing some really tremendous pop tunes and selling things and giving spot summaries ed. the war news. An announcer was telling how they give the weather 75 times a day, and then he told about King Creole by Pressley, which he said is now fourteenth of course. There was horse manure in the street and a couple of Negroes were shoveling it up, putting it in a truck. In an Olds stopped at a traffic light a woman slapped hell out of her kid, and when I snarled at her as I passed she was so surprised she didn’t even respond. Then there was a breeze, and it was hot and prickly, like whiskers. A big fat woman furtively picked her nose in front of the HEB Food Store. The sun shone on the tops of the cars and off the sides of the buildings and on the streets and gave the morning a kind of implacable glare; it glared up at you and the heat waves rolled up at you, everything all yellow and bedazzled. It was election morning and the People were going into Wooldridge School to make their Choices. I remembered our democracy and was glad. visiting a salon where the host starts talking about engines. ‘On the South’ Winston Bode A Roach, A Spider, and A Swim One Fine Election Day A little while later, in the hottest part of the afternoon, I moved out to Deep Eddy and took a swim. I gritted my teeth and lowered myself into the cold, clear water, and the feel of it was a little painful and pleasing and unusual. I certainly appreciated having a body, and enjoyed the gentle embracing coolness right along with my fine collection of nerve-ends. I looked up at the tall green oak trees and they waved in the breeze and looked old. In the shade of them a tall blond girl was drying herself with a towel; she stretched in the sun and then lay sensuously, drugged, on the grass. A man with flesh that bulged and pouted sat on a bench smoking a cigar, and a little Mexican boy frightened his mother by threatening to do something he ought not do on the concrete steps. I got out and lay for a while in the drowsy warmth. An hour later when I came back to the office I went to the window. I looked out and saw the dead roaches caught in the bottom of the web. There was one more of them now; disembowelled he was not nearly so handsome. Empty, brittle, hanging crazily there, he was a sad thing, not much good anymore. WILLIE MORRIS of generating that peculiar optimism which leads most Americans to assume that they are exempt from the fates of other people and other nations, that they are somehow immune from the inexorable processes of history.” Writing on the literature of the South, Louis D. Rubin, Jr., points out that lack of concentration on individuals has left us with no real Civil War protagonist who “can exemplify and embody the South at war …” No Southern counterpart to Tolstoy’s Bezukhov in War And Peace, says Rubin. Another literary evaluation from modern perspective comes in Nancy Hale’s provocative examination of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Miss Hale tries out a Freudian interpretation of Mrs. Stowe’s creation, suggesting that what the Victorian novelist really wanted was the liberation of her Id \(equated here with the Negro, symbol of the “voice of Victorian conscience,” you see, flagellates the Id.