The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Virginia Quarterly Review is a magazine focusing on current and historical literary subjects. Since it was founded in 1925, it is produced quarterly. The magazine is published by the Virginia Quarterly Review.Subjects for The Virginia Quarterly Review include literature and literary reviews. The editor is Ted Genoways. Contributing editors are Molly Minturn and Kevin Morrissey

Articles from Vol. 81, No. 3, Summer

Agua
An exclusive excerpt from the new novel by CORMAC McCARTHYMoss sat with the heels of his boots dug into the volcanic gravel of the ridge and glassed the desert below him with a pair of twelve power german binoculars. His hat pushed back on his head....
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An Unexpected Life
EDITOR'S PICK An Unexpected Life, by Joseph Blotner. LSU, March 2005. $29.95Joseph Blotner will be remembered as a giant of American literary scholarship. His editions of William Faulkner's works, especially the Uncollected Stories and Selected Letters,...
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A Polar Turn of Mind
Finding Peace and Quiet in the High Canadian ArcticFor most North Americans travel means moving sideways or, slightly more exotically, south. The former journey unwires one's circadian rhythm while the latter equinoctially scrambles the night sky. What...
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Canoeing with Master Williams
Our ancient and approved friend, Roger Williams.-John ThorntonThe root of a nearby apple treewas growing in his grave after two centuries,some claim, its form a human skeleton's,as though he were the saint of orchardistsor founder of some golden age,...
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Children's Literature
On this page, the stranger stands at the screen door,holding a bunch of tulips wrapped in wet newspaper,the ink a bruise spreading across his thumb and palm."Take them," he says, "I can't stand the stingof the smeared text. There's no prophesy here.Give...
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Courtship
How much medication human mating requiresin the United States, in the twenty-first century,gallons of beer and rum, kilos of hash and marijuana,all to dispel the counsel of parents, and priests, and mirrors,so every Bev and Bill can function as healthy...
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Crawl
The smell would not go away. They knew what it was, but there was nothing they could do, and people were coming over. They'd cleaned. They'd disinfected. They'd made many a bleach flambé. Rand had sprayed aerosol disinfectants, and Maddy had yelled at...
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Donatello among the Blackshirts: History and Modernity in the Visual Culture of Fascist Italy
Donatello Among the Blackshirts: History and Modernity in the Visual Culture of Fascist Italy, edited by Claudia Lazzaro and Roger J. Crum. Cornell, February 2005. $24.95What was Fascism's relationship to aesthetics? In many ways, this should be one...
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Drunken Sailor
Drunken Sailor, by John Montague. Wake Forest, January 2005. $11.95I confess I did not know John Montague's work. I opened Drunken Sailor randomly, to the poem "Clabber: the Poet at Three Years." "'That's clabber! Clutching clabber / sucks caddies down,'...
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Election 2004: What Happened?
I have no way to prove it statistically, but the 2004 Presidential campaign sounded to me like the most dishonest in memory. Not that American politics has often been a model of truth, and to give 2004 credit, nobody went as far as to accuse Bush or...
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Fitz Lee: A Military Biography of Major General Fitzhugh Lee, C.S.A
Fitz Lee: A Military Biography of Major General Fitzhugh Lee, C.S.A., by Edward G. Longacre. DaCapo, December 2004. $30As a youth, the grandson of Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee and nephew of Robert E. Lee, Fitzhugh Lee, or "Fitz" as he was known throughout...
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Heavy Metal Music Will Save Your Life
I spent three years as a rock music critic in El Paso, Texas, which was where I lived at the tail end of the eighties and where I came of age, in a sense-grew old enough, that is, to recognize that heavy metal was, essentially, tribal in nature and that...
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Humboldt's Gift
Whenever someone asks me to name my favorite novel, I find myself putting on a ridiculous but revealing little performance, pretending to a natural consternation-after all, who can narrow a lifetime's evolving preferences down to a single title?-but...
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John Brown's Body: Slavery, Violence, and the Culture of War
UVA FACULTY BOOKS John Brown's Body: Slavery, Violence, and the Culture of War, by Franny Nudelman, North Carolina, September 2004. $49.95 cloth, $19.95 paperOne of the chief ideological struggles for any nation in war time takes place over the meaning...
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Kidney Season: A Story
In June Kate's daughter Megan came home to Massachusetts from college in a strangely exalted state her mother had never seen before. Her husband advised Kate to remain calm. "Much will be revealed," he said after supper the first night. Walter was a...
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Late Empire
I mean after the lashing.After the welts that the lash gave rise to havehealed so beautifully, we forget where they were. Here,we say, pointing vaguely, as toward a bird thatcould as easily be a sparrow hawk,any other falcon-as if it made no real difference...
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Loop Group
Loop Group, by Larry McMurtry. Simon & Schuster, December 2004. $25Larry McMurtry won the Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove. That fact alone gave me high hopes for his new novel Loop Group. However, this book disappoints in many ways. Maggie and Connie,...
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Of the Poet's Youth
When the man behind the counter said, "You pay by the orifice,"what could we do but purchase them all? Ah, Sandy,you were unquestionably the deluxe model, modish and pertin your plastic nurse whites, official hostess to our halcyon days,where you hung...
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Old Wine in New (Medicine) Bottles?
Old Wine in New (Medicine) Bottles? Jefferson's secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello, by Andrew Burstein. Basic Books, February 2005. $25Do we really need another book about Thomas Jefferson? Andrew Burstein apparently thinks so, and to prove his...
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On Meeting Writers
It's after midnight, and I'm tapping on the murky aquarium glass to see if the two scrawny lobsters inside are, as the sign promises, "LIVE." We're in some dive a few blocks from Ground Zero, and John McNaIIy and Tom Bissell are playing pool on a purple...
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Overlord: Poems
Overlord: Poems, by Jorie Graham. Ecco, March 2005. $22.95This is a difficult, fragmented set of poems from a brilliant, sensitive, searching mind. Graham is struggling with questions of war, suffering, death, and history, writing from the beach in Normandy,...
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Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form
Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form, by David Caplan. Oxford, December 2004. $35Poetic discourse in the century past was taken up disproportionately by what David Caplan, in this excellent book, calls "the prosody wars." Confronting...
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Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction
Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny After Reconstruction, by Michele Mitchell. North Carolina, December 2004. $59.95The final decades of the nineteenth century and the opening decades of the twentieth were among...
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Scandal at Bizarre
Scandal at Bizarre, by Cynthia A. Kierner. Patgrave, December 2004. $26.95When a lovely woman stoops to folly and fails to heed Oliver Goldsmith's suggestion to die, what does become of her? In one eighteenthcentury Virginia case, she goes on to marry...
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Scenes from a Documentary History of Mississippi
1. King Cotton, 1907From every corner of the photograph, flags wave downthe main street in Vicksburg. Stacked to form an arch,the great bales of cotton rise up from the groundlike a giant swell, a wave of history flooding the town.When Roosevelt arrives-a...
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Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal about the Transformations in a Woman's Life
Spinning Straw Into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life, by Joan Could. Random House, February 2005. $25.95Joan Gould's summaries of fairy tales, while accurate, shed no new light on the stories. Instead, her generalizations...
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Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison
Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison, by Richard N. Côté. Corinthian Books, January 2005. $29.95This biography is a testament to both the assiduous scholarship of the author and the research and archiving accomplishments of the University of...
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The American Ulysses: Rehabilitating U. S. Grant
The American Ulysses: Rehabilitating U. S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero, by Michael Korda. Harper Collins. October 2004. $19.95 Ulysses S. Grant, by Josiah Bunting III. Times Books. September 2004. $20Ulysses S. Grant's standing in the American...
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The Beast in the Garden
The Beast in the Garden, by David Baron. Norton, January 2005. $14.95Culture. Habituation. Averse conditioning. Learned behaviors. These are terms of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and behavioralism. These social sciences examine human beings-how...
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The Correspondence of William James, Volume 12: April 1908-August 1910
LITERARY STUDIES The Correspondence of William James, Volume 12: April 1908-August 1910, edited by lgnas K. Skrupskelis and Elizabeth M. Berkeley. Virginia, January 2005. $95The study of philosophy occupied the last quarter of William James's sixty-eight...
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The Courthouses of Early Virginia: An Architectural History
The Courthouses of Early Virginia: An Architectural History, by Carl R. Lounsbury. Virginia, March 2005. $65This is a handsome, richly illustrated social history. Lounsbury quite rightly extends the notion of architecture to include not just the physical...
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The Damned
With an ease considerably past what even we'd expected,the brush took fire. The birds unhid themselves, flewabruptly elsewhere, like shame when, from the wrong endof a foundering argument, it at last lets go. Is it risk, forexample, if what gets lost...
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The GHOSTS We LOVE
When I was eleven my father died in a tragic inner-tube accident. If he hadn't, then maybe I would not have become what I am-namely, a forty-two-year-old brother betrayer, marriage wrecker, mother killer, second husband, ghost impersonator, amateur historian,...
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The Hurtling
The Hurtling, by John Witte. Orchises Press, January 2005. $14.95With the exception of some notable outliers (the sonnet sequence, or James Kimbrell's or Mary Oliver's idiomatically stair-stepped stanzas), we're unused to seeing a poet with the allegiance...
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The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand
The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand, edited by Robin Lane Fox. Yale, December 2004. $45Robin Fox has performed an important service in focusing the considerations of a dozen leading scholars (including himself) on a wide range of interesting...
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The New Anti-Semitism
The New Anti-Semitism The case for Israel, by Alan M. Dershowitz. Wiley, August 2003. $19.95The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do about It, by Phyllis Chesler. Jossey-Bass, July 2003. $24.95Rising from the Muck: The New Anti-Semitism...
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The Scarlet Ibis
IIt begins on a tipof the ear inreality or metaphor-it doesn't matter.The matter outof which we're made moredetermined than any lifeguide shoved at usby mother or by father.What is thiscondition? What causes it?What are its symptoms?How to diagnose it?To...
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The Secret Wars of Judi Bari
The Secret Wars of Judi Bari by Kate Coleman. Encounter Books, January 2005. $25.95Judy Bari, it must be recalled, was the Earth First! forestry activist who in 1990 was driving an automobile with a male friend in Oakland, California, near its boundary...
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The Shadow at Cabourg
1Once dusk has dimmedthis could be a film studioAt the foot of a long parallelepipedbearing the legend Grand hotelan assortment of scenery : children's day-camps, beach barsa patch of parasolstheir blue-striped petals folded around their stemsthe back...
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The Tortoise and the Hare; or, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, and the Vagaries of Fiction Writing
In 1959, a thirty-one-year-old writer named Cynthia Ozick was hard at work, in her determined tortoise-like way, on an ambitious novel that, seven years later, would be published as Trust; and also in 1959, a young, in-your-face writer named Philip Roth...
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The Wagon
The dead seek the lowest places in Chicago.We find them in basements, laundry rooms, on floors next to couches, sticking out of parked cars or shrubs next to the sidewalk. It is more than gravity that pulls them down, for in every dead body there is...
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Vision of the End of the World in the Valdosta Holiday Inn
About the nether world, I -would rather live in Manhattan,Kansas, and belong to the garden clubexcept for Fiona Hubbard and Mrs. John Widman III,who are setting up for a PowerPoint presentationon November's topic: the care and nourishmentof cacti in...
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Walking with the Dog to Dover
The strongest of all warriors are these two-Time and Patience.-LEO TOLSTOY, WAR AND PEACEThe aborigines of New Zealand are called Maoris, a Polynesian people.... Among them, it was supposed that the seat of the soul was the left eye.-LINCOLN LIBRARY...
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Why Read?
Why Read?, by Mark Edmundson. Bloomsbury, September 2004. $21.95A National Endowment for the Arts study made news recently when it reported that more than half of American adults did not read a novel, olav. book of Doems or short stories in the preceding...
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