Wayne Andrews (1913–1987), Archives of American Art Professor at Wayne State University, Michigan, is the author and editor of fifteen books—including Pianos of Sympathy (1936), written under the pseudonym Montague O’Reilly and the very first title published by New Directions. Among his other books is Germain: A Portrait of Madame de Stael.
Fiction by Wayne Andrews
“The menace of surrealism was so frequently advertised that any reader of this book should be allowed the impudence of demanding my credentials.” So opens Wayne Andrews’s The Surrealist Parade, a portrait of the movement in literature and art by a man who, at the age of nineteen, began to correspond with its major figures and afterward came to know them well. Under the name of Montagu O’Reilly, Andrews wrote the surrealist fiction Pianos of Sympathy (1936), the very first New Directions book. In later years, Andrews became a social historian, art archivist, and scholar of architectural history, publishing no less than sixteen books, among them his well-known study of the cultural roots of Nazism, Siegfried’s Curse, and a pungent biography of Voltaire (meanwhile, Montagu O’Reilly had made a reappearance on the ND list in 1948 with Who Has Been Tampering with These Pianos?). When Andrews died in 1987, he had completed all but the last chapter of The Surrealist Parade, his portrait of a movement in art and literature that took in such disparate temperaments as André Breton, Paul Éluard, and Salvador Dalí. The book is, in the words of his lifelong friend and publisher, James Laughlin, a “little insider’s history… Montagu is very much behind Wayne in these caustic yet admiring sketches.”
Available: May 01 1990
Nonfiction by Wayne Andrews
This is a short biography. Its subject, François Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778), would not have objected––he was careful to point out that "the surest way of being a bore is to tell everything." What Wayne Andrews’s Voltaire may lack in laundry lists is made up in wit, learning, and an elegance of style eminently appropriate for an appreciation of a man who was never so ruthless as when eliminating the last trace of dust from his own writing. Indeed, Voltaire was the most successful writer of the eighteenth century. It matters little that his plays are today a lost cause, as is his poetry––the author of Candide and the Age of Louis XIV will always have his audience. His irreverence guarantees his immortality. While stressing Voltaire’s eternal campaign against Christianity and his monumental efforts to effect justice in an autocratic era, Andrews maintains that his primary loyalty was always to himself. The fervent anti-Christian had his firm friends in the Church. The social philosopher courted Catherine the Great with near servility. But, in Victor Hugo’s words: "His smile put an end to violence, his sarcasm put an end to despotism, his irony put an end to infallibility, his perseverance put an end to stubbornness, and the truth he proclaimed put an end to ignorance."