Identified individuals are represented by a biographical sketch, a list of connections to other signatures, and, in most cases, an artifact from the Ransom Centers collections. Help us identify more signatures by submitting your suggested identification.
BEN RAY REDMAN
Writer, editor, and critic, Ben Ray Redman (1896-1961) was described upon his death as a debonair gentleman-scholar type, an authentic bookman who was born for a part in a Noel Coward play. A prolific writer of book reviews, he contributed pieces to the New York Times, Harper's, and the American Mercury, and conducted his own column devoted to reprints, "Old Wine in New Bottles," in the New York Herald-Tribune. Additionally, Redman was a long-time contributor to the Saturday Review of Literature and was close to its founders Henry Seidel Canby, William Rose Benét, Amy Loveman, and Christopher Morley. Over the course of his career Redman also worked in film and edited and published books. In early August of 1961, Redman overdosed on sleeping pills after telling his wife that he was despondent over world affairs.
Two Letters from James Branch Cabell to Ben Ray Redman, 2 May 1922 and 21 June 1922
These two letters show the interaction between writer and critic. Redman wrote numerous pieces on Cabell, including a playful article for the Reviewer titled "Bülg the Forgotten" which addressed the influence of the Cabell-invented "Gottfried Johannes Bülg" on the author's writing. The "Lineage" referred to in the correspondence is Cabell's Lineage of Lichfield, a work of invented genealogy. "Rascoe" is critic Burton Rascoe (1892-1957), whose column "A Bookman's Day Book" was appearing in the New York Tribune at that time. Cabell's reference to pornography is significant since the plates for his novel Jurgen (1919) had been seized by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and the book was subjected to a lengthy obscenity trial before being exonerated in 1922.