As we enter the last 20 years of the 20th century, we may well ponder whether the next two decades will once more witness a world plunging into war, perhaps the final holocaust of a planet whose centuries of conflict make history seem but a record of mankind’s massacres, misfortunes, and crimes. Certainly we Americans might well ponder where the course of warfare in this century has taken us. We entered World War I to “make the world safe for democracy” and emerged with what one eyewitness to the Versailles treaty castigated as “the peace which passeth all understanding.” Hardly more than two decades later, we went into World War II by way of Pearl Harbor and by 1945 stood supreme on the global stage—or so it seemed at the time. But the Pax Americana, if there ever was such a thing, was short-lived indeed. Just 20 years after the lights went on again all over the world, we found ourselves in the tunnel called Vietnam and spent another decade searching fruitlessly for the light at the end. Thus wars and rumors of wars have marked and marred the milestones of the American odyssey through this century, and it is perhaps fitting to reflect upon the first and the latest—the Great War and Vietnam—as we approach the century’s end.
America’s intervention in World War I is the subject of John Milton Cooper’s essay. A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mr. Cooper is no stranger to the American involvement in the First World War. His latest work, a biography of Walter Hines Page, American ambassador to London in WWI, appeared two years ago. His VQR essay was originally given as a lecture in the LBJ Library’s World War I Lecture Series,
More painful because it is so fresh in our memories is the Vietnamese conflict, and William D. Ehrhart’s account of why he went into that conflict is all the more poignant because it is so personal. Mr. Ehrhart arrived in Vietnam in February 1967. served there until late February 1968. participated in 15 major campaigns, and was wounded in action in Hue City during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Promoted to the rank of Sergeant at age 19, he later received a B.A. from Swarthmore College (1973) and an M.A. from the University of Illinois (1978), and has most recently been teaching high school English and history.
Although Raja Rao is considered one of the premier writers of the Third World, he is little known among American readers. He is, however, no stranger to Richard R. Guzman, who arranged for the Indian author to lecture and hold seminars at the University of Virginia in 1977, the same year Mr. Guzman received his doctorate degree from that institution. Now an assistant professor at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, Mr. Guzman is completing a book on Third World literature, of which his VQR essay is a part, entitled Bande Mataram: Nationhood, Character, and Style in Third World Literature.
In contemporary American literature, few writers are more prolific and versatile than Joyce Carol Oates. Novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet, Miss Oates has received many awards for her work, including the National Book Award. Her ability to produce fiction is underscored by the fact that only last fall her latest novel, Unholy Loves, was published, and her next, Bellefleur, of which her VQR story is a part, is scheduled to appear this spring.
Perhaps the most eminent Spanish poet of our time was Federico García Lorca, and VQR is honored to print a translation of one of his poems never before published in this country. Written in New York in 1929 shortly before the Great Crash, this poem is, in the words of its translator, Allen Josephs, “intensely autobiographical with its relentlessly morbid and dream-like logic and may well express the most searing moment of personal anguish in Lorca’s work.” A professor of Spanish at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Mr. Josephs has published two scholarly editions of Lorca’s work as well as many articles on the Spanish poet.
Dara Wier is the author of two collections of poems, the first, Blood, Hook, and Eye, having been published by Texas in 1977 and the second, The Eight Step Grapevine, to be published shortly by Carnegie-Mellon. A teacher at Hollins College, she is on leave this year at the University of Iowa.
One of our most prominent poets, Richard Eberhart, received the 1977 National Book Award for his Collected Poems: 1930—1976. His latest work, a book of criticism entitled Of Poetry and Poets, was published last year by Illinois (and reviewed in VQR’s Autumn 1979 issue).
Franz Wright is a young poet who resides in Ohio. He recently published a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Life of Mary.
Kim Robert Stafford has just received a doctoral degree in medieval literature and lives in Oregon.
Betsy Sholl is a poet from Virginia’s Southwest mountains, specifically from Big Stone Gap. A collection of her poems, Changing Faces, was published in 1974.
Although he is appearing for the first time in VQR, Lawrence Kearney has published poems in such periodicals as Paris Review, Missouri Review, and Chicago Review.
A recipient of a National Poetry Series Open Competition award, Wendy Salinger has a book, Folly River, scheduled to be published by Dutton in May. Her VQR poems are from that book.
Gun-Marie, the protagonist of Elizabeth Monk’s sardonic short story, has played that role before, namely, in a story called “A Cure for Death,” published by The Yale Review and listed on Martha Foley’s 1975 Roll of Honor. “Gun-Marie has cropped up over the years,” Mrs. Monk writes, “and I am now at work on a novel about her.” Mrs. Monk resides in Seattle, where her husband is a member of the Mathematics Department at the University of Washington. “We have a view of the silver Cascades and of Mount Rainier, which is powerfully large and a soft-looking white,” she reports.
Allan H. Pasco is a professor of French at Purdue University and the author of The Color-Keys to “A la recherche du temps perdu” and of numerous articles on French literature. He is completing his second book, a study of the ways French novelists have given order to their creations.
A recipient of the National Book Award for his biography of Malcolm Lowry, Douglas Day is a professor of English at the University of Virginia. Bilingual in Spanish, he, in collaboration with Alien Josephs, has completed a book of essays and photographs on the Spanish province of Andalucía.
Katie Louchheim is a veteran observer of the Washington scene. She was vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1956 to 1960, and in 1962 she became the first woman to be accorded the title of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. Mrs. Louchheim’s account of her experiences in government and politics, By the Political Sea, was published by Doubleday in 1970. Her fiction has appeared in the Ladies’ Home Journal, and she has published two volumes of poetry.
Leslie W. Dunbar is a political scientist by profession, but he has had little chance to practice that profession in recent years. Joining the South’s oldest biracial organization, the Southern Regional Council, in the late 1950’s, he served as its executive director during the racial troubles and turmoils of the early 1960’s. In 1965 he left the South to become executive director of The Field Foundation in New York, a position he still holds.
The third NBA Award winner to appear in this issue of VQR, Roger Shattuck, was a 1975 recipient for his study of Marcel Proust. He is also the author of The Banquet Years.
Allen Douglas, a former Fulbright Fellow who received his Ph.D. from UCLA, is a specialist in the history of France and the Low Countries.
While his latest work is a biography of Cotton Mather, David Levin maintains an abiding interest in contemporary American literature and particularly in the works of Bernard Malamud. Mr. Levin is a professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Gary L. McDowell is an assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College. He is the coeditor of The American Founding: Politics, Statesmanship, and the Constitution, which is due out this year.
Although he is a member of the English faculty at the University of Connecticut, Samuel Pickering, Jr. is spending this academic year in Syria, where he is teaching as a Fulbright Scholar.
Editor of The Papers of James Madison and author of a study of George Mason, Robert A. Rutland also has a keen interest in the development of American politics. That interest led him to write a history of the Democratic Party entitled The Democrats: From Jefferson to Carter, which LSU Press has just published.
An associate professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia, Alfred J. MacAdam is an authority on Latin American literature.
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