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The Green Room, Spring 1977

ISSUE:  Spring 1977

As the nation enters its third cenury and as the 20th century draws to a close, Americans find themselves facing problems of unprecedented complexity and magnitude—critically short supplies of energy, the population explosion, the clash between the developed and undeveloped nations, and, most of all, the proliferation of atomic weapons which could destroy the civilization man has worked so long to build. The place of a university in resolving these problems is paramount, as J. Harvie Wilkinson III concludes with convincing clarity. Thus, at least with respect to universities, the future requires something very different from the years of turmoil from which campus life has only recently emerged. An Associate Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, Mr. Wilkinson was appointed to the Board of Visitors of that institution while still in its law school, becoming the youngest member ever to serve on this group. Last year he was recipient of the first annual Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award as the outstanding young classroom teacher at Virginia. The author of two books and numerous articles, primarily on constitutional law, Mr. Wilkinson began pondering the future role of the American university while “having to make a career decision whether to teach or practice law.” A native of Richmond, Va., he received his under-graduate degree from Yale University, where, under the direction of noted historian C. Vann Woodward, he wrote a thesis that subsequently became his first book, Harry Byrd and the Changing Face of Virginia Politics, 1945—1966.

An important aspect of a university’s role—the teaching of international relations—is examined by diplomat and scholar Louis J. Halle. As a practitioner of international relations, Mr. Halle spent many years in the U. S. State Department. Since 1956 he has been professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. He has written a number of books of political philosophy and history, but his principal work is the large philosophical study called Out of Chaps that Houghton Mifflin is publishing this spring. He says of his article in the present issue that it represents one of the rare occasions on which he has written anything with a message. The message arises out of his belief that the academic world is failing to provide such understanding of international relations as society needs if disaster is to be avoided.

While Mao Tse Tung became a veritable god to the Chinese during his life-time, it may be that his longtime lieutenant, Chou En-lai, will loom larger in history. For, as Lucian W. Pye points out, it was Ghou who enunciated the themes of development that China is now pursuing. Mr. Pye is Ford Professor of Political Science at M. I. T., a specialist in comparative politics with special reference to Asia. He; was born and grew up in North China and has written several books on China, including Mao Tse Tung: The Man in the Leader, China: an Introduction, and The Spirit of Chinese Politics.

Although T. Alan Broughton’s poems are familiar to VQR readers, “Traps” is his first short story to appear in the magazine The story, Mr. Broughton notes, is based on work he did as a teenager with a crew of men in upstate New York, where his family began spending its summers 30 years ago. “There was a bear they named Crafty and regarded with deference, even awe,” says Mr. Broughton. “I don’t think even ten years ago, when I first began working on the story, that I would have had the temerity to invent another Bear. But since Crafty inhabited my dreams for years or stalked me in night walks, I felt he was sufficiently mine.” A Professor of English at the University of Vermont, Mr. Broughton has recently completed his first novel. A Family Gathering, which Dutton will publish in May.

Richard H. King is working on a study of Southern intellectuals—novelists, poets, historians, sociologists, and journalists— during the critical years from 1930 to 1954. He feels that William Alexander Percy “is an important figure in such a study and deserves more attention than he has received up to now.” As a native of East Tennessee and a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Mr. King feels that Will Percy represented “a quite different ‘South’ than the one I have experienced.” Accordingly, his essay is “as much an effort at sheer understanding of an alien but strangely appealing figure as it is an attempt to judge and to criticize.” Mr. King, who received a doctorate in history from the University of Virginia in 1971, is the author of The Party of Eros and numerous articles and reviews.

Louis D. Rubin, Jr. has written or edited more than 20 books, many of them about Southern cultural and literary history. His latest work, Virginia, will be published by Norton in August as a volume of its “The States and the Nation” series. A native of the Old Dominion, Mr. Rubin is University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is a former chairman of the English Department at Hollins College and a former editorial writer for The Richmond News Leader.

Jeffrey Hopkins is an assistant professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia. He is currently editing an oral discourse by the Dalai Lama, a personal acquaintance, on Tibetan Tantra. The versatile Mr. Hopkins is not only fluent in Tibetan but Anglo-Saxon as well, and thus his translation of an elegy, “The Wanderer,” “dated roughly at 750 A.D., give or take a century or two.” He received a magna cum laude B. A. degree from Harvard and a Ph. D. degree from the University of Wisconsin. He has published three books, including The Buddhism of Tibet and the Key to the Middle Way, and is currently working on three more.

After his war years with Nathan Bedford Forrest, John P. Sisk resumed his teaching career at Gonzaga University in his native Spokane, Washington, where he had begun as a teaching fellow in 1938. A Professor of English Literature and former chairman of Gonzaga’s English Department, he is the author of a novel, A Trial of Strength, which was a 1961 winner of the Carl Foreman Award for the best short novel, and Persons and Institutions, a non-fiction work. His essays and reviews have appeared in such magazines as the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The Shakespeare Quarterly, and The American Scholar. He served as a special consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1975 and 1976.

Having lived in France and become a confirmed Francophile, Tom Molyneux would like to go back there to live. In the meantime, he is teaching creative writing at the University of Delaware, completing a novel, and working on a book of short stories, several of which have been published in various literary magazines, but he is appearing in VQR for the first time.

Louise Conant is a member of Poets Who Teach, a group working with elementary school children in the Wellesley, Massachusetts public schools. “I came to poetry late,” she writes, “after years of teaching English in high school.” She, too, is appearing in VQR for the first time.

Hank Lazeh, currently a lecturer in English at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses in American literature and in poetry writing, recently accepted an appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Alabama where he will begin teaching in 1977—78. A collection of his poems will be published this year by Alderman Press, including several which previously appeared in VQR.

Wyatt Prunty has contributed poems to The Georgia Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Sewanee Review, and The Southern Review. A graduate student in the English Department at Louisiana State University, he recently completed a manuscript entitled False Floors.

Anthony Netboy is a retired professor of English as well as a former writer for the U. S. government. In the latter capacity, while writing a book on the problems of developing the Columbia River in Oregon, he became an expert on salmon and has written a book, The Atlantic Salmon: A Vanishing Species?, the first comprehensive history of the salmon’s fate in any language. His VQR article is based on a book he is completing entitled Voltaire’s English Love Affair. As for people puzzled by his interest in both Voltaire and the salmon, Mr. Netboy replies, “I can only repeat what a witty Englishman we met in Geneva said, “Ah, two fishy subjects. “”

Harold H. Kolb, Jr. is currently at work on a book about Mark Twain. An associate professor of English at the University of Virginia, he is the author of The Illusion of Life: American Realism As a Literary Form and A Field Guide to the Study of American Literature. He is a graduate of Amherst College, a former Navy pilot, and the recipient of an M. A. degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph. D. degree from Indiana University.

William S. Weedon has been University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia since 1963. He has made numerous trips to the Far East since 1945, spending most of his time in Japan.

Elizabeth Langhohne, who lives part of the year in Puerto Rico, has long been interested in Latin American literature. She recently completed an interpretive biography of William Faulkner and is currently working on a novel with a Caribbean setting. She is also the author of Nancy Astor and Her Friends. Mrs. Lanchorne, whose permanent residence is in Albemarle County, Va., served two terms as president of The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

David Kirby teaches American literature and writing courses at Florida State University and has recently completed a book on Reconstruction historian and fiction writer Grace King.


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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