The Cold War may now be history, but it is not destined to be history that is little noted nor long remembered. The books about it may never equal those about the American Civil War, but scholars will be examining every aspect of this peculiar ideological war—one that often bordered on, but never broke into, open conflict—throughout the century ahead. Since it was so much a war for the minds of men, future historians will be obliged to weigh its effect on American culture. As Stephen Whitfield observes in his essay, in the 1950’s these effects were painful and profound. Mr. Whitfield himself grew up in the 1950’s graduating from high school in Jacksonville, Florida in 1960. Looking back he sees the ‘50’s as “inviting a bifocal view. . .that both honors the achievements of prosperity and stability and also recognizes their cost in ignoring the injustices (of race, class, gender, and dissent) that a subsequent generation would have to work harder to correct How the polity of that immediate postwar era managed to sanction both such fear and such complacency is a mystery that historians should consider worthy of the effort to unravel.” Mr. Whitfield is a professor of American Studies at Brandeis University and has also been a visiting professor of American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the University of Grenoble.
David Kirby was introduced to the “Theory Wars” while studying for his doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins in the 1960’s. He is now W. Guy McKenzie Professor at Florida State University, where he both writes poetry (Saving the Young Men of Vienna) and writes about it (Mark Strand and the Poet’s Place in Contemporary Culture). Regarding his own position in the theory wars, Kirby describes himself as “that most detestable of God’s creatures, the well-informed moderate.” He recently returned from a sabbatical in Florence, where he learned that the price of a steak is considerably higher than it is in Florida.
Kelly Cherry is both a poet and a short story writer as well as a member of the English faculty at the University of Wisconsin. This year will see the publication of her latest book of poems, God’s Loud Hand (Louisiana State), as well as a chapbook of poems, Benjamin John (March Street Press). Ms. CHERRY is also working on a translation of the Octavia, in Seneca: The Tragedies, Vol. II which is being edited by Palmer Bovie and David Slavitt for the Johns Hopkins University Press.
John W. Stevenson is Emeritus Professor of English at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, an institution with which he has been associated for 30 years. His essays have appeared in such journals as VQR, Southern Review, and Sewanee Review, as well as in academic journals. His main interests, both professional and individual, “have been and are the British poets, a continuing passion for the novels of Walker Percy, and an unexamined ardor for the fortunes of the Atlanta Braves.”
Margaret Edwards teaches American literature and courses in writing at the University of Vermont in Burlington. She also commutes often to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she and her husband have an apartment At the moment, she writes, “I am working on a novel that has turned out to be like one of those knitted sweaters, tight in some places, baggy in others, with as many* stitches pulled out some days as left in.” Although she has lived many years in New England, Ms. Edwards is a native of Atlanta, Georgia.
Francis Leary makes his home in Paris where he has lived since the early years of the Marshall Plan. He has written several books with French historical backgrounds, as well as essays on French literary- and historical figures, published in Cornhill, Horizon, Selection, and International History.
He has long wanted to write about the founding of New Orleans. “I lived for two months in the city some years ago,” Mr. Leary noted recently, “discovering the imprint of France in the New World. Famed for its Mardi Gras, New Orleans seduces, but the little town had to struggle valiantly to survive in its first years. The adventurous romantic spirit of its founder, Beau Law, suited New Orleans perfectly.”
Katie Letcher Lyle has taught English and writing at Southern Seminary Jr. College, Washington and Lee University, and Hollins College. She is now working on a book for Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill entitled All Together Again: American Camping 1900 to the Present. She is also compiling excerpts from the diaries of Virginia women between 1800 and 1850. Her earlier books include the nonfiction, Scalded to Death by the Steam, a work about American railroads, and the novels The Golden Shores of Heaven, Fair Day and Another Step Begun, and / Will Go Barefoot All Summer for You.
Mekeel McBride teaches at the University of New Hampshire and her most recent book is Red Letter Days published by Carnegie-Mellon.
A lecturer at the University of Virginia who recently became a mother, Debra Nystrom is the author of A Quarter Turn published by Sheep Meadow Press.
Liam Rector is the author of a book of poems entitled The Sorrow of Architecture, and edited The Day I Was Older. On the Poetry of Donald Hall. He is director of the Bennington Writers Workshops and is currently establishing Bennington College’s low residency M. F. A. program.
For years a lawyer on the staff of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Mary Leader is now working on a doctorate in literature at Brandeis University. Her poems have appeared in such magazines as The Quarterly, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and River City.
Connie Wanek served as poetry editor in her native New Mexico for Puerto Del Sol before moving to Minnesota where she now lives with her husband and two children.
Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, and other magazines.
Caroline Finkelstein has recent works in, or forthcoming in, Poetry, Witness, The Antioch Review, and TriQuarterly. Her first book of poems, Windows Facing East, was published by Dragon Gate in 1986. She has just completed a second collection.
Ross Taylor has poems forthcoming in Poets On and New Virginia Review and a story in Washington Review. He is “primary caregiver” for his daughter, and plays bass in a postpunk band in Washington, D. C.
Roger Williams did not begin writing poetry until he was “past forty.” He lives in West Virginia and has published in Shenendoah.
Don Colburn writes for The Washington Post, and he recently published an article on Keats in The Gettysburg Review.
Both a poet and a playwright, Doug Anderson’s play Short Timers was produced in New York City in 1981. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and teaches playwriting and theater courses at Hampshire and Smith Colleges. His poetry chap-book, Bamboo Bridge, was published in 1991 by the Amherst Writers and Artists Press.
A native of Alexandria, Louisiana, Harold B. McSween received both his B. A. and his L. L. B. degrees from Louisiana State University. He was a volunteer in the first campaign for the U. S. Senate in 1948 of Russell B. Long. Active in Louisiana politics for many years, Mr. McSween was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1958 and served there during the Kennedy years. He has long been fascinated by the life and career of the Louisiana Kingfish.
Both a journalist and fiction writer, ANDREA GOLLIN received her B.A. degree from Princeton University and an M. F. A. degree in Creative Writing from the University- of Virginia, She has worked for New York Newsday and the Glen Ridge Paper, a weekly town newspaper where she was the sole reporter. Her stories have appeared in The Texas Review, The Walden Review, and The C-Ville Review. She also notes that she finished 13, 499th in the New York City Marathon on October 27, 1985.
Richard Stern is the Helen Regenstein Professor of English at the University of Chicago. His books include Shares and Other Fictions and Noble R ot a collection of short stories which was named Book of the Year by The Chicago Sun-Times.
Michelle Bobier is a free-lance writer living in Chicago. She has a B. A. degree in English from Kenyon College and a Ph. D. in English from Northwestern University.
Robert J. Norrell is the director of the Center for Southern History and Culture and associate professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. A native of Alabama, Mr. Norrell received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Virginia. His first book, Reaping the Whirlwind: The Civil Rights Movement in Tuskegee, won the 1986 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is also the author of A Promising Field: Engineering at Alabama, 1837—1987 as well as Opening Doors: Perspectives on Race Relations in Contemporary America.
David Havird is a member of the English faculty at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has published poems in The New Yorker, Poetry, and other periodicals. While an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina, he organized a visit by Archibald MacLeish to that institution.
Sanford Pinsker is a professor of English at Franklin Marshall College in Pennsylvania and a frequent VQR contributor.
After receiving his Ph. D. degree in Government and Foreign Afiairs from the University of Virginia, David Clinton joined the faculty of Tulane University, where he is an associate professor in the government department.
Lee C. Whitfield is a member of the comparative history program at Brandeis University and the wife of Stephen Whitfield whose essay leads this issue.
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