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The Green Room, Summer 1985


ISSUE:  Summer 1985

Tell about the South: The Southern Rage to Explain is the title of Fred Hobson’s latest book (published in 1983 by Louisiana). A good part of telling and explaining in the centuries since Jamestown has involved the Southern impulse toward violence and vainglory, prejudice and persecution, religious fundamentalism and fundamental racism. Today, however, as Hobson points out in his VQR essay, Southern benightedness is regarded “largely as a historical phenomenon.” The Bible Belt has become the Sun Belt, the Savage South the Superior South. In an America where image making is a national pastime, the transformation from benighted to beautiful in just a few years’ time has to rank among the supreme examples of the art. Mr. Hobson is well qualified to examine “the origins, endurance, and presumed demise” of a savage and benighted Dixie. A native North Carolinian and graduate of Chapel Hill, he is now a professor of English at the University of Alabama. In addition to Tell about the South, winner of the 1983 Jules F.Landry Award, Mr. Hobson’s other books include Serpent in Eden: H.L. Mencken and the South and South-Watching: Selected Essays of Gerald W.Johnson. When he is not studying the South, Mr. Hobson follows another great Southern passion—basketball.

“Every age has its curious and sometimes inhuman games and sports,” observes Harold Fromm. One of the favorite pastimes of our age, he contends, is the recycling of lives, a notable case being the lives of Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Mr. Fromm cites three examples where he believes the Woolfs have been portrayed as “sitting ducks,” and his lively essay seems certain to stimulate more discussion about the English couple. A member of the English faculty at Indiana University North-west, Mr. Fromm has written widely about the works of Virginia Woolf. In addition, in recent years his essays have concerned literary theory, professionalism in the arts, and air pollution. They have appeared in such journals as English Miscellany, Criticism, and the Yale and Georgia reviews, as well as VQR.

David Wagoner is the author of 10 novels and 13 books of poetry. His most recent work of poetry, First Light, was published by Little, Brown in 1983.He is editor of Poetry Northwest and a member of the faculty at the University of Washington.

Robert Schultz is returning to his alma mater, Luther College, in Iowa to become a member of the English department when the 1985—86 academic year begins. His poems have appeared in The Hudson Review and other journals, and he recently completed his first book of poetry. He has a doctoral degree in English from Cornell University.

James Applewhite is an associate professor of English at Duke University and a widely published poet. His works of poetry include Following Gravity.

Louis Jenkins has published poems recently in Black Warrior Review and Ironwood. A selection of his prose poems has appeared in Poetry East.

A co-founder of the New Virginia Review, Jane Ellen Glasser has been a visiting poet and poet-in-the-schools in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Her poems have appeared in such journals as the Georgia Review. Hudson Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

Linda Pastan’s latest VQR poem is taken from her new collection, A Fraction of Darkness, which Norton will bring out this fall.

Kenneth Zamora Damacion holds degrees from the University of California at Irvine and the MFA Writers Program at Warren Wilson College.

Elizabeth Spires is the author of Swan’s Island, which Holt, Rinehart will publish this fall. It is her second book of poems. Her VQR poem is one of a series based on a famous set of photographs taken in 1912 of New Orleans red-light district.

Lee Upton is the author of The Invention of Kindness, published in late 1984 by Alabama. Her poems have also appeared in such journals as North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Black Warrior Review.

Linda Gregg’s first book, Too Bright to See, was published by Graywolf in 1981, and her second is due out soon from the same publisher. She now resides in Massachusetts, having lived previously for a number of years in the Greek isles.

Richard Thorman is making his debut as a VQR short story writer, though his poems and stories have appeared in numerous other periodicals. He is the author of Bachman’s Law, a novel published by Norton in 1981, and recently completed a new novel. Originally from upstate New York, he lived in Virginia for a decade, “making a very inadequate living” as a writer before moving to Maryland, where he now resides.

Humphrey Cobb’s Paths of Glory, which appeared 50 years ago, has been ranked as a WWI successor to Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage.In 1957 Stanley Kubrick’s movie version of Cobb’s novel appeared and is now ranked as one of the greatest war films ever produced by Hollywood. The novel and film are the subjects of Jesse Bier’s essay. A professor of English at the University of Montana, Mr. Bier is both a novelist and essayist, and his essays range widely, including an unusual foray into foreign affairs, “National Policy and Neurosis.”

A native of New Jersey, Kathleen Ford Bonnie received her B.A.from Notre Dame of Maryland and her M.A.from Teachers College at Columbia University. Her stories have appeared in Redbook, Yankee, Ascent, Southern Humanities, and other publications. Her first novel was recently accepted for publication by St. Martin’s. Mrs. Bonnie has lived in Virginia since 1967 and is the wife of a professor of law at the University of Virginia. In addition to raising three children, boys 14 and 10 and a baby daughter, the busy Mrs. Bonnie also teaches a writing course at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Robert A. Gross is an associate professor of history and American studies at Amherst College. He has also taught at the University of Sussex, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College. He is the author of The Minutemen and Their World, winner of the 1977 Bancroft Prize in American History, a work which also received the National Historical Society Prize for the Best First Book in American History. Mr. Gross is a former Guggenheim Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

Steven Schwartz is the author of To Leningrad in Winter, a collection of short stories published by Missouri last spring. He teaches fiction writing at Colorado State University.

Patrick Samway, S.J. until recently was chairman of the English department at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York. He has now moved to Manhattan to become literary editor of America magazine, a highly respected religious publication. He is co-editor of an anthology, Stories of the Modern South.

Malcolm Cowley has written long and widely about American literature. He served as associate editor of The New Republic from 1929 to 1944. His numerous books include Exile’s Return, A Second Flowering, and The Dream of the Golden Mountains. He also edited The Portable Hemingway (1944), The Portable Faulkner (1946), The Portable Hawthorne (1948), and The Stones of F.Scott Fitzgerald (1950).

A frequent VQR contributor, William C.

Havard is a political scientist by profession and a lover of Southern literature by avocation. He is a native of Baton Rouge, and he was the former dean of the college at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He currently serves as the chairman of the department of political science at Vanderbilt University.

Fred Barnes entered the newspaper business in 1965, when he went to work for the Charleston (S.C.) News and Courier. He later spent 12 years at the Washington Star (1967—1979) before becoming the national political correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. Earlier this year Mr. Barnes joined The New Republic as its senior editor. He was also a panelist in the first presidential television debate last fall. Mr. Barnes recalls that he was the reporter who asked President Reagan why he doesn’t go to church.

Paul Roazen is a professor of political and social science at York University in Toronto. He is the author of Freud: Political and Social Thought and Freud and His Followers. His most recent book is a biography of psychoanalyst Helene Deutsch.

J. A. S. Evans is a professor of classics at the University of British Columbia and past president of the Classical Association of Canada. His books include a study of Herodotus, the subject of his VQR review.

Viola Hopkins Winner is working with J.C.Levenson and others on a complete edition of The Letters of Henry Adams, three volumes of which have been published, and a final three are now in preparation.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

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

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