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The Green Room, Autumn 1976

ISSUE:  Autumn 1976

With the onset of autumn, football reigns supreme in the hearts of millions of our countrymen. It is not only a sport, a fall festival, a weekend way of life; it is also a billion-dollar business. Football is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the American obsession with sports, an obsession that has produced the doctrine of “Winning is everything.” In the pursuit of this doctrine, contends Burling Lowrey, our values have become debased, and the old adage about not whether you win or lose but how you play the game has been destroyed. A native of Syracuse, N. Y. and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell, Mr. Lowrey has been teaching at Montgomery College outside Washington for the past 19 years. Having played football and baseball during his youth and having achieved “some success as a sprinter” on his high school track team, Mr. Lowrey has maintained a lifelong interest in sports.

It was three years ago this fall that the Arabs imposed their embargo on oil exports to this country, and Americans finally began to realize the implications of the energy crisis. One of the many questions still unresolved about this crisis is the role of the multinational oil companies, a role discussed by Mason Willrich in this issue. Mr. Willrich has recently become director of the Division of International Affairs for the Rockefeller Foundation. He is on a two-year leave from the University of Virginia Law School, where he is the John C. Stennis Professor of Law. He is the author of Energy and World Politics and Administration of Energy Shortages: Natural Gas and Petroleum. Much of the research for his article was undertaken while Mr. Willrich was a visiting research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

John Berryman’s posthumous poem, “Washington in Love,” arrived unsolicited and certainly unexpectedly one day last spring. It was sent to the magazine by Mr. Berryman’s widow, Kate, and will appear in a collection of his poetry to be published next year by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. “I do remember his feverish enthusiasm during the days he was writing the poem,” Mrs. Berryman recalls. “He talked about Washington’s human qualities and didn’t like the cold image he has for most people.” Mr. Berryman’s last book of essays, The Freedom of the Poet, is also reviewed in this issue,

The word “liberal” is persona non grata in the vocabulary of many Americans in this election year of 1976. The decline of liberalism has long concerned Murat Williams, a retired diplomat and Democratic candidate for Congress in two unsuccessful campaigns against a very conservative candidate. Mr. Williams does not recall how he came to be a liberal. “There was no blinding light on the Road to Damascus. On the other hand, I cannot remember when I was not a liberal.”

If Mr. Williams has been a life-long liberal, his liberalism is no less staunch than the consistent conservatism of the late Virginia oligarch, Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Byrd’s policies and principles are examined in this tenth autumn since his death by James R. Sweeney, Archivist of Old Dominion University. A specialist in Virginia and Southern history, Mr. Sweeney received his doctoral degree from Notre Dame. No stranger to Harry Byrd, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the conflict between the Byrd organization and Virginia liberals during the nine years between the end of World War II and the Brown decision of 1954.

A return to more normal sexual attitudes is advocated by CLOVIS, the pseudonym of a distinguished American scholar. The privacy invoked by “Clovis” for certain kinds of experience in “Attitudes toward Sex” is his reason for presenting it under a name by which he is not usually known. Suffice it to say that he first appeared in VQR almost 40 years ago and has continued to do so intermittently ever since.

With “The Children of Esau,” Clayton W. Lewis makes his debut as a VQR contributor. A graduate of Duke University and the University of Iowa, Mr. Lewis is a Marine Corps veteran who worked for an advertising agency “before getting into academic things.” For the past six years he has been teaching fiction writing and literature in the College of Arts and Science of the State University of New York in Geneseo.

A native of Hoboken, N. J., Jesse Bier is a professor of English at the University of Montana, where he has been a member of the department for the past 21 years. He is the author of numerous short stories and articles and two novels, Trial at Bannock and Year of the Cougar, which was recently published by Harcourt, Brace. He, too, is appearing in the Quarterly for the first time.

A new book of poems by Marvin Bell will be published by Atheneum in February, His previous books, all from Atheneum, are Residue of Song (1974), The Escape into You (1971), and A Probable Volume of Dreams (1969).

Nicholas Christopher has just completed his second novel, Belladonna, and is currently at work on his third book of poetry, The Rita Poems, II. He is 25 and lives in New York City.

Margaret Robison grew up in a small town in southern Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia. She moved from the South 18 years ago and for the past eight years has lived in Shutesbury, Mass. Her husband, John, is a professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

John Engels is a professor of English at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He has had three books of poems published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, the latest being Blood Mountain, which came out last March. His poems have also appeared in Sewanee Review, Yale Review, and Hudson Review,

A prolific poet, T. Alan Broughton is a professor of English at the University of Vermont. A graduate of Harvard and the University of Washington, he is also a published short story writer.

Millicent Bell, an authority on 20th-century literature, is a professor of English at Boston University and author of Hawthorne’s View of the Artist and Edith Wharton and Henry James, Her article, “Jamesian Being,” appeared in the winter issue of VQR.

M. Cameron Grey was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She went to Paris after graduating from college and has spent most of her life in Europe and the Far East.

Fred Powledge is a freelance writer who now lives in Brooklyn. He has worked for the Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal and was a race relations reporter in the South and North for the New York Times before turning to free-lancing. His latest book is Mud Show: A Circus Season,

Since receiving his Ph. D. degree from the University of Texas in 1955, Fohrest McDonald has published 14 books, primarily in the fields of early American history and 20th-century American history with an emphasis on business and economic development. Among his works dealing with early America are We The People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution and E Pluribus Unum: The Formation of the American Republic. He has written studies on the presidencies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

An assistant professor of English at the Camden, N. J. campus of Rutgers, University, Robert Moss received his Ph. D. from Columbia. He is the author of two books on film, the most recent of which is Charlie Chaplin,

A frequent VQR contributor, William C. Havard is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and was recently elected chairman of the board of the University Press of Virginia.

Jeffrey Meyers, who teaches English at the University of Colorado, has written several books on T. E. Lawrence and George Orwell. His A Fever at the Core: The Idealist in Politics and Homosexuality and Literature, 1890—1930, both of which contain chapters on Lawrence, will be published later this year.

David M. Wyatt is an assistant professor of English at the University of Virginia. He is a former pupil of Harold Bloom and holds a doctoral degree in English from Yale University.

Charles H. Foster is a former professor of English at the University of Minnesota, who has retired to Luray, Virginia. He is the author of The Rungless Ladder: Harriet Beecher Stowe and New England Puritanism.

William B. O’neal is Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

A native of New York City, Martin Lebowitz is a graduate of Columbia. He has contributed to numerous journals, including The Kenyan Review, Partisan Review, and the Yale Review.

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The authors of VQR’s new “Recordings” section have long been associated with the world of music. Stefani Walens studied music as an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College and later in graduate school at Northwestern University. Her husband, Stanley, is a cellist who studied at the New School of Music in Philadelphia. David L. Smith was in charge of programming concert music for radio stations in New England and the Middle West before coming to the University of Virginia.


Advisory Editors W. W. Abbot William S. Weedon Robert Jennings Harris J. C. Levenson Roger Shattuck Ian Stevenson J. Harvie Wilkinson, III Elisabeth R. Aaon, Business Manager

A National Journal of Literature and Discussion published since 1925 in January, April, July, and October. Subscription rates: one year, $7.00; two years, $12.00; three years, $15.00. Canadian postage, 50 cents a year; foreign postage, $1 a year. Single copies, $2.00. Title page and annual index available in November.

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