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The Green Room, Autumn 1977


ISSUE:  Autumn 1977

Richard M. Nixon is still very much in the eyes—though hardly the hearts—of his countrymen. Having presented his version of the Watergate scandal on television with David Frost, the former President is now completing his memoirs, which few expect will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet, as John Seelye points out, embellished autobiographies are a great American tradition going back to the times of the Puritans. A professor of English at the University of North Carolina and prolific author, Mr. Seelye published Dirty Tricks in 1974, which was an Algerish revision of Nixon’s childhood (as Nick Noxin).”I think Nixon is best viewed as a phenomenon of the mythic sort,” Mr. Seelye writes.”Who knows or really cares about his putative homosexual or oedipal urges? He is a figure of pure art. Or artfulness. . . . What we need between Nixon and ourselves is not the TV screen but bars. Nothing else will suffice. And it won’t ever happen, so Nixon will remain amongst us, a perpetual case of juris interruptus.”

The Nixon years were marked by a growth in what has come to be called “neo-conservatism,” a development analyzed by James A. Nuechterlein, an American citizen holding the rank of associate professor in the History Department of Queen’s College in Canada. Mr. Neuchtehlein is “strongly attracted to neo-conservatism: in political terms, it goes beyond the free market fetishism and narrow identification with the business interests of traditional American conservatism without lapsing into the sentimentality that pervades so much of the left.”

The son and grandson of newspaper publishers, Ward Just was to journalism born. But after a distinguished career as a correspondent for Newsweek in Washington and Europe and later for the Washington Post in Vietnam, Mr. Just succeeded in making the difficult jump from reportorial to creative writing. His works of fiction include The Man Who Loved Flaubert and Other Stories, Stringer, and Nicholson at Large. He has a new novel due out next spring.

In the days before the civil rights movement, many Americans considered the South to be as solid in thought as it was segregated in practice. Yet there were always exceptions, two of them being James McBride Dabbs and Walter Hines Page. The career of Mr. Dabbs is considered by Fred Hobson and that of Mr. Page by John Milton Cooper, Jr.

An associate professor of English at the University of Alabama, Mr. Hobson is working on a book about Southern “self-examination and self-explanation,” of which the Dabbs article will be a part. Mr. Hobson is a native North Carolinian, who holds a Ph. D. from the University of North Carolina. He is a former editorial writer for the Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel and is the author of Serpent in Eden: H. L. Mencken and the South.

John Milton Cooper, Jr. is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, who received his Ph. D. degree from Columbia University. His essay on Page forms the introduction to a new biography of the North Carolina journalist and ambassador, which the University of North Carolina Press will publish this fall. Mr. Cooper is also the author of The Vanity of Power: American Isolationism and the First World War, 1914—1917 and editor of Causes and Consequences of the First World War. In Mr. Cooper’s opinion, Mr. Page ranks along with Josephus Daniels and Thomas Wolfe as one of the three great North Carolinians “to come from the state since the Civil War.”

Seventeen years after his death, Jules Supervielle ranks in France as one of the great French poets of modern times, yet he is little known in this country. His art matured late—he was nearly 40 when his first important book of poetry appeared—but he was prolific, with 20 books of poetry, nine of short and long fiction, and six plays. The poems translated by Geoffrey Gardner were taken from Supehvielle’s Gravitations, published in 1925 but never before published in English. Mr. Gardner’s translations have appeared in numerous magazines, including The American Poetry Review.

Like Supervielle, Donald Purviance was also nearly 40 when he began writing full time. Until 1975 he worked for the Internal Revenue Service. He resigned from the IRS to study at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The idea for his VQR story “occurred when I uncovered the Japanese gas mask my father had brought home from the war. When I pondered the stitched characters on the case, I was moved by the realization that the man who’d carried the device never returned to his home. . .and I copied the name “Yoshio” from the nearby mailbox of a Japanese graduate student.”

While Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. began his studies of Alfred Tennyson as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in the late 1940’s and later continued them at Harvard and the University of Virginia, his work was interrupted for 15 years. The reason: he was named the youngest president in the University of Virginia’s history in 1959 and served until 1974.Thus only recently has he been able to resume his association with the Victorian Poet Laureate.

John Allen Quintus is a native of Northern Virginia and graduate of the University of North Carolina and the University of Delaware, where he earned a Ph. D. In addition to being an authority on Oscar Wilde, Mr. Quintus has been quite a world traveler. Between 1974 and 1976, he taught around the world on U. S. Navy ships in the Navy’s Program for Afloat College Education. Currently, this peripatetic professor is teaching in Saudi Arabia at the University of Petroleum and Minerals.

Charles Simic’s sixth book of poems, Charon’s Cosmology, was published last spring. Mr. Simic teaches at the University of New Hampshire, is a native of Yugoslavia, and holds an Edgar Allan Foe Award for poetry.

Mark Rudman, an editor of the magazine Pequod, has published poems recently in Southern Review, Atlantic Monthly, and The American Poetry Review.

Quentin Vest teaches at Longwood College in Virginia and received his Ph. D. from Vanderbilt University.

Thomas Lux’s most recent book of poems was The Glassblower’s Breath, published last year. He currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Counselor at the Alcoholism Treatment Center in Charlottesville, Sanford Lyne is also a poet, whose latest poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review.

Having received his Ph. D. from the University of Virginia last spring, Hank Lazer began his teaching career at the University of Alabama in the late summer. Several of his poems have appeared previously in VQR, and a manuscript of his work is now circulating among publishers.

David St. John is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first book of poems, Hush, appeared in 1976. He is a member of the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.

Lawrence Raab has published two books of poems, Mysteries of the Horizon and most recently The Collector of Cold Weather. He teaches at Williams College.

A versatile writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, Anne Hobson Freeman is a housewife (in Richmond) and teacher (at the University of Virginia) as well. She has published poetry and criticism in VQR previously, but “At the Museum” is her first short story to appear in the magazine.

Florence Chanock Cohen became acquainted with the plight of the Bedouin Arabs in Israel when she and her husband spent a year there during his sabbatical leave in 1972—73.”Surely,” she notes, “the predicament of Bedouins has been neglected, and it’s rare when anything is written about them. It’s hard for me to understand that neglect when there is not a more exotic or more ancient people in the world who are in such transition of change and readjustment.”

Nell Irvin Painter is the author of a highly praised work, Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction, which appeared last winter. An associate professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, she is now writing a biography of Hosea Hudson, a black Communist in the Deep South.

J. D. O’hara is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut and a critic whose work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times, The Nation, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Paul Roazen is the author of Freud: Political and Social Thought, Brother Animal: The Story of Freud and Tausk, Freud and His Followers, Erik H. Erikson: The Power and Limits of a Vision, and editor of Sigmund Freud. He is a professor of political and social science at York University in Toronto.

George Core is editor of The Sewanee Review and has long been interested in the works of Patrick White.

Suzette Henke teaches English at the University of Virginia, is author of Joyce’s Moraculous Sindbook: A Study of “Ulysses,” and is presently editing a collectioi of original essays on Joyce’s women characters.

David Gates is a poet, critic, and authority on such modern writers as Beckett and Donald Barthelme.

Virginia la Charité is a professor of French at the University of Kentucky, with a special interest in the poetry of René Char.

Charles B. Dew teaches Southern history at the University of Missouri and is preparing a biographical study of a group of slave ironworkers who lived in Virginia in the 18th and 19th centuries.

VQR is happy to announce that Gregory Orr, one of the nation’s foremost young poets, has become the magazine’s poetry consultant. As such, Mr. Orr will be responsible for deciding what poems are published in the magazine. He is the author of Gathering the Bones Together and Burning the Empty Nests. In a combined review of the two works which appeared in 1975, critic Howard Schwartz concluded, “when compared to his peers and many older poets, Orr is certainly to be reckoned among the best.”

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsWilliam S. WeedonJ. C. LevensonRobert Jennings HarrisW. W. AbbotRoger ShattuckIan StevensonJ. Harvie Wilkinson, IIIElisabeth R. Aaron, Business Manager

A National Journal of Literature and Discussion published since 1925 in January, April, July, and October. Subscription rates: one year, $7.00; two years, $12.00; three years, $15.00. Canadian postage, 50 cents a year; foreign postage, $1 a year. Single copies, $2.00. Title page and annual index available in November.

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