When the second issue of the VQR appeared in the summer of 1925, one of its contributors was a North Carolina newspaperman named Gerald W. Johnson. Mr. Johnson was to remain a VQR contributor for the next half century, with his last article appearing in the Quarterly’s 50th anniversary issue in 1975, five years before his death in March 1980 at age 89. In the course of his long life, Mr. Johnson was one of America’s most prolific writers, producing some three dozen books of history, biography, and commentary as well as thousands of essays and editorials (H. L. Mencken recruited him as an editorial writer for the Baltimore Sunpapers in 1926, a position he held until 1943). In his time, then, Johnson was one of the country’s foremost commentators (“the conscience of America,” in the view of Adlai Stevenson). Yet today, less than two years after his death, Gerald Johnson has become a forgotten man of American letters. This is a grievance that Fred Hobson seeks to redress in his thoughtful article about this Southern liberal and realist. An associate professor of English at the University of Alabama, Mr. Hobson has also prepared a collection of Johnson’s essays which North Carolina will publish later this year. Mr. Hobson recently completed his own group of essays, a book on interpreters of the South tentatively entitled Tell About the South: Fourteen Southerners and a Rage to Explain the region from 1850 to 1970.
Also present at VQR’s creation in 1925 was a young historian named Dumas Malone, and he, too, remained a contributor for the next 50 years. In 1943, having already achieved a reputation as editor of The Dictionary of American Biography and director of the Harvard Press, Mr. Malone began the realization of a lifelong dream that was to take a good part of a lifetime to complete—Jefferson and His Time, a six-volume biography spanning five decades of publication. The first volume, Jefferson the Virginian, came out in 1948; the last, The Sage of Monticello, was published July 4, 1981. On the eve of that final volume’s appearance, a group of his admirers and friends honored the 89-year-old Sage of Mr. Jefferson at a dinner in the Rotunda designed by the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. The formal remarks of the evening were made by another eminent Jeffersonian, Merrill D. Peterson, dean of the faculty at the University of Virginia. Mr. Peterson’s numerous works include The Jefferson Image in the American Mind (winner of the Bancroft Prize) and Thomas Jefferson: A Historical Profile,
Like Mr. Malone, Edward M. Yoder is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, having received this distinguished award in 1979 for editorial writing. A Rhodes Scholar and North Carolinian—native of Greensboro and graduate of Chapel Hill—Mr. Yoder began his newspaper career in Charlotte, served as associate editor of the Greensboro Daily News for ten years (1965—75), and won his Pulitzer while serving as the last editorial page editor of the late Washington Star. He is now a syndicated columnist, with a special interest in history and biography.
John Milton Cooper, Jr., a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on Woodrow Wilson. He is the author of a biography of Walter Hines Page, Wilson’s ambassador to London in World War I, as well as The Vanity of Power: American Isolationism and the First World War, 1914—1917. His latest VQH essay is part of a comparative study he is writing about Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, which has been contracted for publication by Harvard Press.
A widely published poet, Mary Oliver is the author of a recent book of poetry, Twelve Moons, published by Little, Brown, and she has poems forthcoming in The New Yorker, Atlantic, and Harvard Magazine.
A native of rural Croatia, Georgia Gojmerac-Leiner now lives and works in Fairfax, Virginia. Last year, after an eight-year absence, she returned to her native village—an experience that is partly the subject of her poems in this issue. In addition to being a poet, Mrs. Gojmerac Leiner is also an artist, and her woodcuts have been published by the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.
David Wagoner is both a poet and a novelist. His latest book of poems, Landfall, is a Little, Brown publication. Francis Ford Coppola is completing a major movie based on Mr. Wagoner’s 1965 novel, The Escape Artist.
Conrad Hilberry, the author of numerous books of poetry, teaches at Kalamazoo College.
A previous VQR contributor, John McKernan is director of writing at Marshall University in West Virginia.
Michael Blumenthal’s Sympathetic Magic received an honorable mention in the GLCA New Writers Awards. A resident of Washington, D.C., he is a producer and cultural consultant for West German television.
Elisabeth Murawski made her first appearance in VQR in the spring of 1976. She began writing poems after being encouraged by a New York literary agent some two decades ago.
Terry Stokes is a member of the faculty at the University of Cincinnati. His VQR poems are from a forthcoming chapbook, Issuing of Scars.
T. Alan Broughton is a professor of English at the University of Vermont and the author of three novels and four books of poetry. His most recent novel, The Horse-master, was published by Dutton last year.
Associate professor of English at Duke University, James Applewhite is a widely published poet whose most recent volume, Following Gravity, won the 1980 Virginia Commonwealth University Series for Contemporary Poetry contest.
Robert Langbaum is James Branch Cabell Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Virginia. His books include The Poetry of Experience, Isak Dinesen’s Art, and The Modern Spirit. His most recent book, The Mysteries of Identity, will be republished in paperback by the University of Chicago Press in April,
Peter Meinke is director of the Writing Workshop at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. His stories have appeared in such publications as Atlantic, Redbook, and the Western Humanities Review. He is also the author of three books of poetry, the latest of which, Trying to Surprise God, was published by Pittsburgh last year. Mr. Meinke’s VQR story is derived from his experiences as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Warsaw in 1978—79.
Henry J. Laskowsky is chairman of the English Department at the University of Wyoming, where he teaches courses on Conrad, Milton, and Marxist criticism. Besides Conrad, he has written essays on such varied figures as Edmund Burke, Jonathan Edwards, and Sigmund Freud.
Sydney Lea is founder and editor of the New England Review. He is primarily a poet and is the author of Searching the Drowned Man, a collection published by Illinois. He reports that he generates a short story about every 15 years. “That is, my collected stories will not appear until my 107th year.”
Dudley Poore has worked for the past several years on a reminiscence about his earliest days in Spain, when he, like his close friend John Dos Passos, was first intent on becoming a writer. Their work by then had already appeared in the Harvard Monthly and Eight Harvard Poets, to which E. E. Cummings had also contributed.
Gloria Whelan is both a novelist and short story writer. Her “young adult” novel, A Clearing in the Forest, won Putnam’s 1979 Friends of American Writers award.
An associate professer at Brandeis University, Stephen J. Whitfield retains a special interest in “the intersection of American political and intellectual history in the 20th century.” He is the author of Scott Nearing: Apostle of American Radicalism and Into the Dark: Hannah Arendt and Totalitarianism.
Wyatt Prunty is a member of the English faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a poet.
Raymond Nelson is the author of Van Wyck Brooks: A Writer’s Life, which Dutton published last fall. He wrote his study of the noted American literary historian with the full cooperation of Mr. Brooks’ widow, Gladys, and had full access to the extensive Brooks archives. Mr. Nelson is an associate professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Miriam Tane is a free-lance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is currently completing a novel.
Lawrence B. Goodheart is visiting assistant professor of American history at Vanderbilt. He is writing a biography of the 19th-century reformer, Elizur Wright.
Robert F. Durden is a former chairman of the history department at Duke University, where he remains a professor. His many books include The Gray and the Black: The Confederate Debate on Emancipation and The Climax of Populism: The Election of 1896.
Christopher C. Joyner is an assistant professor of political science at George Washington University and the author of numerous articles on international law and politics.
Mary B. McKinley, an associate professor of French at the University of Virginia, has long been fascinated by the works of Rabelais.
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