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The Green Room, Summer 1976

ISSUE:  Summer 1976

ANTHONY Powell’s twelve-volume A Dance to the Music of Time has been hailed in some literary circles as an English Remembrance of Things Past. A somewhat different view is presented by Richard Jones in this issue. Mr. Jones is himself the author of four novels, including The Three Suitors and Supper with the Borgias (both published in the United States). He was born in Wales and educated there and in France. He was for many years employed by the Reuters News Agency and the BBC. Mr. Jones says that his article was provoked by the fact that “even in Britain events have moved so quickly in the past few years that a work that started in a landscape with fixed landmarks ended in a kind of superior wasteland.”

G. Edward White received his doctorate in American studies from Yale and his law degree from Harvard. He served as a law clerk for the late Chief Justice Earl Warren after Mr. Warren retired. An Associate Professor at the University of Virginia Law School, Mr. White is the author of The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience and The American Judicial Tradition, which Oxford University Press will publish this fall.

Nancy Hale has been writing novels and short stories since she lived in New York in the early 1930’s. Her novels include The Prodigal Women, The Sign of Jonah, and Dear Beast. “I have recently completed a book about a black Virginia girlhood,” Miss Hale writes. “Currently I am working on some short pieces to which I am committed, and expect to start work shortly on a children’s book which may not turn out to be that at all. . . . I expect a new grandchild in May. What else do I know? Rien.”

The Emily Clark Balch Prizes for Poetry were awarded this year to Lisel Mueller and Donald Hall both of whose prize-winning poems appear in this issue.

Lisel Mueller winner of the first prize, has been interested in Mary Shelley for many years. After reading Mary’s Journal, Mrs. Mueller was “struck by all that was left unsaid, and I carried that load of unarticulated feeling around with me for about ten years, until one day I found the words I thought she might say if she were speaking across time, to me and to all of us in the second half of the 20th century.” The author of three books of poems, she won the Lamont Poetry prize in 1975 for her book, The Private Lives, published by LSU Press. Mrs. Mueller and her husband live in Lake Forest, Illinois and are the parents of two daughters.

Donald Hall, a frequent contributor to the Quarterly, published two books in 1975, The Town of Hill and A Blue Wing Tilts at the Edge of the Sea (a selection of his poems brought out in England). His poem, “Maple Syrup,” is, he notes, “all true. There is still some of the syrup left, though not a great deal.” He now owns the farm in Danbury, New Hampshire described in the poem. The farm was originally bought by his great grandfather, who was born in 1826 and moved there in 1865.

VQR’s Bicentennial quintet represents the magazine’s observance of the nation’s 200th anniversary.

Edmund Morgan, Sterling Professor of History at Yale, is one of the country’s foremost authorities on Colonial and Revolutionary America. His latest book, American Slavery—American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia, was nominated for the National Book Award. His essay on Washington was originally given as a lecture last fall and will appear as part of a book on Washington, Jefferson, and John Adams entitled The Meaning of Independence, which the University Press of Virginia will publish this fall.

A noted Jefferson scholar, Merrill D. Peterson has, in his words, been “lecturing widely both in the United States and Europe in this Bicentennial season.” In May alone, Mr. Peterson lectured at nine different universities in Spain, West Germany, and Ireland. His latest book, Adams and Jefferson: A Revolutionary Dialogue, will be published in the fall by the University of Georgia Press. His essay was originally given as the Founder’s Day address at the University of Virginia

Howard Trivers’s article on the Founding Fathers also stemmed from a Bicentennial lecture. “Preparing this lecture was a most exciting and rewarding experience,” he comments. “In three months I learned more about the origins and the basic institutions of the United States than in the past 50 years.” A retired Foreign Service officer, Mr. Trivers is a member of the political science department at Ball State University.

A rather distinctive view of the Bicentennial is presented by Herbert N. Nicholas, Rhodes Professor of American History and Institutions at Oxford University. Mr. Nicholas started out to be a British historian, but after going to Yale in the 1930’s as a Harkness Fellow his interest changed, simply because “America in the New Deal proved ultimately more interesting to me than Seventeenth Century England.” A Fellow of New College since 1951, Mr. Nicholas estimates he has spent four or more years of his life in the U. S. “I was doing pretty well on my bag of states—46 out of 48—until Alaska and Hawaii were added,” he recounts. “Now I’m not sure how long it will take me to complete the total.” His latest book is The United States and Britain, an outline history of the years 1781—1972, published in 1975.

To match an Oxonian’s view of America, VQR called upon Larry Sabato, a Rhodes Scholar, to give his view of Oxford in this Bicentennial season. A graduate of the University of Virginia who attended graduate school at Princeton as a Danforth Fellow, Mr. Sabato is now working toward a doctorate in political science. Quite coincidentally, his supervisor is none other than Mr. Nicholas.

Ann Beattie is the author of two books, which will be published simultaneously by Doubleday in August: a novel, Chilly Scenes of Winter, and a collection of stories, Distortions. Her story in this issue of VQR will be included in that volume of stories. She frequently publishes fiction in The New Yorker and has also had stories in Bitches and Sad Ladies, an anthology of fiction by women, the Atlantic, and various small magazines. She teaches fiction at the University of Virginia and lives in Cobham, Virginia with her husband and dog, Rufus (whose name usually gets edited out of her biographical information).

Another Doubleday author is Hal Bennett, whose fifth novel, Seventh Heaven, will also be published next month. His story, “Second Sunday,” is part of a collection entitled Insanity Runs in Our Family which is scheduled to be published by Doubleday in February 1977. Born in Buckingham, Virginia, Mr. Bennett grew up in New Jersey, but he remains a Virginian at heart. “Virginia figures prominently in most of my fiction,” he says. “And I have tried, with small success, to analyze why my grandfather’s farm in Buckingham—of which I am now part owner—and those terribly unhappy summers spent there, have engraved themselves so graphically on my memory. Yet, there is something about the old homestead—indeed, the very state itself—which haunts me.”

A critic and teacher, Paul Fussell received the National Book Award this spring for his work on The Great War and Modern Memory.

Charles Maechling came to know Averell Harriman while working in the U. S. State Department during the 1960’s.

J. D. O’hara, who frequently commints on books in the New York Times Book Review and elsewhere, is a Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. His review was written well before JR won the National Book Award for fiction.

Clark A. Chambers, chairman of the History Department at the University of Minnesota, has long been interested in the works of John Steinbeck, particularly since his dissertation, subsequently published as California Farm Organizations, included a major focus on migratory labor and its problems, so well described by Steinbeck in In Dubious Battle and Grapes of Wrath.

Dorothy Twohig is now serving as an editor of The Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia, having previously worked on the editing of The Papers of Alexander Hamilton.

Paul Roazen is the author of Freud: Political and Social Thought, Brother Animal: The Story of Freud and Tausk, Freud and His Followers, and is Professor of Political and Social Science at York University in Toronto.

John Adam Moreau has served as Latin-American correspondent for both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, He received a doctorate in history from the University of Virginia and is the author of Randolph Bourne: Legend and Reality.

*   *   *

With this issue VQR inaugurates a new section in its “Notes on Current Books.” The section, simply titled “Cookbooks,” is designed to offer brief reviews of the latest works in one of book publishers’ most popular categories. “Cookbooks” is jointly written by Walker Cowen, Director of the University Press of Virginia, and his Parisian wife, Claudine. The Cowens say the only thing they enjoy more than reading cookbooks is actually using them.


Advisory Editors W. W. Abbot William S. Weedon Robert Jennings Harris J. C. Levenson Roger Shattuck Ian Stevenson J. Harvie Wilkinson, III Elisabeth R. Aaron, Business Manager

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.

Manuscripts must be accompanied by postage for return and addressed to The Editor. The magazine does not assume responsibility for the views expressed by contributors of articles.

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