As William Attwood observes in this issue’s lead essay, few Americans over 30 years old have forgotten where they were and what they were doing on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. Nor are they likely to: such was the dimension of the tragedy that ended the 1,000-day term of the youngest citizen ever elected to the nation’s highest office. Today, however, two decades after Kennedy was killed, both his life and the legend that grew up around him—”Camelot” and all that—are more often ridiculed than revered. Kennedy’s New Frontier is now widely regarded as the route which took us into Vietnam, and whatever he may have accomplished is obscured by lurid stories of sexual scandal. It is almost as though a noble Henry V had turned into a foppish and foolhardy Falstaff. Withal, though, the fact remains that millions around the world mourned Kennedy’s passing 20 years ago, and, however much his reputation has diminished since, one can still recall his vigor, vibrance, and valor. This is particularly true for those who, like Mr. Attwood, knew Kennedy and served in his administration.
A journalist by profession and a longtime Democrat by persuasion, Mr. Attwood graduated from Princeton in 1941, served with the U. S. Army in World War II, rising to the rank of captain, and was a New York Herald Tribune correspondent in Paris (where he was born of American parents on Bastille Day, 1919) and at the United Nations between 1946 and 1949. He was the European correspondent for Collier’s magazine from 1949 to 1951, when he joined Look as its European editor. He later returned to this country, where he was successively national editor and foreign editor for Look. In 1961 he was appointed by Kennedy to be the U. S. ambassador to Guinea, a position he held until 1963, when he became a special adviser to the American delegation to the United Nations. After a two-year stint as our ambassador to Kenya (1964—66), MR. Attwood became editor-in-chief of Cowles Communications, Inc. He ended his distinguished journalistic career as president and publisher of Newsday.
Even though he is now a well-known psychiatrist, Robert Coles’ first love remains literature (he majored in English at Harvard as an undergraduate before he entered that institution’s medical school), and one of Dr. Coles’ favorite authors has long been Charles Dickens. Thus when asked to teach a course at Harvard Law School in 1981, Dr. Coles decided to combine literature and law by examining the role of lawyers in the novels of Dickens. When asked by the University of Virginia Law School to deliver its first annual McCorkle Lecture last spring, Dr. Coles chose to discuss “Dickens and The Law,” and his VQR essay is adapted from that lecture.
One of Dickens’ literary compatriots was the Victorian poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and he was the subject of another inaugural lecture this past year, one given at Washington and Lee University by Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., President Emeritus of the University of Virginia. Mr. Shannon gave the first Shannon-Clark Lecture in the Department of English at Washington and Lee, a lecture named partly in honor of his father (a professor of English and chairman of the department for 23 years) and partly for the grandmother of the anonymous donor. Mr. Shannon himself received his B. A. degree from W & L, his master’s from Duke, and his D. Phil, in Literature from Oxford University, where he studied at Merton College as a Rhodes Scholar. He was president of the University of Virginia from 1959 until 1974 and is now a Commonwealth Professor of English at that institution.
A social worker by profession, Mel Brenner is a native of Philadelphia who has lived in Madison, Wisconsin since 1968. In his varied career he has been a family counselor, administrator, and a university professor.
Irving Louis Horowitz is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University, Hannah Arendt Chair, and Director of Studies in Comparative International Development. He is also editor-in-chief of Transaction/ SOCIETY, the leading multidisciplinary periodical in American social science. Before coming to Rutgers in 1969, Mr. Horowitz was professor of sociology at Washington University. He has held visiting professorships at the universities of Stanford, Wisconsin, and California; and overseas at the London School of Economics, the University of Buenos Aires, the National University of Mexico, Queen’s University in Canada, the University of Tokyo, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Recently, he has turned his attention to the relationship between political policy making and the new computer technology. He has written earlier pieces on the political implications of publishing for Scholarly Publishing, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Journal of Information Science.
Joann Kobin’s short stories have appeared in such publications as The Remington Review, Ascent, The Massachusetts Review, and Ploughshares, and she is now working on a novel.
Long a resident of the District of Columbia, Sylvia Sunderlin writes a monthly column for House Beautiful magazine and serves as a consulting editor for The Association for Childhood Education International, whose headquarters are in Washington. She is co-editor of Children and Stress, a book published by ACEI. In addition, she wrote a children’s book, Antrim’s Orange, which Scribner’s brought out in 1975. She has several other books in various stages of growth.
Although he now resides in Syracuse, New York, where he teaches courses in composition and rhetoric at Syracuse Univerity, Edward Falco grew up in the Williamsburg-Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. The letter accepting his VQR story came, he says “as an added bonus on a week full of prizes, the most illustrious being the birth of my daughter, Susan.” “The Foaling Man” is taken from The Dream of a Perfect City, a recently completed collection of short fiction. Other stories from the manuscript have been published or accepted for publication by Akros Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Aspen Anthology, Chautauqua Review, Kansas Quarterly, and Southern Humanities Review.
Kate Daniels is co-editor of Poetry East and teaches at the University of Virginia. Her first collection of poems was recently awarded the Sharrit Prize and will be published by Pittsburgh.
Cleopatra Mathis is teaching at Dartmouth College.
A previous VQR poet, Keith Althaus lives in Provincetown, Mass.
Conrad Hilbury is a widely-published poet who teaches at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
Alice Fulton is a Junior Fellow with the University of Michigan Society of Fellows. Her first book, Dance Script with Electric Ballerina, will be published this fall by Pennsylvania.
Leslie E. Taylor, Jr. is a graduate of the University of Denver whose poems have appeared in such publications as Poetry, West Branch, and Puerto Del Sol.
Paul C. Nagel is director of the Virginia Historical Society. His most recent book is Descent from Clory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family, a work published earlier this year by Oxford. The book was a major selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.
Daniel J. Cahill received his doctoral degree in English from the University of Iowa in 1966. He is now a member of the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. His articles and reviews have appeared in such publications as The New Republic, The Chicago Review, The North American Review, and the Washington Post.
A poet himself (see VQR Summer 1983), Hank Lazer was recently promoted to associate professor of English at the University of Alabama. He holds a doctoral degree in English from the University of Virginia.
Philip F. Gura is Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His most recent book is A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory: Puritan Radicalism in New England, 1620—1660.
Robert Weisbrot is an assistant professor of history at Colby College in Maine. He has written for the Harvard International Review and The New Republic and is the author of Father Divine and the Struggle for Racial Equality.
August A. Imholtz, Jr. is a classics scholar who studied at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Gottingen in West Germany, and the Johns Hopkins University.
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