Although he attained eminence as a literary critic, as editor of The American Mercury, and as the author of many books, H.L. Mencken was first, foremost, and finally a newspaper man. Or, as the sage of Baltimore told Henry Wallace at the Progressive party convention in 1948, “I’m H.L. Mencken of the Baltimore Sun papers.”
It is this Mencken, the journalistic Mencken, that Louis B. Rubin, Jr. discusses in his latest VQR essay, originally given as the 1994 Annual Mencken Day lecture at the Pratt Library in Baltimore last fall. A member of the IWNM Club himself (“I was a newspaperman myself”), Mr. Rubin worked on newspapers in Virginia and New Jersey as well as for the Associated Press before he began a career of scholarship that has made him the dean of Southern literary criticism. After receiving his Ph. D.at Johns Hopkins, Mr. Rubin taught there, at Hollins College, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now a professor emeritus, he continues his association with the Algonquin Press of Chapel Hill, which he founded, and he continues to write essays and books. Among his many books are The Golden Weather, a novel The Faraway Country, Writers of the Modern South, George W. Cabel: The Life and Times of a Southern Heritage, and William Eliot Shoots a Bear: Essays on the Southern Literary Imagination. Mr. Rubin is also an ardent sailor and baseball fan.
Jack Fischel is well qualified to discuss the “new anti-Semitic axis” since he is co-editor of Jewish-American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia, published in 1992 by Garland as well as co-editor of Holocaust Studies Annual of which five volumes thus far have been published.Mr. Fischel is chairman of the Department of History at Millersville University in Millersville, PA.He has also contributed articles and reviews to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Midstream, Present Tense, and American Jewish History.
A graduate of Harvard University, class of 1955, John Taylor lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. His essays and reviews have appeared in the Sewanee Review, the Nation, the New England Quarterly, the Georgia Review, the American Scholar, the Village Voice and elsewhere. “Working, Networking, and Notworking” is, however, his first contribution to VQR.
A prolific novelist and short story writer, William Hoffman has won the Annual Short Story Prize from Shenandoah, the 1992 John Dos Passes Prize from Longwood College for his fiction, and the 1988 VQR Emily Clark Balch Prize. He is the author of nine novels including God Fires and The Land That Drank the Rain. He is also the author of several collections of short stories including By Land, By Sea published by Louisiana in 1988.He is a resident of Charlotte Court House in Southside, Virginia.
Michael J. Katz is a philosopher on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.He received a B.A. in chemistry from Harvard and an M.D., Ph. D.in neurobiology from Case Western. His many books include Socrates in August: From Incondensable Complexity to Myth, The Herbalist, and a children’s book Ten Potatoes in a Pot. He has also contributed innumerable articles to a variety of publications.
Although she now resides in Seattle, Ann Pancake is a native of West Virginia. Her work has been published in Antietam Review, Wind, The Best of Wind, and Hawaii-Pacific Review among others.
Paul Barolsky is a professor of art history at the University of Virginia and an author of a trilogy on Renaissance art and ideas, the titles being Michaelangelo’s Nose (1990), Mono Lisa’s Smiles (1991), and Geoto’s Fall (1992), all published by Penn State.Mr. Barolsky is spending this spring in Florence doing further research on the Renaissance for a future book.
Leora Freedman won first place in the Robert Downs Fiction Contest at the University of Arizona, where she received a Masters of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. She also won the Hoepfner Award for Best Short Story in the Southern Humanities Review. Her stories have appeared in Kansas Quarterly, Southern Humanities Review, Northeast Journal, and Passages North Anthology.
David Wagner teaches at the University of Washington in Seattle and is a prolific poet whose poems have appeared in scores of journals.
Robert Hill Long is a member of the faculty at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His poems have recently appeared in Poetry, Hudson Review, Kenyan Review, and New England Review.
D. S. Burnham is a poet who lives in Philadelphia. She is making his VQR debut.
Lisa Gade is a member of the administrative faculty at Boston University. Her poems have appeared in the Southern Poetry Review and Kalliope. She also plays trumpet with the Boston University Orchestra and the New England Conservatory.
A graduate of Vassar College, Elizabeth W. Holden later studied at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. She taught English at Warren Wilson College and now works as a Guardian ad Litem with abused and neglected children.
Baron Wormser lives in Maine and is the author of three books of poetry.
Bruce Beasley’s second book of poems, The Creation, won the 1993 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award and was recently published. He has published poems in Anteaus, Field, Hudson Review and other journals. He teaches at Western Washington University in Bellingham.
Kathleen Norris is the author of Dakota, a spiritual memoir which was on the New York Times bestseller list. She is currently working on essays on the connections between nomastic practice and the discipline of writing.
A former editor of Commentary magazine, Morris Freeman is professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Maryland. He has also taught at the City College of New York and the University of Mexico. He writes often on education and literature.
Lewis Bogaty lives in New York City. His stories have appeared in Mississippi Review, Kansas Quarterly, ACM, and others. He has received a Kansas Arts Commission/ Kansas Quarterly Fiction Award and a Bronx Council on the Arts Award for fiction.
As a sequel to his VQR memoir of Paris 1944, which appeared last autumn, Booton Herndon now recalls his experiences during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944—45.The recipient of five battle stars during his service with the U.S.Army in World War II, Mr. Herndon became a freelance writer after the war. He is the author of more than 1000 magazine articles and 23 books.
Martin Ochs grew up in Chattanooga, served with the U.S.Army in Europe during World War II, and graduated from Princeton after the war. He then served as a New York Times correspondent in London, Paris, and Berlin before returning to his native Chattanooga to join the Chattanooga Times, where he became editor in 1958, serving until 1970.Mr. Ochs later spent more than a decade teaching journalism at the American University in Cairo.
Robert Zaretsky holds a Ph. D. in history from the University of Virginia, is an assistant professor in the Honors College and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages at the University of Houston, and just published his first book, the title being Nimes at War: Religion, Politics, and Public Opinion in the Gard, 1938—1944 and the publisher being Penn State.
John Piller received his Ph. D. in English from the University of Virginia and is now on the faculty of the University of Richmond. He is also a poet.
A native Virginian, Charles (“Chic”) Moran is a Quaker who worked with the Quakers in post-World War II Poland. He later served for many years as director of printing at the University of Virginia. He is now retired and lives in Albemarle County.
Sanford Pinsker is a professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and a prolific contributor to a variety of journals including this one. He has a special interest in American race relations.
Michael Rogin is a professor of political science at the University of California-Berkeley. His psychoanalytically oriented work in American history includes Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian, Subversive Genealogy: The Politics and Art of Herman Melville, and Ronald Reagan: The Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
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