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The Green Room, Winter 1986


ISSUE:  Winter 1986

As the New Year opens, polls, politicians, and pundits are gathering statistics, mapping strategy, and laying groundwork for the elections of 1986—congressional, gubernatorial, and local. Moreover, they are also keeping an eye out to the horizon, pondering the presidential campaign of 1988. Amid all the vagaries and uncertainties, two certainties can be predicted: Ronald Reagan will not run again, and the Jewish vote will be—despite all the Republican efforts—liberal and Democratic. Will be, that is, if the past is any precedent. For, as Stephen J. Whitfield shows in his essay on “The Jewish Vote,” this affluent, educated American minority has never strayed from the Democratic fold in recent presidential elections. For example, even in the Nixon landslide of 1972, Democrat George McGovern won, in Mr. Whitfield’s words, “less than a third of the gentile vote and two-thirds of the Jewish vote.” In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a rural Southerner, took 72 percent of the largely urban and Northern Jewish vote. And even in the Reagan runaway of 1984, when the Republicans spent four times as much as did the Democrats to attract the Jewish vote, Democrat Walter Mondale took 60 percent of it, a percentage surpassed only among blacks and the unemployed. Thus, Mr. Whitfield concludes: “So long as the Democratic Party continues to present itself as the party of compassion, so long as its version of the rainbow coalition can articulate its respect for diversity,” so long will the party hold the loyalty “of at least one group of voters who define their interests as their ideals.” Stephen Whitfield is a professor of American studies at Brandeis University and author of Voices of Jacob, Hands of Esau: Jews in American Life and Thought, published by Archon Books in 1984. The same year, through the same publisher, the prolific Mr. Whitfield brought out a second book, A Critical American: The Politics of Dwight MacDonald. In 1983—84 he was Fulbright Visiting Professor of American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Among American presidents, few have been as vigorous or as varied in their interests as Theodore Roosevelt. Explorer and environmentalist, Roughrider in the Spanish-American War and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in settling the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the “Bull Moose” of American politics was as much a private scholar as he was a public servant. And the principal focus of his scholarship was history. Or, as John Milton Cooper, Jr. phrases it, the first Roosevelt spent a lifetime “on Clio’s active service.” A professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Cooper is one of the nation’s leading authorities on Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, an interest reflected in his highly acclaimed book, The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, published by Harvard in 1984, with the paper edition appearing last fall. He is also the author of The Vanity of Power: American Isolationism and the First World War, 1914—1917, as well as a biography of Walter Hines Page, American Ambassador to London in World War I.

Gail Wronsky lives in Salt Lake City, where she is completing her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Utah. Her play, Wanda’s Home for Wayward Tammies, was presented last year in a premiere by the Salt Lake City Repertory Company, and she has been a Fellow in Playwrighting at the Sundance Institute.

Alice Fulton is a Junior Fellow with the University of Michigan Society of Fellows. Her second collection of poems, Palladium, was selected by Mark Strand for the 1985 National Poetry Series and will be published this year by Illinois.

A previous VQR contributor, Klm Stafford has also published poems in numerous other periodicals. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of California, Davis.

Conrad Hilberry teaches at Kalamazoo College. He was the 1984 winner of the Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry.

Daniel Mark Epstein was a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He now resides in Baltimore, and his recent books of poetry include The Book of Fortune and Young Men’s Gold.

A winner of the Academy of American Poets prize, Janie Fink received this award while a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has poems in New Voices, a recent anthology published by the Academy, and has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony and with the Edward Albee Foundation.

Karen Whitehill received her B. A. degree at Middlebury College and her M.A. from the University of Virginia. She is appearing in VQR for the first time. She has previously published poems in Shenandoah and other publications.

A previous VQR contributor, Colette Inez is a resident of New York, where this year she is a Guggenheim Fellow.

James Gordon Bennett is a member of the English Department at Louisiana State University. He has previously published stories in the Southern Review and other journals.

Harry S. Ashmore is a veteran journalist who received the 1957 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing while editorial page editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, where he opposed the closing of Central High School by then Gov. Orville Faubus. His other awards include the Sidney Hillman Award and the Freedom House Award. Among his many books are Epitaph for Dixie, The Other Side of Jordan, and The Man in the Middle. A member of the board of directors of the Foundation for the Republic for more than three decades, Mr. Ashmore is now writing a biography of its founder, Robert Hutchens.

A native of Cambridge, Mass. , where she now lives and where her first child, a girl, was born last year, Anne Whitney Pierce began her writing career in a two-room cabin in the woods of Vermont. There she taught French and English to 8th-graders after graduating from Tufts University in 1979. “No Spring Chicken” is her second published story, her first, “Limes,” having appeared in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine last year. She is currently working on a short story collection.

A frequent contributor, George Core has been the editor of The Sewanee Review (an earlier editor: Allen Tate) for more than a decade. He recently co-edited with Thomas David Young a selection of the writings of John Crowe Ransom published by Louisiana.

A member of the English Department at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, John J. Clayton is the author of Bodies of the Rich, a collection of stories published in the Illinois American Short Story Series. This spring he will be editing the fiction for an issue of the Agni Review, where his wife, Sharon Dunn, is the editor. An earlier VQR story, “Part-time Father,” appeared in the Summer 1982 issue.

As his essay on “Family Pieces” notes, Irby B. Cauthen, Jr. is a native of South Carolina. He has devoted his career to the study and teaching of literature, particularly the literature of Shakespeare and Milton. A member of the English Department at the University of Virginia, Mr. Cauthen served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at that institution for 16 years (1962—1978). Since then he has been a professor of English.

Ronald Weber is a Gannett Fellow at the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University this year, where he is writing a book on the relationship between journalism and nonfiction in American writing. He is on leave from the University of Notre Dame, where he is a member of the Department of American Studies. Mr. Weber is the author of Seeing Earth: Literary Responses to Space Exploration and The Literature of Fact: Literary Nonfiction in American Writing.

Steven G. Kellman is a professor of comparative literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and his reviews have appeared in such journals as Commonweal, The New Republic, The Georgia Review, and The Nation. He is the author of The Self-Begetting Novel. His next book, Loving Reading: Erotics of the Text, will be published in June by Archon Books.

A noted scholar of 18th-century English literature, Maximillian E. Novak is a professor of English at UCLA. He was the chief editor of the 13th volume of The California Edition of the Works of John Dryden and is the author of Realism, Myth and History in the Fiction of Daniel Defoe.

Martin Lebowitz is a free-lance writer residing in Phoenix, Arizona, with a particular interest in 20th-century literature, drama, and art.

Miriam Tane recently completed a novel while on a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a resident of Newton, Mass.

THOMAS SWISS is a member of the English faculty at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing in 1984—85.

Andre Kuczewski is a member of the Administration and Policy Studies faculty at McGill University in Montreal and a scholar of foreign affairs.

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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