On May 17, 1954—25 years ago this spring—an era ended for the American South, the era of “separate but equal,” as the United States Supreme Court recognized reality and declared unconstitutional a doctrine that in effect kept black children separate and highly unequal. Jim Crow did not disappear overnight, of course. Indeed, during the racial turbulence of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, there was more than a grain of truth in a Northern journalist’s observation that the South was “a land of two-lane highways and one-track minds.” Today most of the two-lane highways have been replaced by asphalt ribbons of Interstate, and most of the one-track minds are at one with segregated schools and separated lunch counters. Although Southern racism has not completely gone with the wind, there does now appear to be a truly New South in which past prejudices and deep-rooted poverty are being put to rest. As a native Southerner who lived through what could be called the South’s triumphant era, Louis D. Rubin, Jr. has devoted considerable thought to the changes occurring in the past quarter-century, and the result is the lead article of this issue. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Mr. Rubin is University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His VQR essay was originally written as the conclusion of a book which he has edited for the U. S. Information Agency on the contemporary South and its writers. Probably the most prolific critic of modern Southern writing, Mr. Rubin is the editor or author of some 28 books and is now working on yet another.
Like Louis Rubin, Irby B. Cauthen, Jr. is a native South Carolinian who has devoted much of his career to the study and teaching of literature. As an educator— and as a Milton scholar and Jefferson devotee—Mr. Cauthen has long been interested in the respective ideas of the English poet and the American patriot-philosopher concerning education. Thus, when asked to deliver the annual Phi Beta Kappa address at the University of Virginia last year, Mr. Cauthen discussed Milton’s and Jefferson’s ideas of education. His VQR essay is adapted from that address. Mr. Cauthen served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia for 16 years before returning to full-time teaching in the Department of English this past fall.
Helen White and Redding S. Sugg, Jr. are husband and wife living in Memphis, where she is professor of English at Memphis State University and he a freelance writer. Their article on Shelby Foote’s The Civil War has led them to a contract with G. K. Hall Company to produce a study of all of Foote’s work for the Twayne U. S. Authors Series. They have published jointly on John Faulkner, Jesse Hill Ford, and Anne Goodwin Winslow and are coeditors of From the Mountain, an anthology of a liberal little magazine published in the 1930’s and 1940’s by Lillian Smith and Paula Snelling. Mr. Sugg is the author of two books which appeared last fall, A Painter’s Psalm: The Mural in Walter Anderson’s Cottage, published by Memphis State University Press, and Motherteacher: The Feminization of American Education, published by the University Press of Virginia.
Anne Hobson Freeman is a native of Richmond, Virginia, the setting of her short story. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Mrs. Freeman has had a varied writing career, including one stint as a student correspondent for a wire service at a Moscow youth festival in the 1950’s. Now married to a Richmond attorney and the mother of three children, she is pursuing three careers simultaneously, those of a housewife, the writing of both fiction and nonfiction, and a teacher of writing at the University of Virginia.
Stephen Minot is no stranger to readers of VQR. In fact, a portion of his new novel, Ghost Images, to be published this spring by Harper & Row, appeared in VQR’s Winter 1974 issue. His latest collection of short stories, Crossings, is available in paperback from the University of Illinois Press. His short stories have won both O. Henry and Martha Foley prize awards.
In her long career as a writer and editor, Nancy Hale has, among other things, worked as an editor at Vogue (the setting for her VQR essay), taught at Bread Loaf and other writing conferences, and been the first woman reporter hired by the New York Times.Her many works include The Prodigal Women, The Sign of Jonah, Dear Beast, a biography of Mary Cassatt, and, most recently, a children’s novel, The Night of the Hurricane.
Elizabeth Moulton was brought up in Cambridge, Mass, and graduated from Radcliffe in January 1946, the same month in which her first short story was published by Mademoiselle, the magazine she joined as an editorial assistant upon graduation and the magazine upon which she became acquainted with George Davis. At that time, Mrs. Moulton recalls, “the only room to be found in the city was in the shabby Hotel Iroquois, next to the Algonquin Hotel on 44th Street, which had been raided for immorality the week before I arrived. Although I had assured her that it was, right now, the safest hotel in New York, Mother’s face, when she saw the cop permanently stationed in the lobby, was, as they say, a picture.” Mrs. Moulton’s articles and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Redbook, McCalls, The New York Times, and Vogue.
Debora Greger’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Antaeus, and other magazines. Penumbra Press recently published a collection of her poetry.
A recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize at the University of Iowa, Jorie Graham is now teaching at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.
Linda Pastan is the author of The Five Stages of Grief, published by Norton, and has just received a fellowship from the Maryland Arts Council.
A widely published poet, Karen Swenson has taught at City College in New York and Skidmore College and is currently director of the Aspen Writers’ Conference.
Author of three published works of poetry, David Ray recently completed a novel while a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony. He is currently a visiting professor of English at Syracuse University.
Among Joseph Bruchac’s most recent publications are a novel, The Dreams of Jesse Brown, and a collection of Iroquois folktales, Stone Giants and Flying Heads.
A native of El Salvador and one of Latin America’s most distinguished poets, Clahibel Alegría now resides on the island of Majorca with her husband, Darwin J. Flakoll, the translator of one of her poems. She recently received the Casa de las Americas prize, one of the most highly sought literary awards in Latin America.
Jaime Sabines is also a Latin American poet, having made his reputation in Mexico. Only a limited number of his poems have been published in English in this country, however.
A teacher of 18th-century and Romantic literature at Mary Baldwin College, James Lott is appearing in VQR for the first time, although others of his stories have been published recently in The South Carolina Review and The Southern Humanities Review.” My poetry has appeared here and there in obscure places,” Mr. Lott writes, “and I have been spending a lot of time lately staring at the blank pages of a novel which won’t get written.”
As a contributing editor of the Washington Monthly, Michael Nelson has taken a particular interest in the role of scholars operating amid the Potomac bureaucracy. A graduate of the College of William and Mary and recipient of a Ph. D.degree in government from Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Nelson recently joined the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.
A London-based critic for VQR, Richard Jones has previously discussed The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell’s multiple-volume saga, A Dance to the Music of Time. Mr. Jones is himself a novelist, and his most recent work, Living in the 25th Hour, was published in this country by Holt, Rinehart & Winston last fall.
Patrick Samway, S. J. is chairman of the English Department at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York. He coedited with Benjamin Forkner an anthology entitled Stories of the Modern South, which Bantam published last year.
David Kirby spent the past year studying foreign fiction from the vantage point of Paris. He has now returned to Florida State University, where he is a member of the Department of English.
After receiving her Ph. D. degree from the University of Virginia, Margaret Miller Hall joined the faculty of Southeastern Massachusetts University, where she teaches classes in the 19th-century novel and women’s studies.
Suzette A. Henke teaches English at the State University of New York at Binghamton and is editing a collection of essays on Joyce’s Women Characters.
In his retirement at Luray, Virginia, Charles H. Foster, until recently professor of English at the University of Minnesota, is rereading some of his favorite Great Books, among them Montaigne’s Essays, which he has long regarded as the book in his life.
A native of Budapest, Paul Hernadi recently compiled an anthology of original essays entitled What Is Literature?, which Indiana University Press published. He is a professor of English and Comparative Literature and chairs the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa.
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