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The Green Room, Spring 1991


ISSUE:  Spring 1991

The long, distinguished career of George F. Kennan began in December 1926 when he joined the Foreign Service. Even now in the twilight of his life, Mr. Kennan continues to be a presence in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, in some respects, he could be considered the conscience of U.S. diplomacy, poking and prodding it to retain its discipline, its dedication, and its devotion to what is the best and brightest of American traditions. In so being, Mr. Kennan has been one of the most prolific American thinkers ever to ponder the rights and wrongs, the paths and pitfalls involved in the conduct of foreign policy. As such, as political scientist David Mayers noted in a recent letter to VQR, “Mr. Kennan’s work and writings offer “important lessons” for post Cold War America.” Mr. Mayers examines those lessons in his discussion of Mr. Kennan’s ideas about politics and external affairs.

David Mayers received his B. A. degree from Oberlin College in 1974 and his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in 1979. He teaches political science at Boston University and is the author of Cracking the Monolith: U.S. Policy Against the Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1949—1955 published by Louisiana in 1986 and George Kennan and the Dilemmas of US Foreign Policy published by Oxford in 1988. He also co-edited another book Reevaluating Eisenhower: American Foreign Policy in the 1950’s brought out by Illinois in 1987. He is now working on a book entitled Reporting from Moscow: American Diplomats and Policy toward the Soviet Union, which will be published by Oxford upon its completion. Mr. Mayers recently completed a tour as a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, California.

Generally regarded as the dean of Southern literary critics, Louis Rubin has dedicated his prolific career to evaluating the mind of the South. It is therefore fitting that he should reflect upon the book by the same name in this, the 50th year of its publication. In a recent letter accompanying his latest VQR essay, Mr. Rubin commented:

“You know, the first essay I ever published in a magazine not of my own editing was a review essay on Cash—in the Sewanee Review in 1954, when the first paperback appeared. I couldn’t even find a copy to see how the present assessment matched up. I’m sure I didn’t identify this “Southern community” business; that came to me only in the course of writing this piece.”

Mr. Rubin is also in the course of completing a book of familiar essays to be published by the Atlantic Monthly Press later this year. Now a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill he continues to oversee the operations of Algonquin Books, a publishing house he founded. Mr. Rubin’s own books include The Far Away Country: Writers in the Modern South.

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan is a poet by profession and recently completed her second collection of poems while working in the Nancy Hale Studio at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts located near Sweet Briar College. Her first collection of poetry, Parties, was published by Louisiana State. She resides in Richmond, where she teaches poetry at St. Catherine’s School. “Economics” is her first try at publishing fiction and a successful one at that.

Patricia Rowe Willrich is well qualified to write about the work of novelist, short-story writer, and environmentalist Wallace Stegner since she received her B.A. and M.A. degrees at Stanford University, where Stegner taught a creative writing course for many years. Mrs. Willrich has also studied literature at the University of Virginia and Princeton University. She is a board member of the Associates of the Stanford University Libraries and a lecturer on contemporary American fiction writers including Saul Bellow, Truman Capote, Ann Beattie, Annie Dillard, and Raymond Carver. She has worked with the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the University Art Museum at Princeton University, and the Bayly Museum of the University of Virginia. She serves as a leader for literary discussion groups and as a consultant for book groups or clubs.

Nancy Brandwein received her B.A. degree in English from the University of Virginia a decade ago and now lives and works in New York, where she writes poetry, draws cartoons, and works in publishing.

Len Roberts is on a Guggenheim this year. Translations of his from the Hungarian were featured in a recent issue of American Poetry Review. He is a previous contributor to VQR’s poetry section.

A recent graduate of the MFA program at Warren Wilson College near Ashville, North Carolina, Michael Lauchlan lives and works in Detroit.

Sandra Nelson has published her poetry in numerous magazines, among the most recent being North American Review, Iowa Review, Hawaii Review, Sojourner, Poetry East, and Yankee.

A resident of St. Helena, California, Judith Rose has published poems in several small periodicals, including Chomouri, Blind Date, and Whiskey Island. Her short story, “Pray 4 Me,” received an AWP Intro Award. It was published in the fall 1990 issue of The Iowa Review.

Neal Bowers teaches at Iowa State University, where he edits Poet & Critic. He has poems in recent issues of Poetry, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, and The American Scholar. His new collection, Night Vision, is due shortly from Bookmark Press.

Stephen Perry’s poetry was recently featured on the annual Arts Alive program as part of the video cable broadcasts from California State University at Long Beach. Mr. Perry lives in Los Angeles and has published poetry in the Sewanee Review, Denver Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, and numerous other magazines.

Jeanne Schinto published her first collection of stories called Shadow Bands with the Ontario Review Press in 1988. Her first novel, Children of Men, was published by Persea Books/George Braziller last year and this year the same publisher will bring out her second collection of stories, of which “Cautionary Verses for Children” is a part. Ms. Schinto lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

After receiving her Ph.D. degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia, Susan M. Schultz began her teaching career at the College of William & Mary. She has since become a member of the English Department at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, where, in a letter written last November, she commented, “Here we’ve arrived at the rainy season; it’s almost chilly. My students have taken to wearing long sweaters and coats (it’s still in the low 80’s).” Ms. Schultz has been a consistent contributor to the poetry section of VQR’s Notes On Current Books.

A critic and fiction writer, Greg Johnson is a member of the faculty at Kennesaw State College outside Atlanta and holds a Ph. D. degree in American Literature from Emory University. He is the author of two volumes of literary criticism as well as short fiction and poetry. His third book, a short story collection entitled Distant Friends, was issued last fall by the Ontario Review Press.

Carol Ascher is the author of The Flood, a novel published in 1987, and Simone de Beauvoir: A Life of Freedom, a critical study which came out in 1981. She was the co-editor of Between Women: Biographers, Novelists, Critics, Teachers and Artists Write about Women, a work which appeared in 1984. She has received three PEN/NEA Syndicated Short Fiction awards and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Her essays have been published in such periodicals as The Nation, The New fork Times, and The Village Voice. Both her stories and essays have been widely anthologized.

An American residing in Hellerup, Denmark, Thomas E. Kennedy is the author of Crossing Borders, a novel published last September by Watermark Press, and a short story collection, A Berlin of the Mind, to be published this year. His stories have appeared in some 30 or 40 journals and anthologies, most recently in American Fiction 1, The Literary Review, and Pushcart Prize XV. He is married to a Danish physician, and together they have translated the work of numerous contemporary Danish writers. Mr. Kennedy also serves as a European Editor of Cimarron Review.

A frequent VQR contributor, Sanford Pinsker is a member of the English Department at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. He is spending this year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Salamanca in Spain.

David Wyatt is also a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is the author of The Fall into Eden: Landscape and Imagination in California, a part of the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series which was originally published in 1986 and reissued in a paper edition by Cambridge this past February. His most recent book, published last fall by Cambridge, was New Essays on Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Deborah E. McDowell received her Ph. D. degree from Purdue University. She was a member of the English faculty at Colby College before joining the University of Virginia, where she is now an associate professor of English. She has served as a visiting professor at Duke University and is the author of Slavery and the Literary Imagination.

Paul Roazen is a professor of political and social science at York University in Toronto and the author of Encountering Freud: The Politics and Histories of Psychoanalysis. Mr. Roazen is also a frequent VQR reviewer.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsRichard M. RortyJ.C. LevensonG. Edward WhitePatricia Meyer SpacksKenneth W. ThompsonCharlee Pawlina, Business Manager

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