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The Green Room, Summer 1975

ISSUE:  Summer 1975

David Baily Harned is a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia and an avid tennis player who is, however, willing to write whenever he cannot find a tennis match. Because he is also rather a poor tennis player, he is a more or less prolific author. Ever since his article in the Virginia Quarterly on playing fair, “The Image of the Player,” in the Winter, 1971, issue, he has felt an obligation to write another on playing foul, not for athletic reasons, but because of a conviction of the ambiguity of all things human, at least before God. He has carried out his obligation by writing “The Deviant Self: Everyman as Vandal.”

Aside from some general articles on various foreign policy topics, Arthur N. Gilbert has been working on some studies of military recruitment and military justice in eighteenth-century England. Several of these studies are on the treatment of homosexual offences in military courts and this aroused his interest in attitudes toward sexuality in general during this period. “Philosophical Pessimism and the Study of War” grew out of reading that he has done in preparation for a course that the “historians” in the Graduate School of International Studies of the University of Denver are introducing on the causes of war.

“Some Buddhist Poems” were translated by Graeme Wilson from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean poems ranging in time of composition from the seventh to the sixteenth centuries. He has published several hundreds of translations of Far Eastern poetry. After six years of war service Mr. Wilson joined the British Civil Service in 1945 and has since served in a wide variety of aviation posts. Seconded to the Foreign Office in 1964 as the British Civil Aviation Representative in the Far East, he now lives in Hong Kong and is accredited as a Counsellor at some dozen diplomatic posts lying within the triangle formed by Burma, Japan, and Indonesia.

The winners of the Emily Clark Balch Prizes, given this year for short stories, live in widely separated parts of the United States: South Carolina, New York, and California. The winner of the first prize is Kent Nelson for “The Humpbacked Bird.” Second prize winners are Mary Gordon for “Now I Am Married” and J. M. Main for “Miss Stilvey.”

Kent Nelson grew up in Colorado and graduated from Yale and from Harvard Law School. He taught one year in the maximum security prison at South Walpole, Massachusetts, and since then has traveled considerably: two years in Europe, a year in Montana, two years on the South Carolina coast, and several summers on the road. He began writing in 1969 and worked for four years “in the dark.” Since 1974 he has published a number of short stories and he has just completed a novel.

Mary Gordon writes: “I’ve been writing poetry since I was eight years old, but I didn’t begin writing fiction until two years ago, as a result of joining a Woman Writer’s Collective called Rising. I was encouraged by the, women in this group to begin learning to write fiction. Rising grew from a number of women who were members of the Writing Program at Syracuse University, where I was a student and from which I received by M. A. Presently, I am working on a Ph. D. from Syracuse and writing a dissertation on Virginia Woolf. I am married to James L. Brain, the British anthropologist and specialist in East Africa.”

J. M. Main lives in Santa Barbara, California, and has lived in France and Spain. She grew up in New England and attended The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She has published stories in a number of magazines and is currently completing a book-length study of “Finnegans Wake.”

Wyatt Prunty graduated from Sewanee in 1969 and spent three long years as a gunnery officer in the Navy. After that he attended the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and he is presently a graduate assistant in English at Louisiana State University.

Elizabeth Morgan grew up in Atlanta and went to Hollins College while Louis Rubin was turning it into a four-year writers’ conference. Since then she has been teaching English at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond.

Hank Lazer writes: “I am a native Californian who has lived in Virginia for the past four years. I still spend summers with family and friends on the West coast, but I now find myself at a balance point-equally (though differently) at home here or there. My poems inhabit both coasts— the West in a more physical, concrete sense, while here, in Virginia, especially in winter, I drift, taking off from the natural setting to try my wings.

“Doctor Johnson and the Business World” is by Peter Mathias, Chichele Professor of Economic History and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. “I became interested in Johnson,” he writes, “when working on the archives of Barclay Perkins’ brewery in London (the successor to Thrale) in preparation for the book I wrote on the brewing industry in England, 1700—1830. I’m now a member of the Johnson Club, which meets in the Cock Tavern in Fleet Street in London—one of Samuel Johnson’s haunts—twice a year.”

The translations of four of Claudio Rodríguez’ poems represent the first collaborative efforts of Douglas Day, professor of English at the University of Virginia, and Nancy Forbes, a recent graduate of the University who is now doing graduate work in Madrid, Mr. Day describes how the translations came about: “We would agree on the selection of a poem. Then we’d each go home and do our separate translations. Once or twice a week we’d meet and compare what we’d done; and, by a process that involved a lot of coaxing, disputing, bragging, and bullying, turn up with a final version that was— we hoped—better than either of our separate attempts, and with luck closer to an accurate translation of what Rodríguez’ original had been like. Claudio Rodríguez is regarded as a major poet in his own country and it seems a shame that we know so little of him in this country. Hence our first efforts to present the poetry of Claudio Rodríguez, in translation, to the English-speaking world.”

“The Scarlet Letter: Through the Old Manse and the Custom House” is the work

of James M. Cox, professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of books on Robert Frost and Mark Twain, He is at work on a book on Hawthorne. Mr. Cox is interested in the problems and ambiguities of autobiography. Earlier he wrote: “I was born on a farm just west of Independence, Virginia, a farm now about to be inundated by the Appalachian Power Company in collaboration with the Federal Government. Those two powers intend to build a dam in Grayson County which, in addition to providing “needed” electricity, will also be used to flush industrial pollution out of the Kanawha River at Charleston, West Virginia. Perhaps this project, which has been in the making for almost a decade, made me feel the energy of Franklin’s electrical experiments and Adams’s vision of the dynamo in ways I didn’t know I knew. That ironic contradiction is no doubt the trap of studying autobiography, The student is, for all his fanciful interpretations, a victim of his own life. Beyond that, autobiographical form cannot really be defined; autobiographical theory is really a thicket of burrs and brambles; and autobiographical psychology threatens to engulf the student in his own obsessions even as he bravely tries to map the subject. I don’t think I’ll ever let myself get deeper into the wilderness. Others stronger than I will have to survey the territory. If I’m lucky I guess I’ll be standing by the lake that was once our farm contemplating my own reflection. That will be my Walden.”

Cyrus Hoy, author of “Shakespeare, Sidney, and Marlowe: The Metamorphoses of Love,” is professor of English at the University of Rochester. He has written “The Hyacinth Room: An Investigation into the Nature of Comedy, Tragedy, and Tragicomedy” and is currently writing a book on Elizabethan dramatic style.

Robert Halsband is professor of English at the University of Illinois. He is the author of a life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and editor of her “Complete Letters.” His most recent book is a biography, “Lord Hervey: Eighteenth-Century Courtier.” This summer Mr. Halsband will be reading papers at international conferences in London, New Haven, and Sydney, Australia. Louis O. Mink is professor of philosophy and chairman of the philosophy department at Wesleyan University and an editor of History and Theory.

Carl H. Madden has been Chief Economist for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States since 1963. He is president of the National Association of Business Economists and a director of what he describes as “the modest World Future Society . . .modest because it is open to anyone interested and is not a professional society in the usual sense. . . . We believe that some study of futuristics makes for active rather than passive scholarship; for awareness of “more things under Heaven and earth. ” ” Stanley N. Katz is professor of legal history and associate dean of the University of Chicago Law School.

Wilcomb E. Washburn’s latest book is “The Indian in America.” He is Director of the Office of American Studies at the Smithsonian Institution. From the University of Oregon William S. Hanna writes: “Teaching here in the Oregon woods remains as attractive as ever. The perspective on the rest of the country is quite different from here.” Mr. Hanna is the author of “Benjamin Franklin and Pennsylvania Politics.”

Mary Maples Dunn teaches history at Bryn Mawr College, but this year she has been a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Francis Coleman Rosenberger is a senior counsel on the staff of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. In the past several years he has been concerned with Committee hearings involving some who have had widely varying fates.

Suzette Henke teaches English at the University of Virginia. She had published articles on James Joyce and modern literature and is particularly interested in the field of women’s studies. Charles Hartshorne’s latest book is “Born to Sing: An Interpretation and World Survey of Bird Song.” He has taught philosophy for many years and at many universities in this country, Australia, Germany, India, and Japan, and has always found opportunities to learn many of the birds wherever he was.



Advisory EditorsWilliam S. WeedonFredson BowersIan StevensonW. W. AbbotRobert Jennings HarrisJ. C. LevensonRoger Shattuck


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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