Of all of Thomas Jefferson’s myriad of interests, none was more profound and lasting than what Robert A. Ferguson calls his “lifelong obsession” with Monticello. Jefferson began construction of the house on the “Little Mountain” in 1768 and left the house unfinished more than half a century later at his death in 1826. Mr. Ferguson recounts this long involvement in his VQR essay.
Robert A. Ferguson is George Edward Woodberry Professor in the Department of English and the Law School at Columbia University. His books include Law and Letters in American Culture and The American Enlightenment, 1750-1820. He is currently completing a study on courtrooms entitled The Trial in American Life.
Panthea Reid is the author of Art and Affection: A Life of Virginia Woolf (Oxford), which won the annual South Atlantic Modern Language Association Best Book Award and was named among the best academic books of 1997 by Choice. Reid’s recent Woolf-related publications appear in the Virginia Woolf Miscellany (Fall 1997 and Spring 1998), Biography (June 1998), Virginia Woolf & Her Influences (Pace, 1998), and Colliers’ Encyclopedia. Reid’s recent Faulkner publications appear in The Faulkner journal, IV; Faulkner and the Artist (UMP, 1996); Approaches to Teaching Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” (MLA, 1996); and American Literature (1998). Under the name Panthea Reid Broughton, she is the author of William Faulkner: The Abstract and the Actual (Louisiana, 1974). Reid is a professor of English at Louisiana State University and is working on a biography of Tillie Olsen.
Beauvais McCaddon made her debut as a published short story writer with the appearance of “The Bird Collection” in the autumn 1993 issue of VQR. Her stories have since appeared in Quarterly West, Sundog, Micro Fiction, The Crescent Review, and New Stories from the South, The Year’s Best, 1997.
Ira M. Lechner served as a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1974 to 1978. He later ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor of Virginia in 1977 and 1981. He was also a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 10th congressional district of Virginia in 1982. He is an Attorney of Counsel to Katz and Ranzman in Washington, D.C.A graduate of Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, he has also served as a member of its board of trustees, as vice-chairman, chairman of the academic affairs committee, and chairman of the development committee. He is a nationally elected member of the Council On Higher Education Accreditation, a former member of the U.S. Army JAG Corps, and a 1958 graduate of Yale Law School.
Howard Segal is Bird and Bird Professor of History at the University of Maine in Orono. He is an historian of technology and culture who came into the field through dissertation research on what was later his first book, Technological Utopianism in American Culture (Chicago, 1985). His later works include Technology in America: A Brief History (Harcourt Brace, 1989, 2nd ed. 1999) (no;) and a coauthored pioneering survey, Future Imperfect: The Mixed Blessings of Technology in America (Massachusetts, 1994). Mr. Segal writes that he would have never entered the field of the history of technology without the support of the subject of his VQR essay, the late Melvin Kranzberg.
R. T. Smith is editor of Shenandoah magazine, a quarterly published by Washington & Lee University. He has a collection of selected poems forthcoming, Split the Lark, to be published by Salmon Press in Ireland. He lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia.
A recipient of a 1998 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Literature, J.C. Todd has poems published in The Paris Review, Puerta del Sol, and The Beloit Poetry Journal and forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. Her most recent chapbook is Nightshade from Pine Press.
Mary Leader, formerly a lawyer in Oklahoma City, now teaches at Louisiana State University. Her book Red Signature was published recently by Graywolf Press, and she has poems appearing in Denver Quarterly, Salmagundi, and elsewhere.
Robert Morgan teaches at Cornell. His novel, The Truest Pleasure, which was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the best hooks of 1995, is being reprinted as a paperback by Algonquin Books. He has new poems appearing in Shenandoah and The Atlantic Monthly. His short story, “The Balm of Gilead Tree” was included in the 1997 O. Henry Prize Stories.
Dennis Sampson is a visiting professor in the English department at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. His latest book, Forgiveness, was published by Milkweed Press, and in the spring of 1999, Carnegie-Mellon will publish his new book, Constant Longing.
Chana Bloch is director of the Creative Writing Program at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her most recent book, Mrs. Dumpty, was chosen by Donald Hall for the Felix Pollak Prize of the University of Wisconsin Press and will be published by them this year. She is also the translator of collections by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai and of The Song of Songs.
Peter Cooley is a member of the English department at Tulane University. His 6th and latest collection is Sacred Conversations, published this year by Carnegie-Mellon University Press.
Jesse Lee Kerchevai, teaches at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her collection, World As Dictionary, will be published by Carnegie-Mellon next spring.
A resident of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and frequent VQR contributor, Michael Chitwood is the author of The Weave Room, a book published last year by Chicago.
Louis B. Zimmer is Professor Emeritus of history from Montclair State University. He is a John Stuart Mill scholar and his essays have appeared in The Journal of British Studies, The Historian, MetaPhilosophy, The Mill News Letter and other similar journals. Mr. Zimmer has a Ph. D. degree from New York University, his dissertation having been a study of Mill’s brief career in parliament examined in the light of his political and moral philosophy. “My second career,” Mr. Zimmer writes, “is a complete departure from Mill studies: I am now working on a book about the politics of the Vietnam War.”
Peter La Salle is a member of the English faculty at the University of Texas in Austin. He is the author of a novel, Strange Sunlight, and two short story collections, The Graves of Famous Writers and Hockey Sur Glace, the latter of which has just been released in audiobook form by Recorded Books. Mr. La Salle has contributed to a number of magazines and anthologies, including Paris Review, Antioch Review, Ohio Review, and Georgia Review. His stories have been selected for Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards.
After receiving his Ph. D. degree in English from the University of Virginia, David H. Lynn joined the English faculty at Kenyon College. He subsequently became editor of The Kenyon Review, a post he retains. A short story writer as well as an editor, Mr. Lynn recently published a collection, Fortune Telling, which launched a new series from Carnegie-Mellon Press. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in India during 1995—96.
Roberta Silman is the author of Blood Relations, a story collection, and three novels, Boundaries, The Dream Dredger, and Beginning the World Again. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Redbook, McCall’s, and many other magazines and anthologies here and abroad. She has just completed a story collection called Heart-work and is working on a new novel. Ms. SILMAN is also the author of Somebody Else’s Child which won the Child Study Association Award for the best children’s book in 1977. Several of her short stories have won national awards.
A native West Virginian, John McNeel is a retired editor who worked on several publications in New York and its suburbs including two trade magazines, a trade newspaper, and two suburban weekly newspapers. He was managing editor at Weekly Reader, a newspaper for children in grades kindergarten through eighth, and was science editor of Popular Mechanics in the 1960’s. As is evident from his VQR essay, he served with the U.S. Army in Africa and later in Italy, France, and Germany in World War II.
Martin C. Battestin retired as Keenan Professor of English at the University of Virginia last May. He holds a Ph. D. degree from Princeton University and has taught there as well as at Rice and Wesleyan University. A renowned authority on the English 18th-century author, Henry Fielding, he is the author of Henry Fielding: A Life, which is considered the definitive biography of the great novelist.
John Portmann is a member of the staff of the Office of Career Planning and Placement at the University of Virginia, where he received a Ph. D. degree in Philosophical and Religious Ethics. He also holds a B.A. degree from Yale University and an M.Phil. from Cambridge University in England.
Mark Saunders holds a B. A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. degree in fiction from the University of Virginia where he was a Hoyns Fellow. His story, “Preservation,” appeared in the last issue of VQR. He lives in Charlottesville with his wife, daughter, and son.
The prolific Sanford Pinsker is a long-time VQR contributor whose most recent article was about Stanley Crouch, “Our Black American Mencken.” He is a professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College and author of Worrying About Race, 1985—95: Reflections During a Troubled Time published by Whitstone in 1996.
Chairman of the department of history at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania, Jack Fischel was coeditor of Jewish American History and Culture, an encyclopedia published in 1992 by Garland. He is coeditor of Holocaust Studies Annual and author of The Holocaust, a book published by Greenwood Press last April.
Cover photo credit: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation/Monticello
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