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The Green Room, Winter 1985


ISSUE:  Winter 1985

The source of genius has long been disputed, with one contention being that its root lies in madness and another that its origin stems from a temperament of exceptional serenity and stability. In his VQR essay, British psychotherapist Anthony Storr investigates “how it is that such discrepant opinions have come to be held” and considers “whether any reconciliation between these opposing views is possible.” As his many articles and books attest, Dr. Storr has been concerned with The Integrity of the Personality (the title of his first book) and The Dynamics of Creation (as his fifth work is entitled) throughout his distinguished career. A graduate of Cambridge, Dr. Storr is now Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry at Oxford University and consultant psychotherapist for the Oxfordshire Area. He has held lectureships at universities throughout Europe and the U.S., including Harvard and Chicago. Among his other books are Human Aggression, Human Destructiveness, and The Art of Psychotherapy. Most recently, Dr. Storr assembled and introduced a selection of writings by Jung which Princeton published as The Essential Jung. He is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Council for Science and Society, and a former chairman of the medical section of the British Psychological Society.

No stranger to the pages of VQR, Kent Nelson won this journal’s 1975 Balch Prize for short fiction with his story, “The Humpbacked Bird.” Mr. Nelson grew up in Colorado, graduated from Yale and Harvard Law School. In recent years he has left the practice of law to his wife (also an attorney) and devoted himself to writing full time. Well, not all the time, since Mr. Nelson is an outstanding squash player, a sport which gave him consolation as he recently contemplated his 40th birthday.

“The best thing about being 40,” he wrote, “is now I can play in the 40+ division in squash and get a national ranking.” His interest in another racket game is reflected in his first collection of stories, which Illinois published under the title, The Tennis Player. Mr. Nelson is also the author of a novel, Cold Wind River.

One of the foremost figures in contemporary American literature, Joyce Carol Oates is also one of the most prolific, being a short story writer, poet, novelist, and critic. Her latest collection of stories, Last Days, was recently published by Dutton, and her next novel, Solstice, is due out from the same publisher this month. Ms. Oates teaches at Princeton and co-edits The Ontario Review.

A previous VQR contributor, Pattiann Rogers is currently a Guggenheim Fellow and recently completed a new collection of poems under the title Rumors of Angels.

Like Kent Nelson, Peter Meinke was a recipient of the Balch Prize for short fiction, having received it in 1982 for his story, “A Decent Life.” Also a poet, the versatile Mr. Meinke directs the Writing Workshop at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. His latest book of poems is Trying to Surprise God.

David Huddle is also both a poet and fiction writer. His poetry collection, Paper Boy, was published by Pittsburgh, and his novel, A Dream with No Stumproots in It, by Missouri. He teaches at the University of Vermont.

Rodney Jones’ second collection of poems, The Unborn, is to be published by Little, Brown early this year. He is a recipient of an NEA fellowship in poetry and was awarded the Theodore Roethke Prize by Poetry Northwest. He currently teaches at Southern Illinois University.

Aleda Shirley lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and has had poems in such publications as Poetry, Shenandoah, Cutbank, and Southern Poetry Review.

Karen Kevorkian is completing her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Utah, while residing in Berkeley, California. Her poems have appeared in Fiction International, The Massachusetts Review, and other journals.

Nancy Hale’s novels include The Young Die Good, The Sign of Jonah, Dear Beast, and (her most famous) The Prodigal Women, Her short stories have appeared in more than 40 anthologies, including the Foley and O. Henry collections. She is also the author of The Realities of Fiction (essays), Mary Cassatt (biography), and The Night of the Hurricane (juvenile).

Elissa S. Guralnick is an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder, with an abiding interest in the role of radio as a means of communication. Her essay on BBC drama is an outgrowth of that interest. She took her undergraduate degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her Ph.D. degree at Yale, where she wrote her dissertation on Robert Browning’s “unreadable epic, Sordello.” After abandoning “the first principle of academic writing—if it’s intelligible, it can’t be intelligent,” she has written on a variety of subjects, including forensic chemistry and medicine.

Kenny Marotta was born in Alden, Mass., graduated from Harvard College, and received a Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins. He taught literature for seven years at the University of Virginia and still lives in Charlottesville. His first novel, A Piece of Earth, portrays the eccentricities and foibles of two Depression-era Italian-American families and will be published by Morrow in March.

Barry Maine received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and presently teaches film and American literature at Wake Forest University. “Of more immediate interest to your readers,” he observes, “I have played sidekick on occasion to a close friend working as a private detective in Washington, D.C.”

Jane Mcdill Anderson is completing a collection of short stories as well as working on a novel. A resident of New York’s Rockland County for more than 30 years, she is a graduate of Vassar and a former editor for Vogue and Cue magazines. Her short stories and articles have appeared in such publications as Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, and Woman’s Day, She is also an artist who has exhibited and sold her paintings.

Samuel Pickering, Jr. ‘s latest contribution to VQR stems from an earlier piece which appeared in Yankee magazine and was later condensed and published by Reader’s Digest under the title, “The Very Thought of Turtles.” When he is not thinking about turtles, Mr. Pickering is a specialist in children’s literature at the University of Connecticut, where he was recently promoted to a full professorship. He plans to continue producing familiar essays in order to complete a prime domestic project: the redoing of his kitchen.

Greg Johnson is a member of the English faculty at Emory University. His critical study of Emily Dickinson will be published this year by Alabama. His fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared recently in such journals as the Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, and the Ontario Review,

Douglas Lane Patey teaches English and the history of science at Smith College. His study of Probability and Literary Form in the 18th century was published last year by Cambridge. Mr. Patey is now working on “a history of the faculty of attention in literary and philosophical psychology.”

A former publications director at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Wilfred M. McClay is now an Arthur O. Lovejoy Fellow in history at Johns Hopkins University. He has contributed articles and reviews to New England Quarterly, American Scholar, American Spectator, and the Baltimore Sun.

Like Mr. Patey, Jefferson Hunter is also at Smith College, where he is an associate professor of English. He is the author of Edwardian Fiction and is presently at work on a book about photography and literature.

David Kirby recently published a poetry collection, Sarah Bernhardt’s Leg. He is a member of the English Department at Florida State University and is writing a book called American Contraries examining the connection between health and pathology in American life and culture, past and present. His book-in-progress also examines “the forward march of feminism.”

A longtime Trollope-ite, Janice Carlisle completed her essay review on that prolific novelist’s Letters shortly before he was introduced to an American television audience by the Masterpiece Theatre production of Barchester Towers. Ms. Carlisle recently joined the English faculty at Washington University, where she is involved in both teaching and administration.

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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