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The Green Room, Spring 2001


ISSUE:  Spring 2001

“China’s never really been out of my mind since I first went there ten years ago,” writes scholar and traveler Russell Fraser about his experiences in China during a trip last year. His recent visit is recounted in his latest travel essay for VQR. Previously, Mr. Fraser has written about Sicily (Autumn 1994), Scotland (Spring 1996), France (Summer 1997), Antarctica (Winter 1999) and also, Arabia and Russia. The travel-loving scholar is now completing a book to be called In This Best of Possible Worlds, reporting on these various trips to various parts of the world. Mr. Fraser is already the author of 16 previous books, and is the emeritus Austin Warren Professor of English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.

Michael Dunne is professor of American Studies at the University of Sussex. After taking first class honours in “Mods and Greats” at Oxford University (Latin and Greek, Ancient History and Philosophy), he studied Modern History at Berkeley and then moved to Sussex to complete his graduate work. Mr. Dunne has taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and he returns frequently to the U.S. to lecture. Mr. Dunne has been a visiting fellow at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow and St. Petersburg; the European Studies Centre at St. Antony’s College, Oxford; the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law in Cambridge; and he holds a visiting professorship in the political science department at the University of Bologna. He is presently writing a study of the politics of international law during the 20th century, which will be a sequel to his earlier book, The United States and the World Court. He hopes his next essay for VQR will survey almost 200 years of the Monroe Doctrine, starting from the 1823 Annual Message of the 4th Virginian to be president of the U.S.A.

Marlin Barton recently published his first collection of short stories entitled The Dry Well. He is now working on a second collection of which his VQR story will be a part. He is an Alabamian who lives in Montgomery.

Allan Pasco is the Hall Professor of 19th-century Literature at the University of Kansas, his specialty being French literature. He is the author of Sick Heroes: French Society and Literature in the Romantic Age, 1750—1850 (Exeter 1997). His VQR essay “On Making Mirages” will be part of a book he is currently completing entitled Revolutionary Love, 1750—1800.

Wislawa Szymborska has published nine volumes of poetry over the past five decades. She received the Goethe Award in 1991, the Herder Award in 1995, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. Except for brief forays into the Tatra Mountains, she spends most of her time in Krakow, Poland.

Joanna Trzeciak, translator for Szymborska, lives in Chicago. Her translations have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, The New Republic, and Poetry. Miracle Fair, a collection of her translations of Szymborska’s poetry, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton.

A resident of Delaware, Julianna Baggott is a novelist as well as a poet. Her novel, Girl Talk, was published by Simon and Schuster’s Pocket Books in January of this year. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West, and Indiana Review. Her manuscript of poems, This Country of Mothers, will be published by Southern Illinois University Press and was a 1999 finalist in Breadloaf’s Bakeless Prize of Middlebury College and a 1999 finalist in the Stan and Wick Poetry competition at Kent State University.

Richard Katrovas is a professor of English at the University of New Orleans and founding director of the Prague Seminars. He has published eight books, most recently a memoir, The Republic of BurmaShave (Carnegie-Mellon University Press), and a novel, The Mystic Pig (Small mouth Press). His New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from Carnegie-Mellon.

Cynthia Huntington was a featured poet in the September 1999 issue of Harper’s Magazine where a poetry forum was conducted under the title “How To Peel a Poem: Five Poets Dine Out on Verse.” Her prose book, The Salt House, about living in a dune shack outside Provincetown, MA, was recently published by the University Press of New England. She is a professor of English and director of creative writing at Dartmouth College.

Linda Pastan has appeared regularly in VQR. She is a prolific poet whose latest collection, The Last Uncle, will be published by W.W. Norton next year.

Michael Kammen is the Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University where he has taught since 1965. His most recent book, Robert Gwathmey: The Life and Art of a Passionate Observer, (UNC 1999) received the Slatten Award for excellence in Virginia biography from the Virginia Historical Society and the Library of Virginia/Virginia Center for the Book Award in September 2000 as the best work of non-fiction on a Virginia subject published during the previous year. He is also the author of Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture, and A Machine That Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture which received both the Francis Parkman Prize and the Henry Adams Prize. His book People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization (1972) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History. Mr. Kammen also published American Culture, American Tastes in 1999.

Robert J. Norrell, a native of Alabama, received his Ph. D. in history from the University of Virginia. He later taught at the University of Alabama, and now holds the Bernadotte Schmitt Chair of Excellence in History at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is an authority on modern Southern history who wrote Reaping the Whirlwind: The Civil Rights Movement in Tuskegee, a winner of the 1985 Robert F. Kennedy Award.

In addition to VQR, Joann Kobin has published short stories in The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, The North American Review, Witness, and The Boston Globe Magazine as well as in many other journals and anthologies. Two of her stories have been noted in the list of 100 distinguished stories in The Best American Stories of 1997 and The Best American Stories of 1998. Last year one of her stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She was a recipient of a grant in fiction from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston and in 2000, from the Massachusetts Council of the Arts.

A native of Australia, George Watson is a don at Cambridge’s St. John’s College, where he teaches English literature. His books include The Theory Men and The Lost Literature of Socialism.

Joseph Blotner is professor of English emeritus of the University of Michigan. He previously taught at the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia, where he became a friend and later biographer of William Faulkner, a friendship recounted in his VQR essay. Mr. Blotner has also written a biography of Robert Penn Warren and he is now writing his memoirs, of which his VQR essay is a part. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and an officier de L’Ordre Des Arts et des Lettres of the French Legion of Honor.

Bill Oliver teaches at Washington & Lee University and directs the writing center at V.M.I. He is the author of a collection of stories, Women and Children First, and a book of interviews with American writers, Passion and Craft. His stories have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Indiana Review, and The Laurel Review among others.

Émile J. Talbot is a professor of French at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He field is 19th- and 20th-century French Literature, and he is the author of Stendhal and Romantic Aesthetics and Stendhal Revisited. He has a keen interest in Marcel Proust whose latest biography is the subject of his VQR review.

After receiving his B. A. degree from the University of Illinois, Angus Maclean Thuermer attended the University of Berlin as a language student in 1938. He was in Nuremberg for the last Nazi Party rally. He worked as a journalist in Berlin very briefly for the Chicago Tribune and later for the Associated Press, covering the outbreak of World War II on the Polish border, Since his retirement in 1976, he has resided in his long-time (1959) home in Middleburg, Virginia, traveling extensively to places like Tibet, Antarctica, the Yangtze River, and Botswana. Berlin is the subject of his latest VQR contribution.

A regular contributor to VQR, Sanford Pinsker is a professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. His most recent books include Oedipus Meets the Press (Mellon Poetry Series, 1996) and Worrying About Race, 1985—1995: Reflections During a Troubled Time (Whitston 1996). He is presently one of the judges for the National Jewish Book Award. He has also been a frequent contributor to The Georgia Review and The Sewanee Review.

Cover Research Credit: Heather Burns and Janna Gies.

Cover Photo Credit: Painting on silk of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin, from The Treasures and Dynasties of China by Bamber Gascoigne (from the Fine Arts Library of the University of Virginia).

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsEdward L. AyersG. Edward WhiteLorna MartensPaul Barolsky, ChairmanKenneth W. ThompsonPatricia Meyer SpacksStephen B. CushmanRobert H. KretsingerJanna Olson Gies, Managing EditorCandace Pugh, Circulation Director

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