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The Green Room, Summer 1984


ISSUE:  Summer 1984

In VQR’s Autumn 1961 issue, writing about what he called “the annealing of the South,” Leslie W. Dunbar, then executive director of the Southern Regional Council—the first biracial organization in the region—observed: “Now the land of fitful somnolence and passion nears the trap of reason. . . . An air of anticipation courses pleasurably through the South at the prospect of the end of the long chase. The South is about to go down again in defeat, and can hardly wait.”

Mr. Dunbar’s words proved to be as prophetic as they were—at the time— provocative. The South of Jim Crow and Bull Connor, of what one journalist called “a land of two-lane highways and one-track minds” did indeed go down in defeat. But this time there was not the bitterness of Reconstruction, there was not the attempt to construct a land of magnolias and happy, singing black mammies supposedly gone with the wind. No, this time the South did not look back. With the shackles of segregation gone—”free at last, free at last,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed—the South moved forward. And how far forward is the subject of John Shelton Reed’s essay, one that might have been entitled “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.” While there are still miles to go before all the poverty and prejudice are gone, Mr. Reed shows convincingly how much Southern blacks have gained in “money, power, and respect” since the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (public accommodations) and 1965 (voting rights). A native of Tennessee, Mr. Reed is a specialist in the manners, mores, and morality of his native region. He is a professor of sociology and adjunct professor of American studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he carries on the tradition established by those two great Southern regionalists, Howard Odum and Rupert Vance. He is the author of The Enduring South and One South: An Ethnic Approach to Regional Culture, among other works, and book review editor of Social Forces.

Just as the South was a source of national concern two decades ago, so today Americans are paying more and more attention to a matter that affects us all—health care and in particular how that care is to be rendered in the case of terminally ill or severely impaired newborn patients. The ethical dilemmas posed by such cases for a physician can be overwhelming, and such dilemmas are the subject of Dr. Anthony Shaw’s article. A specialist on the subject of child abuse and medical decision making when the patient is a severely malformed infant whose parents reject lifesaving treatment, Dr. Shaw is director of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at the City of Hope National Medical Center in California as well as Clinical Professor of Surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is a graduate of Harvard College and received his M.D. degree in 1954 from the New York University College of Medicine. Before coming to the City of Hope in 1981, he was Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia. Dr. Shaw also co-authored the Virginia Child Abuse Reporting Law and served as chairman of that state’s Governor’s Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect for five years. The author and coauthor of more than 100 scientific articles and books, Dr. Shaw has also lectured widely on ethical aspects of medical decision making. He currently serves as chairman of the Ethics Committee of the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

John Bovey made his debut as a VQR author in the winter of 1975 with an article about what he called “The Golden Sunshine, ” that sunshine being “the practice of exchanging handouts abroad for contributions at home.” Since that time, the versatile Mr. Bovey has been a regular contributor of both nonfiction and fiction. His short stories have twice won the Emily Clark Balch Prize, and his latest returns to a subject with which he has long been concerned—the American diplomatic service. During his career in the Foreign Service, which he entered in 1945 after graduating from Harvard and three years in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Bovey served in Rotterdam, Casablanca, Washington, Paris, Oslo, and the Hague. Mr. Bovey is the author of a collection of stories, Desirable Aliens, published as part of Illinois’ Short Fiction series.

Albert Goldbarth is currently enjoying a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches at the University of Texas, Austin, and his most recent book is Original Light: New and Selected Poems, 1973—83.

A resident of Spartanburg, S. C., John Lane is making his VQR debut. His second chapbook, The Small Losses, is being published by the Charles Street Press in Baltimore.

Suellen Mayfield is employed as a communications director in Venice, California. Her poems have appeared in such periodicals as Ironwood, Epoch, and Intro IV.

The multitalented Joyce Carol Oates is best known for her novels and short stories, but she is also a literary critic, an editor of the Ontario Review, and a prolific poet.

Siv Cedering has published extensively in this country and in Sweden. Her VQR poems are from a volume to be published this fall by Pittsburgh entitled Letters from the Floating World.

James Ulmer is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in writing at the University of Houston. His poems have appeared in Poetry and other magazines.

Baron Wormser is the author of The White Words, published by Houghton Mifflin, and a second volume of poetry will be out early in 1985.

Franz Wright’s most recent volume of poems was entitled The One Whose Eyes Open When You Close Your Eyes. He is a Fellow of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

David Wojahn is the author of Icehouse Lights, a work which received the Yale Younger Poets Prize. He teaches at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, and has had poems appear recently in the American Poetry Review, Missouri Review, and Sewanee Review.

An associate professor of art history at the University of Virginia, Paul Barolsky is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance as well as an authority on 19th-century literary and artistic asceticism. He is the author of Infinite Jest: Wit and Humor in Italian Renaissance Art. His essay on Walter Pater and Bernard Berenson appeared in the April 1984 issue of The New Criterion, and Mr. Barolsky is working on a book dealing with Berenson and 19th-century art criticism.

Samuel Yellen was University Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, “where for some twenty years I gave the large lecture course in Shakespeare. . . .” Mr. Yellen died shortly after his VQR essay was accepted for publication. He was the author of two books of fiction—The Passionate Shepherd, a collection of his stories, and The Wedding Band, a novel.

David Tillinghast received his Ph. D. degree in 1974 from the University of South Carolina, where he studied under George Garrett and James Dickey. He now teaches contemporary American literature and creative writing at Clemson University.

Paul Gaston’s Nancy Lewis essay is the first chapter in Women of Fair Hope, an expanded version of the 25th annual Lamar Memorial Lectures delivered at Mercer University in 1981. The book will be published by Georgia this October. Mr. Gaston is a professor of history at the University of Virginia.

While she spent the past year on leave in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Margaret Edwards is a member of the English faculty at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

John Higham is the John Martin Vincent Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, his primary interest being the intellectual history of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries and in the social character and ethnic composition of the American people.

Virginia Spencer Carr is the author of The Lonely Hunter, a critically acclaimed biography of Carson McCullers. Her latest biography, Dos Passos: A Life, is due out from Doubleday next month.

Elizabeth Langhorne is the author of Nancy Astor and Her Friends and served two terms as president of The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Eric J. Sundquist is an associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book is Faulkner: The House Divided.

Jay Parini is a novelist, poet, and literary critic. He is a member of the faculty at Middlebury College.

Doris L. Eder is a member of the English Department at Yale University, but her interest in class springs from her land of origin, Great Britain, where she learned “how hidebound and rigid is a true class system; what I have always liked most about this country is the lack of same.”

Martin Lebowitz is a free-lance writer currently residing in Arizona.

Gary McDowell is the author of Equity and the Constitution: The Supreme Court, Equitable Relief, and Public Policy and editor of Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the Federalists, 1788—89. He is a member of the Political Science faculty at Newcomb College, Tulane University.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsW. W. AbbotJ. C. LevensonKenneth W. ThompsonNathan A. Scott, Jr.G. Edward WhiteRoger ShattuckElisabeth R. Aaron, Business Manager

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