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The Green Room, Summer 1980


ISSUE:  Summer 1980

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan late in 1979, some Western analysts felt the invasion might have been prompted by Russian fears of an Islamic rebellion among the non-Russian, Moslem residents of the U.S.S.R., many of whose lands were forcibly seized by Tsarist troops in the 19th century. As Nora Beloff makes quite clear in her discussion of Russia’s “hundred-headed hydra,” such fears are now a permanent part of the Soviet scene, particularly since the non-Russians today number about as many as the Russians themselves. Miss Beloff’s discussion of the disruptive potential of national forces building up in Soviet society is based upon a firsthand, longtime knowledge of Russia. The British journalist and author served as Moscow correspondent for The Observer during the Khrushchev era and has traveled extensively through the Soviet Union.

In the past, children’s literature has had little appeal to the English departments of American higher learning. Now this situation may be changing, with such literature becoming a matter of greater scholarly concern. If so, much of the credit for this change is due to Francelia Butler, founder of the Journal of Children’s Literature, an annual publication of the Yale Press, the latest issue of which contains articles by such distinguished authors as Alison Lurie, Robert Coles, and Roger Sale. Mrs. Butler is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut and the author of Sharing Literature with Children and Master-works of Children’s Literature, 1550—1739.

As readers of her essay will see, Molly Ingle Michie was an extraordinary woman. The wife of a lawyer and Virginia legislator, Thomas J. Michie, Jr. , she left this explanation of why she decided to put down her thoughts and feelings during the sunset of her life: “By describing my losing battle with cancer I don’t intend to discourage other people who are currently doing battle with the malady. Mine is a very rare form of the disease, almost impossible to diagnose in the early stages and not as responsive as most malignancies to treatment. Most cancer victims can win their battles. This essay is not for cancer victims, anyway. It is for anyone who ever expects to die and is frightened at the prospect. It is particularly for those who will die without the comfort of a strong religious faith.”

Although Joan Millman is making her VQR debut, she is an experienced writer of both fiction and nonfiction. Her short stories have appeared in such magazines as Ascent, Cimarron Review, and the Carolina Quarterly. She is a coauthor of four books in early childhood education, of which she has an intimate knowledge as a mother of four. Holder of a master’s degree in creative writing from Brown University,Miss Millman is now working on her first novel.

As the seemingly unending flow of books about Virginia Woolf reminds us, contemporary interest in the Bloomsbury set is high. One of the more eminent members of that set was, of course, the author of Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey. But, as John Halperin shows, Eminent Victorians as history is mostly bunk. A professor of English at the University of Southern California, Mr. Halperin has been a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and is completing a year on leave in England. He is the author of two books on the Victorian novel, one on Jane Austen, and, most recently, Trollope and Politics.

Among Strachey’s prominent contemporaries were poet T. S. Eliot and man-forall-seasons Wyndham Lewis. Their long friendship is the subject of Jeffrey Meyers’ essay. A member of the English Department at the University of Colorado, the prolific Mr. Meyershas recently completed a 500-page biography of Wyndham Lewis. He is also the author of a new biography of Katherine Mansfield and is completing the Critical Heritage volume on Ernest Hemingway. He is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

Among English eccentrics, the Sitwell family ranks high. Sir George Sitwell let his wife, the granddaughter of a duke, go to prison for three months rather than settle her debts to a crooked moneylender. The couple’s three gifted children, Osbert, Edith, and Sacheverall, each showed that there is truly an art to being a Sitwell, and each made a considerable contribution to the arts. Their literary lives are examined by Richard Jones, a Welsh-born journalist and novelist who now resides in London.

A native New Yorker or, perhaps more accurately, a native of Brooklyn, Joan Walsh resides in a Brooklyn brownstone with her husband, George, a publishing executive, and two children. She began her career as a schoolteacher in the New York City school system, but soon decided that journalism had more appeal than teaching. Accordingly, she joined the staff of Time magazine, where she has worked as a researcher in the Foreign Affairs section.

A widely published poet, Mark Rudman has work forthcoming in New Directions, the American Poetry Review, and The Kenyan Review, An essayist and translator as well as a poet, Mr. Rudman resides in New York City.

Stanley Moss is also a New Yorker, but he writes poetry as a sideline. He actually makes his living as a very successful private art dealer. His most recent book is Skull of Adam, published last year.

A Ph.D.student in psychology at Clark University,Chris Gilbert is author of an unpublished manuscript of poems, Drumming the Stretched Skin of World, and has poems forthcoming in Nimrod and Black American Literature Forum magazines.

Phillis Levin is a poet who works and writes in New York City.

Poet-in-residence at Kansas State University, Jonathon Holden has recently completed a book of essays on contemporary poetry entitled The Rhetoric of the Contemporary Lyric, which Indiana is scheduled to publish next month.

Herbert Scott is a member of the English Department at Western Michigan University. His last book, Groceries, was published by Pittsburgh, and recent poems have appeared in the Mississippi Review and Ploughshares.

Katherine Kane’s work has appeared in the Iowa Review and Cutbank, and Porch Publications has brought out a chapbook, Ferry All the Way Up.

David St. John teaches at The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. His second book of poems, The Shore, will be published by Houghton Mifflin this fall.

Peter Makuck writes both fiction and poetry and is the editor of Tar River Poetry. A member of the English Department at East Carolina University, he has published fiction in such publications as The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, and The Hudson Review. His story, “Assumption,” won an honorable mention in Martha Foley’s Best Short Stories of 1976.

An authority on modern European history, Gerald Freund is the author of Germany between Two Worlds and Unholy Alliance. He holds a doctorate in modern history from Oxford University. He has been a research fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Rockefeller Foundation, and a member of the faculty at Hunter College.

Philip F. Gura, a member of the English Department at the University of Colorado, is now in the process of editing a two-volume work entitled Critical Essays on Transcendentalism, which will reprint the best assessments of the movement from the 1840’s through the 1970’s.

Kenneth Levin is a psychiatrist and also holds a doctorate in the history of science. He is the author of Freud’s Early Psychology of the Neuroses: A Historical Perspective and is a clinical instructor in psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School as well as in private practice in the Boston area.

Although he is a philosopher by profession and a professor of same at the University of Virginia, Peter Heath, an Oxford graduate, is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on fellow Oxonian Lewis Carroll. He is, in fact, president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.

Olivier Zunz is an urban historian who received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Paris, Sor bonne. An assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia, he is now completing a study of the growth of Detroit between the 1880’s and the 1920’s.

Miriam Tane is a free-lance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, the New York Times, and Newsday. She is revising a novel about an artist and is on the second draft of another novel.

A member of the English Department at Wellesley College, William E. Cain is serving as general editor for the Garland Press Bibliography Series on Modern Critics and Critical Schools, a project involving some 30 volumes, each with a lengthy critical introduction to the critic’s work. Among the volumes under way: Trilling, Winters, Tate, and Blackmur.

Irving Malin publishes essays and reviews widely in American journals, including a recent review of Paul Bowles’ Collected Stories, 1939—1976, appearing in the current issue of the Ontario Review. He teaches in the City College of New York.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorW. W. AbbotJ. C. LenensonKenneth W. ThompsonIan StevensonG. Edward WhiteRoger ShattuckElisabeth R. Aaron, Business Manager

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