The Georgia Review, the University of Georgia’s acclaimed literary magazine, is being feted on its 70th anniversary with an exhibit at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries through May 12.
“Necessary Words & Images” illustrates the history of The Georgia Review from its 1947 inception as a small regional magazine to its maturation as one of the country’s leading literary journals. The story is told through correspondence and other archival material from the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library and from the Review’s archives.
In 1986 and again in 2007, the Review bested other finalists such as the New Yorker, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, and the Atlantic to win a National Magazine Award.
The Georgia Review was founded in 1947 by John Donald Wade and then-president of UGA Harmon Caldwell to remedy what they perceived to be a loss of "intellectual vitality" among Georgia's college graduates. Wade's vision for the magazine relied heavily on the principles of the Vanderbilt Agrarians, emphasizing regional and rural values. After more than two decades as a regional magazine, The Georgia Review took two sudden turns within a span of five years. These changes—from a regional magazine to an academic journal to a literary quarterly—prompted mixed reactions.
Literary gatherings have played a big role in the Review’s history. Regional programing has always been a priority, from the 1956 authors’ reception to the 2016 “Fall Lit Ball.” Two such gatherings were “Roots in Georgia: A Literary Symposium” in 1985 and “The Pulitzer Legacy in Georgia” in 2008. When Atlanta was chosen to host the Olympic Games and the Cultural Olympics, editor Stanley Lindberg conceived and realized a plan to convene all 16 living winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature for three days of readings and discussion. This enormous task, nearly four years in the planning, resulted in the April 1995 “The Nobel Laureates of Literature: An Olympic Gathering.”
Correspondence with authors, edited manuscripts, photographs, and examples of how technology has changed the process from manuscript submission, through editing, and into publication, round out the exhibit.