The conservative philosophy, not to mention the political clout, of the Reagan administration appears to have called all in doubt about American liberalism. To some, such as neoconservative essayist Peter Shaw, liberalism has been in retreat for several years. To others, such as political scientist Peter J. Steinberger, it is more a case of advancing in a different direction, a direction away from what Mr. Steinberger calls “social engineering” yet still adhering to the path of what he terms “social justice.” But, wherever liberalism is marching, on one point Mr. Shaw and Mr. Steinberger would agree, namely this: the old liberalism of FDR, JFK, and LBJ is at one with Nineveh and Tyre. The question now is what shape the phoenix rising from the ashes of the old will take, and the answer is not likely to be forthcoming before 1988 at the earliest.
A native New Yorker, Peter Shaw received his Ph.D. degree in English from Columbia. He has taught at several institutions, including the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University of Virginia, and (this past spring) Barnard College. He served as an associate editor of Commentary in 1968—69 and is the author of The Character of John Adams (1976) and American Patriots and the Rituals of Revolution (1981). Mr. Shaw is currently completing a book of essays on the present state of intellectual discourse.
Mr. Steinberger has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. He taught at the University of Denver before moving to Reed College in Oregon, where he is an associate professor and chairman of the political science department. He is the author of Ideology and the Urban Crisis (1985), and his articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications.
A prolific author, a scholar, and a clergyman, Nathan A. Scott, Jr. received a B.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1946 and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1949. He taught at Howard University, becoming director of the general education program in the humanities there before moving to the University of Chicago in 1955. After spending more than two decades at Chicago, Mr. Scott joined the faculty at the University of Virginia as Kenan professor of religious studies and professor of English in 1976. He is currently chairman of Virginia’s religious studies department. His many books include The Tragic Vision and the Christian Faith, Modern Literature and the Religious Frontier, Forms of Extremity in the Modern Novel, Craters of the Spirit: Studies in the Modern Novel, and The Poetics of Belief.
Wendell Berry is one of the best known and most respected of contemporary poets. He continues to write from and work on his small farm in Port Royal, Kentucky. He is an essayist and a novelist as well as a poet. His Collected Poems was recently published by North Point Press.
Robert Morgan’s latest work, At the Edge of the Orchard Country, is being published this year by Wesleyan University Press. Mr. Morgan teaches at Cornell University, and his poems have appeared in such journals as Kenyon Review, Poetry Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review.
Joan Aleshire is currently on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program in Writing. Her first collection of poems, Cloud Train, was an Associated Writing Programs Award Series selection and was published by Texas Tech Press in 1982.
A resident of Danbury, New Hampshire, Jane Kenyon recently completed a second collection of poems, The Boat of Quiet Hours, and it will be published by Graywolf Press this fall.
Lisa Russ resides in Denton, Texas and is appearing in VQR for the first time.
Robert Bly is the author of more than ten collections of poetry and the translator of numerous foreign poets, including Rilke and Lorca. One of the most influential living American poets, Mr. Bly is now preparing his Selected Poems for publication.
A teacher of 18th-century and Romantic literature at Mary Baldwin College, James Lott is both a short story writer and a poet. Mr. Lott also serves as editor for the Spinal Cord Injury System of Virginia. Of his latest VQR story he writes, “It’s a story I feel strongly about (and kindly toward), since it’s about loving literature and discovering how it’s not enough” to cope with the adversity of Alzheimer’s disease.
A veteran newsman, RICHARD O’MARA is now the foreign news editor for the Baltimore Sun. During his 19-year career in journalism, he has also served as an editorial writer for The Sun as well as a foreign correspondent in Brazil. Mr. O’Mara earlier worked for the United Press International bureau in Washington, D.C. and for the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina. His reason for being a newspaperman: “It seemed like a lot of fun.”
Although she is appearing in VQR for the first time, Barbara Haas has had stories published in such journals as the Antioch Review, North American Review, Hudson Review, and Quarterly West. Her VQR story is part of a collection entitled When California Was an Island. Even though such stories are set in the Golden West, Ms. Haas is a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Viola Hopkins Winner is serving as an editor of The Letters of Henry Adams. She holds a Ph.D. degree from New York University and has taught at Sweet Briar College and the University of Virginia. Her VQR essay was originally given as a talk to the Columbia Historical Society in Washington, D.C.
Jay Parini is a poet and novelist who teaches at Middlebury College. His latest novel, The Patch Boys, is due to be published by Holt this autumn. He recently spent five months in Italy, where he finished a new book of poems, Town Life, due to be published by Holt next year.
As Hans A. Schmitt notes at the outset of his latest VQR essay, this journal overdramatized his departure from Nazi Germany in its Winter 1983 issue, and Mr. Schmitt now tells us the real story of how he left his fatherland. Long since settled in the United States, Mr. Schmitt became an historian after serving with the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. He is the author of The Path to European Union and professor of history at the University of Virginia.
A frequent VQR contributor, GEORGE Core is the editor of The Sewanee Review, and his knowledge of Southern literature is, to say the least, prodigious. Together with Thomas Edward Young, he is co-editor of a selection of the writings of John Crowe Ransom recently published by Louisiana.
A journalist, novelist, and short story writer, Ward Just first made his name as a correspondent for the Washington Post in Vietnam, where he was wounded in a Viet Cong ambush 20 years ago. His first book, To What End, was based on his Vietnamese experiences. Turning from nonfiction to fiction, Mr. Just’s first collection of stories was published under the title The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert and Other Stories. His other works include A Family Trust, In the City of Fear, and The American Blues. His new novel, The American Ambassador, will be published next year by Houghton Mifflin.
Patricia Sullivan is assistant director of the Center for the Study of Civil Rights at the University of Virginia. She is completing a book on Southern New Dealers and civil rights reform during the period 1933 to 1950.
Herbert Levine is a member of the English department at Franklin and Marshall College, who has an interest in political philosophy as well.
Alan Filreis is a member of the English faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, who received his Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Virginia.
David K. Dunaway teaches biography at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of How Can I Keep from
Singing;Pete Seeger and is working on a manuscript titled Huxley in Hollywood.
A working poet himself, Hank Lazer is a member of the English faculty at the University of Alabama. His poems have appeared in VQR and numerous other journals.
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