At the time of his death in 1936, German philosopher of history Oswald Spengler might well have felt that The Decline of the West he had foreseen in his classic study was as imminent as, in his opinion, it was inevitable. Hitler reigned in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and Stalin in the Soviet Union. As it was the era of dictatorships, so, too, it was the decade of the Great Depression. Everywhere, the West appeared to be in disarray, if not on the verge of disintegration. Yet, despite the horror and the Holocaust of World War II, the collapse of colonialism and the rise of the Third World, the West somehow survived—and ultimately prospered as never before in its history. Now, though, both in America and Western Europe, happy days are anywhere but here again. The economies of the U. S. and Western Europe are stagnant, and unemployment has risen to levels not seen since the Depression. Dictatorship, not democracy, is the prevailing system of government in the Third World, and communism is perceived as a threat to freedom in most areas of the globe. Small wonder, then, that the Spenglerian vision of the decline and fall of the West has again arisen like the phoenix from the ashes. In her reconsideration of Spengler’s work, Adda B. Bozeman reflects on how the course of postwar American diplomacy in the Third World might have been altered if the policy makers in Foggy Bottom had given more careful consideration to what the German philosopher saw as the futility of trying to impose Occidental values on Oriental societies. Had they paid attention to Spengler, perhaps, for example, American diplomats would not have come such a cropper in Iran. A professor emeritus of international relations from Sarah Lawrence College, Mrs. Bozeman recently completed a report, commissioned by the U. S. Information Agency, on “U. S. Foreign Policy: The Prospects for Democracy, National Security, and World Peace.”
Ever since the coming of the New Deal 50 years ago, the rich and the right wing of the Republican Party have been decrying the growth of what they label “Big Government.” Indeed, the crusade against such government had much to do with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Now, in an article as cogent as it is certain to be controversial, Bernard P. Kiernan argues that if big government did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it, considering the complexities of modern society and the interdependence of nations. “My last article in the VQR,” Mr. Kiernan writes, “”The Myth of Peace through Strength” (Spring 1981) drew considerable attention from a growing body of people, here and in Europe, who are increasingly alarmed by the nuclear arms race. . . . The editors of Der Spiegel in West Germany translated and published a shortened version as part of a general series on American nuclear policy.” Mr. Kiernan is a professor of political science at Concord College in Athens, West Virginia.
Not only is George Garrett a prolific poet and novelist, he is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on social life in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Combining his historical knowledge with his creative talent, Mr. Garrett produced a widely praised novel about Sir Walter Raleigh, Death of the Fox, in 1971. Now, after additional years of research, he has completed a new novel about the period, Elizabeth and James, of which his VQR story, “Laughter in the Dark and Other Things,” is an excerpt.
The co-editor of Poetry East, Richard Jones has just published his first chapbook, Windows and Walls.
Sydney Lea’s new book of poems, The Floating Candles, has just been published by Illinois.
A teacher at Middlebury College, Robert Pack is also director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Pattiann Rogers’ first book of poems, The Expectations of Light, was a Princeton publication in its series of contemporary poets.
Harvey Gross is the author of The Structure of Verse and a teacher of comparative literature at SUNY, Stony Brook.
Marilyn Butler is the author of a new book of poems entitled Half Past Sunset.
John Skoyles is a member of the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, whose first book of poems, Little Faith, came out last year.
Linda Gregerson’s VQR poems are part of a forthcoming book.
Stephen Dunn recently published his fourth collection of poems, Work and Love.
Shirley Kaufman is the author of numerous collections of poems, her latest being a book-length sequence called Claims.
Jack Myers teaches at Southern Methodist University and is the author of The Poet’s Footwork: A Sourcebook on Poetry to be published by Longman next year.
After receiving his undergraduate degree at Yale, Max Putzel taught at Washington University as an instructor and received his M. A. degree. Then, however, his academic career “was interrupted by 20 years of editorial work on the staffs of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Common Sense and the publishing firm of Duell, Sloan & Pearce.” Returning to academia after this two-decade hiatus, Mr. Putzel took his Ph.D. in English at Yale at age 48. He subsequently served as associate dean of the graduate school at the University of Connecticut, where he retired as a professor emeritus of English. An earlier version of his VQR essay was presented to a Faulkner Round Table at the University of Florence sponsored and chaired by Professor Mario Materassi.
Although the subject of his VQR essay is the habitat of Flannery O’Connor, like Max Putzel, Arthur F. Kinney is a Faulkner scholar. He is the author of Faulkner’s Narrative Poetics published in 1978 and is now editing a five-volume collection of essays on Faulkner’s families, the first of which, The Compson Family, came out last November. Mr. Kinney is a professor of English and American literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and affiliate professor of English at Clark University.
A young (26) writer making his first appearance in VQR, T. R. Pearson holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English literature from North Carolina State University. A native of Winston-Salem, he now makes his home in Raleigh, where he supports himself by working as a house painter.
After graduating from Harvard, Bernard C. Schoenfeld attended the Yale Drama School and subsequently produced two plays on Broadway. In World War II he ran the radio section of the Office of War Information. Much of his postwar career was spent in Hollywood, where he produced nine motion pictures and several television series, including 40 Alfred Hitchcock shows.
A resident of San Luis Obispo, California, Paula A. Keisler has published stories in such journals as Redbook, Crosscurrents, and MSS.”The Bouzouki” is her first VQR story.
Paul M. Gaston, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, has taught Southern history there since 1957. He is the author of The New South Creed, a book he describes as “written like I was a disciple of C. Vann Woodward.” Mr. Gaston is now at work on a history of the single-tax colony of Fairhope, Alabama, a colony founded by his grandfather.
David Kirby teaches English at Florida State University. He is the author of The Sun Rises in the Evening: Monism and Quietism in Western Culture, recently published by Scarecrow Press, and is presently writing The Plural World: A Guide to the Languages of the Mind.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, George C. Freeman, Jr. received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt. After three years of service as a U. S. Navy officer, he entered the Yale University Law School, from which he graduated in 1956. He then served a year at the U. S. Supreme Court as a law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black. Since 1957 he has been a member of the law firm of Hunton and Williams in Richmond, Virginia.
A professor in the Department of Classics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, J. A. S. Evans was recently elected president of the Classical Association of Canada.
Thomas Swiss is director of the Writing Workshop at Drake University and author of a recently published chapbook, Rounds. His poetry has appeared in such journals as The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, and Transatlantic Review.
Raymond Nelson is the author of a recent biography of critic Van Wyck Brooks.
Jack Welch is an associate professor of English and coordinator of the program for the humanities at the University of West Virginia. He received his doctoral degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, where his dissertation was on “Davis Grubb: A Vision of Appalachia.”
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