From Homer’s “wine dark” to Melville’s “great shroud” to what author John Seelye deplores as “the most trivialized ocean yet invented”—that of Jaws— the sea has both fascinated and frightened man. And it has loomed large in literature from the time of The Odyssey to the age of the Nautilus (submarine). Moreover, while Jaws creator Peter Benchley and Jacques Cousteau (who in Mr. Seelye’s words, has created “a kind of underwater Disneyland”) threaten to turn the subject of the sea into what might be called an ocean opera, the wonders of the deep are certain to retain their fascination. It is debatable, however, whether they will ever bring forth another Moby-Dick. As Mr. Seelye points out, things haven’t been the same for the sea since the first screen version of Melville’s great novel in which John Barrymore played Ahab and lived happily ever after. Mr. Seelye’s interest in water and writing is of long standing. “During the late 60’s,” he writes, “I taught a course in maritime literature at the Munson Institute in Mystic, Conn, and have served as consultant in such matters for Oregon State University and Northeastern University.” Mr. Seelye does not confine himself to salt water alone: he is completing a three-volume work on the rivers of America, one of which has already been published. An Alumni Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. Seelye is also serving as a Phi Beta Kappa Traveling Scholar this academic year.
The televised version of Brideshead Revisited has given millions of Americans an opportunity to view the sublime splendor of Oxford University, and one of Oxford’s most illustrious 19th-century figures is the subject of Paul Barolsky’s essay, namely, art critic Walter Pater. But if the TV Brideshead has caused a new interest in Evelyn Waugh’s novel among the general public, the current popularity of Pater and his works is largely confined to the groves of academe. Yet, as Mr. Barolsky observes, Pater produced an enduring masterpiece in The Renaissance, the first edition of which appeared in 1873 as Studies in the History of the Renaissance. Mr. Barolsky himself is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance as well as an associate professor of art history at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Infinite Jest: Wit and Humor in Italian Renaissance Art, published in 1978, and Daniele da Volterra: A Catalogue Raisonné, which appeared the following year. Mr. Barolsky is now working on a book dealing with Bernard Berenson and 19th-century art criticism.
The desegregation of institutions of higher learning in the South has been a long, time-consuming, and sometimes violent (as in the case of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi in 1962) process. Even now, two decades after Meredith’s admittance at Ole Miss, the Department of Education is still badgering Southern states to enroll more black students at once all-white colleges and universities. Yet, as Charlotte Scott makes clear in the case of Virginia, many black students are not being prepared in high school to enter college. In fact, as recently as 1980, only half of black seniors in Virginia’s public high schools could even hope to apply to college. The other half were not enrolled in a college-preparatory program. Mrs. Scott’s VQR article is based on a study she made for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to help the Council better plan for future college and university enrollments, particularly the enrollments of black students. She was also assisted in the study by John A. Alexander, her research assistant at the Tayloe Murphy Institute at the University of Virginia, where Mrs. Scott is a University Professor of Business Administration and Commerce. A graduate of Barnard College and the University of Chicago School of Business, Mrs. Scott worked as an assistant vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago before moving to Virginia in 1971. She is a former member of the National Advisory Council for the U. S. Small Business Administration and former president of the Women’s Board of the Chicago Urban League.
A native of South Carolina, Ashley Mace Havird is making her debut as a short story writer in this issue of VQR. Mrs. Havird attended Furman University, graduated from the University of South Carolina, and attended graduate school at the University of Florida. She is a former student of noted short story writer Peter Taylor and is working on a novel when she can spare time from her job as a librarian.
Cynthia Huntington won the 1980 Balch Prize for her poem “No One.” She is now working as a reporter in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
A member of the faculty at SUNY in Buffalo, Irvin Feldman is a widely published poet. His VQR poem is the title poem from his forthcoming book, The Salon of the Famous Babies, to be published in early 1983 by Viking/Penguin.
Dave Smith is Director of Creative Writing at the University of Florida and a graduate of the University of Virginia. His VQR poems are from his forthcoming book, The House of the Judge, which Harper & Row is publishing.
Greg Kuzma edits both Pebble and The Best Cellar Press. He is a member of the faculty of the University of Nebraska and has just completed a new book entitled The Uncorrected World.
Michael Cadnum’s new chapbook, The Morning of the Massacre, will be brought out this year by the Belier Press. His poetry has appeared in such magazines as the Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, and Carolina Quarterly.
A resident of Missoula, Montana, Rich Ives is editor of the Owl Creek Press and a previous VQR poetry contributor.
John Vernon teaches in the State University of New York at Binghamton and has published widely.
A professor of English at Boston University, Millicent Bell is a noted authority on American literature. Her recent biography of the novelist John P. Marquand won widespread critical acclaim. She is also the author of Hawthorne’s View of the Artist and Edith Wharton and Henry James. She has also written several articles previously for VQR as well as such publications as Partisan Review, Sewanee Review, and Saturday Review. Her Huck Finn essay was composed in a setting somewhat more cosmopolitan than the setting of Twain’s famous novel, a place called Paris, where she was on leave last year.
Louis J. Halle is a familiar figure to readers of VQR. He has been contributing to the magazine ever since he left the Department of State back in the early 1950’s. A prolific writer, with prolific interests, including seabirds, Mr. Halle is the author of such books as Civilization and Foreign Policy, Men and Nations, The Cold War’s History, and his magnum opus, Out of Chaos. He is a professor emeritus of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, where he still resides.
Although she is appearing in VQR for the first time, Bobbie Ann Mason is a widely published short story writer, whose stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic, Redbook, and North American Review. Her short story, “Shiloh,” originally published in The New Yorker, was selected for the Houghton Mifflin anthology, Best American Short Stories, 1981. A native of Kentucky, she now lives in Pennsylvania and is working on a collection of stories to be published by Harper & Row.
Burling Lowrey, a professor of English at Montgomery College outside Washington, has contributed many essays and book reviews to a variety of publications, including VQR, New Republic, and the New York Times.
Peter Corodimas is the third fiction writer to make his VQR debut in this issue. A resident of Morrisonville, New York, he studied under Richard Altick, an eminent scholar of Victorian literature, at Ohio State.
Christopher Clausen is a member of the English Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and author of a new book on the future of contemporary poetry, The Place of Poetry: Two Centuries of an Art in Crisis.
Even though the books written about the area would fill several libraries, the American West continues to exert its spell on Americans, and it is the subject of three different reviews in this issue. The first is by David Kirby, a member of the English Department at Florida State University. He recently completed a book called The Sun Rises in the Evening: Monism and Quietism in Western Culture, which the Scarecrow Press will publish this year.
A frequent VQR reviewer, David Wyatt is a native Westerner, having grown up in California. He received his undergraduate degree at Yale, his Ph. D. at Berkeley, and is a member of the English faculty at the University of Virginia.
A professor of history at Indiana University, Bernard W. Sheehan is a former associate editor of the Journal of American History and a former Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Fellow.
Jeffrey Meyers is a member of the English faculty at the University of Colorado. A prolific writer, he is the author of three books on George Orwell.
William E. Cain is a member of the Department of English at Wellesley College.
Francis Coleman Rosenberger is editor of the Records of the Columbia Historical Society of Washington, D. C.
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