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The Green Room, Winter 1994


ISSUE:  Winter 1994

Richard Jones made his debut as a VQR contributor in the summer of 1976 with an essay entitled “Anthony Powell’s Music: Swan Song of the Metropolitan Romance.” The Music referred to Powell’s multivolume saga, A Dance to the Music of Time, a series of novels as traditionally British as pubs, cricket, and afternoon tea. The subject of his latest VQR offering is anything but British and anything but traditional. The subject is that enigmatic controversial French scholar Jacques Derrida who, in Mr. Jones’ words, is “the philosopher, literary critic, and man for all seasons best described by the French term “maitre a penser.”” Derrida first appeared on the literary scene in the mid 1960’s and has since become world famous as the father of an esoteric literary theory known as deconstruction. Mr. Jones examines both the man and the theory in his lucid critique.

Richard Jones was born in Wales and educated there and in France. He is the author of four novels including The Three Suitors and Supper With the Borgias, both published in the United States. He was for many years employed by the Reuters News Agency and the BBC.In recent years, he has been a teacher both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. He now resides in London, where he is a keen follower of British politics as well as trends in literature.

Hunt Janin spent 25 years as a U. S. Foreign Service officer before retiring and becoming a free-lance writer. He now lives near London with his second wife, Corinne, who is Dutch and a member of the Netherlands Foreign Service. Asked how he could afford to live in price-high London, Mr. Janin explained: his wife is now assigned as a consular officer in the Dutch Embassy in London. Thus, “the Dutch Embassy (or more accurately, the Dutch government) pays the rent for our house. My own children are grown and off my dole. . .and I now have a pension from the State Department. The bottom line is that with free rent and two modest incomes we are still in the black even in London.” In his essay, Mr. Janin examines the technological revolution now in progress and looks ahead to see what the world will be like in what he calls “a post-information society.”

Robert Olen Butler’s short story, “The Handwriting on the Wall,” is excerpted from his new novel, They Whisper, due to be published by Henry Holt later this month. An earlier story, “Fairy Tale,” not only won The Virginia Quarterly Review’s annual Emily Clark Balch Award for the best published short story in 1991.That story also became a part of a collection entitled A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, a collection that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in late March 1993.It was the first such collection to win the Pulitzer since The Collected Stories of John Cheever.

A veteran of World War II, Louis D. Rubin, Jr. well remembers Sir Winston Churchill, that war’s chief architect of victory. In his latest VQR essay, he examines the recent revisionist book on Churchill by John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory. Mr. Rubin is not charmed by Charmley’s argument that Churchill was more villain than victor during Britain’s “finest hour.” Although retired from teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. Rubin continues a busy life and is currently working on a novel among his many other literary projects.

Susie Mee’s first novel, The Girl Who Loved Elvis, was published last spring by Peachtree Publishing. She also had a book of poems, The Undertaker’s Daughter, published in September of 1992.A native of Trion, Georgia, Ms. Mee graduated from the University of Georgia, and later attended Yale Drama School. She was a professional actress for a few years before starting to publish and still does perform from time to time. She teaches creative writing at New York University but is on leave this year studying and writing at Hollins College.

Lawrence Raab teaches at Williams College. His VQR poems are from his collection What We Don’t Know About Each Other, which recently won Penguin’s National Poetry Series.

Carol Frost directs the Catskill Poetry Workshop at Hartwick College, where she is writer-in-residence. She has had poems published recently in The Atlantic, American Poetry Review, and TriQuarterly, and she was a runner-up for the 1992 Poet’s Prize.

T. Alan Broughton is a member of the faculty at the University of Vermont. A prolific novelist, short-story writer, and poet, he will have his fifth book of poems published later this year. That fifth collection is entitled In the Country of Elegies and will be published by Carnegie-Mellon.

Greg Kuzma teaches at the University of Nebraska and has new poems in Crazyhorse, and The Massachusetts Review.

A resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, LISA RUSS-SPAAR is completing work on her first book-length collection of poems.

Paul Barolsky is the author of a trilogy on Renaissance art and ideas, the titles being Michelangelo’s Nose (1990), Why Mona Lisa Smiles (1991), and Giotto’s Father (1992), all published by Penn State. Hence, Mr. Barolsky’s interest in “The Painter Who Almost Became a Cheese.” He is a professor of art history at the University of Virginia.

Kent Nelson is beginning his third decade as a VQR short story writer, his first story, “The Humpback Bird,” having appeared in the summer of 1975 as one of the winners of the Emily Clark Balch Prize for Short Fiction.Mr. Nelson grew up in Colorado and graduated from Yale and Harvard Law School. He has traveled extensively, spending two years in Europe, a year in Montana, two years on the South Carolina coast, and several summers on the road. In addition to short stories, he has also published several novels.

A native New Yorker, Leonard Kriegel flees Manhattan in winter and finds refuge at Hilton Head in South Carolina. He also finds that “Beaches in Winter” are preferable to those at other times of the year.

Susan Volchok is also a New Yorker born and bred and has spent her adult life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where her VQR story, “Steam,” among other stories, is set. Other stories have recently appeared in The Kenyan Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Paris Transcontinental (France), and The Abiko Quarterly of Japan. Her short fiction has also been anthologized in Love’s Shadow published last year by Crossing Press.

A psychiatrist by profession, Robert Coles is a philosopher by avocation. He is also one of the nation’s most prolific writers and critics and is best known for his multivolume work Children of Crisis, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Mr. Coles is on the faculty at Harvard.

Kenneth W. Thompson is executive director of the White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs and a member of the faculty of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. He is a former vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and a former student of Hans Morganthau and Rinehold Niebur.

The energetic and prolific Sanford Pinsker has now embarked on a study of “black intellectuals and the crisis of multiculturalism.” He is a member of the English faculty at Franklin and Marshall College.

Alf J. Mapp, Jr. is the author of Thomas Jefferson: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity, a featured selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and one of the Forty Best Books of 1987, and of Thomas Jefferson: Passionate Pilgrim, also a Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection. He is Eminent Scholar Emeritus and Louis D.Jaffe

Professor Emeritus at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. He has spent 36 years researching and writing about Jefferson and other founding fathers, and his works have circulated around the world in nine languages.

A former New York Times reporter, Alexander Burnham covered the United Nations in the early 1960’s. He later served as managing editor for Dodd, Mead & Co., and editor-in-chief of The Washington Book Review. He is now editing a new anthology entitled Cinema Lit: Twenty-Five Exceptional Stories by Twenty-Four Superior Writers that Inspired Twenty-Six Remarkable Films.

Professor of political and social science at York University in Toronto, Paul Roazen is the author of Encountering Freud: The Politics and Histories of Psychoanalysis.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsEdward L. AyersRichard M. RortyLorna MartensJ. C. LevensonKenneth W. ThompsonPatricia Meyer SpacksRobert H. KretsingerJanna Olson Gies, Business Manager

A National Journal of Literature and Discussion published since 1925 in January, April, July, and October. Individual subscriptions $18.00 one year, $25.00 two years, $33.00 three years; Institutions $22.00 one year, $30.00 two years, $50.00 three years. Outside U.S. (individual and institution) add $6.00 per year. Single copies $5.00 each. Title page and annual index available in November.

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