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. 1, Winter

Aliens
They were naked when they came out of the water. Their skin glowed dully in the haze of dawn. We watched them stagger across the sand, one by one, like the last finishers in some ghostly marathon."Uh-oh," Kai said. "Company.""I told you," Marcus said,...
An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology
An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz. Norton, August 2004. $29.95The third of an ongoing series, and perhaps the best so far, this anthology brings together 200 poems from the Favorite...
A Soap Bubble Hovering over the Void
A Tribute to Carol ShieldsI began reading Carol Shields' books many years ago, with The Box Garden. In that novel there's a passage that made me laugh so hard I thought I would do myself an injury. It's the chapter describing a mother with scant taste...
A Straight Stretch on the Far Side of Coolbrook
Henry S. Taylor, 1799-1866From late childhood on, a fantasy I've keptclose to my chest is that I might meet old Henry S.,at whose grave I've stood, in whose house often slept.Neighboring Quakers made it their business,when Coolbrook began to reveal what...
A Weekend at Montauk
All of us who are longtime readers have our few big books, the ones we came upon, maybe unwittingly, and that changed everything, working their way in under the skin, becoming like kept secrets, affecting our least perception of the world around us,...
Between Two Rivers
Between Two Rivers, by Nicholas Rinaldi. HarperCollins, June 2004. $24.95New York City is a megacity that is best known in miniature. Life that happens in the "global" city occurs in miniature "locally" in each borough, in each block, in each building...
Blue Venus
Blue Venus, by Lisa Russ Spaar. Persea, September 2004. $14.95Spaar's second collection of poems is a gathering of rueful, night-haunted meditations and lyrics. Spaar knows better than anyone the odd-mixture of clarity and dream-like possibility that...
Days of Glory: The Army of the Cumberland, 1861-1865
Days of Glory; The Army of the Cumberland, 1861-1865, by Larry J. Daniel. LSU, June 2004. $44.95Fads and fashions in the unstoppably lavish output of Civil War books tend to wax and wane. Accounts of an entire army represent an emerging vogue. As befits...
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861, by David Detzer. Harcourt, September 2004. $28"A cloud of confusion still lingers over that battlefield," declares Detzer, in an opening salvo that sets the tone for this assertive interpretation of the first...
Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London
Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London, by Liza Picard. St Martin's, July 2004. $27.95In Elizabeth's London, Liza Picard attempts to give an account of the "everyday" lives of the men and women in the city during the reign of Elizabeth...
Folsom Prison Blues
"We've been invited to go to Folsom Prison with Johnny Cash," Dan said. It was early January 1968. Dan Poush and I were a team, working for the Star-Free Press in Ventura, California. He was the photographer; I was the writer."Who invited us?" I asked."A...
From Quarantine
Though I rarely slept I never missed sleepI had learned to move as little as necessaryto work without effort to watch my wifeand son cry he cried in his sleepmy wife never spoke to me except to sayshe would kill me but she never raised a handshe did...
Godzilla's Footprint
In the final moments of Godzilla, a brilliant and tormented physicist awkwardly dons diving gear and plunges to the bottom of Tokyo Bay, cradling in his arms a miniature doomsday weapon housed in a metal-and-glass cylinder. Standing on the ocean floor,...
Here Be Monsters
On old nautical maps, cartographers inscribed uncharted regions with the legend "Here Be Monsters." Sometimes they would draw pictures of these fanciful beasts rising from the waters, and occasionally would even show them devouring wayward ships. This...
Here beneath Low-Flying Planes
Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes, by Merrill Feitell. Iowa, October 2004. $15.95It's not hard to see why Matthew Klam, himself a master at capturing love's double-edged sword, chose this spirited collection as the winner of the 2004 Iowa Short Fiction...
Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle
Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle, by Stephen Biddle. Princeton, July 2004. $37.50Stephen Biddle has written perhaps the best volume on the causes of battlefield victory and defeat in a generation. Military Power posits that...
Playing the Races: Ethnic Caricature and American Literary Realism
Playing the Races: Ethnic Caricature and American Literary Realism, by Henry B. Wonham. Oxford, June 2004. $45How does one explain the fact that the central figures of late-nineteenth-century American literary realism-writers who prided themselves on...
Pretty Authors Make Graves
There's a helluva lot more of us, than there is of them.-Frank ZappaAll right, yeah, I was an ugly kid. Buck teeth. Fat cheeks. Bad hair. Terrible hair. You look at the old albums-it's a museum of bad hair. I should have had myself shellacked. Maybe...
Rising from the Muck: The New Anti-Semitism in Europe
Rising From the Muck: The New Anti-Semitism in Europe, by Pierre-André Taguieff. Ivan R. Dee, June 2004. $26Taguieff, a French political scientist and essayist on racism and nationalism, alerts readers to "the new anti-Semitism" (literally, "Judeophobia")...
Rita Dove, Dancing
Almost three centuries ago, in his youthful "Essay on Criticism," Alexander Pope perceptively observed: "True ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance." He here supplements the traditional comparisons-which...
Robert Bly and James Wright: A Correspondence
For as long as I can remember I've been hearing the story: that James Wright, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, had nearly given up writing early in his career. What saved him? An unexpected copy of a new magazine called The Fifties and the ensuing correspondence...
Russia after Beslan
IntroductionAmerican coverage of the monstrous hostage-taking at Beslan's School No. 1 in the Russian republic of North Ossetia and the ensuing controversy over President Vladimir Putin's consolidation of power in ostensible response to the terrorist...
School of the Arts
The spring the Methodist churchlost its steeple-no pointy tipbut a kind of cupola, octagonal,with eight unglazed arches,and on its top a carved scroll finialsignaling the tip of the builders'skyways ambitions-a huge craneplucked the tower like an ornamentfrom...
Segue
Something is always saying to me: Be plain. Be clear.But then something else interferes and unjoints my good intentions.Max and I were out yesterday morning, Sunday, a simple enough errand in our neighborhood. We "sallied forth" to buy a loaf of good...
So Help Me God
Phone rings. My cousin Andrea answers.It's a pelting-rain weekday evening last April, just past 7 P.M. and dark as midnight.Without so much as glancing toward me Andrea picks up the receiver as if she's in her own home and not mine, shifting her infant...
Soldiers of Salamis
FICTION Soldiers of Salamis, by Javier Cercas. Bloomsbury, November 2004. $14.95This riveting novel, a huge best seller in Cercas's native Spain (it subsequently has been translated into fifteen languages and has won numerous literary prizes in Europe...
Soldiers Once and Still: Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O'Brien
Soldiers Once and Still: Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O'Brien, by Alex Vernon. Iowa, June 2004. $39.95This is a scholarly, ambitious, comparative study of the prose of three veterans who experienced wars that nearly spanned the twentieth century....
Taking Sex Differences Seriously
Taking Sex Differences Seriously, by Steven E. Rhoads. Encounter Books, June 2004. $25.95Steven Rhoads has got balls. And I mean this as a compliment. Moreover, after having read this politically incorrect refutation of contemporary feminism's androgyny...
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, by Gordon S. Wood. Penguin, May 2004. $25.95For the past decade we have seen a significant surge in the number of biographies written about the Founding Fathers, a phenomenon some have derisively labeled "Founders...
The Church of George
I wish I had a cooler story about the first time I saw George A. Romero's Dawn oj the Dead. I'd like to say I snuck in to see it at a midnight show in Times Square back in 1978. I'd like to say I saw it in the gloriously appropriate surroundings of one...
The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West
The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West, by Joel Achenbach. Simon & Schuster, June 2004. $26This book contains the story of a river and a man, the first nicknamed "The Nation's River" and the other "The Father of our...
The Grand Old Man of Maine: Selected Letters of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
The Grand Old Man of Maine: Selected Letters of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, edited by Jeremiah E. Goulka. North Carolina, August 2004. $39.95Following his valorous and strategically important service in the American Civil War, Union General Joshua Chamberlain...
The Infinite Brunette
Imagine that you were born in an infinitely long and skinny country stretched out between a jagged mountain range and a lively sea that flogs thousands of kilometers.Imagine now that this country has a poet.That is to say, A POET.It isn't that this country...
The Inner Circle
The Inner Circle, by T.C. Boyle. Viking, September 2004. $25.95This robust, impassioned novel, Boyle's tenth, opens with two epigraphs. One is from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra; the other is from Alfred C. Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human...
The Internationalization of English Literature
The Internationalization of English Literature, by Bruce King, volume 13 (1948-2000) of the Oxford English Literary History. Oxford, March 2004. $45Bruce King is one of the pioneering scholars of world literature in English, having written influential...
The King of All Spaniards
The King of All Spaniards Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy. By Paul Preston. Norton. June 2004. $35At 1:15 A.M. on the morning of February 24, 1981, King Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon saved Spain. In an act of surprising courage...
The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley
The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley, by Warren R. Hofstra. Johns Hopkins, April 2004. $49.95The research that lies behind some books simply puts others to shame. The Planting of New Virginia is one of these...
The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History
The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History, by Walter Benn Michaels. Princeton, June 2004. $24.95There is something in what he writes, but there is not everything. In broad strokes Walter Benn Michaels critiques posthistoricism, poststructuralism,...
The Song of Hiawatha
The Song of Hiawatha, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Illustrated by Frederic Remington. David R. Godine, March 2004. $23.95This lovely little edition contributes to a fledgling recovery of nineteenth-century American poetry. Perhaps it is strange to...
TR
On Recent Books about Theodore RooseveltOn a May morning a few years ago, a friend and I watched from the shore as the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, back with its battle group from a six-month tour of duty in the eastern Mediterranean and...
Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern
Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern, by Marianne DeKoven. Duke, June 2004. $23.95For those who actually experienced what DeKoven describes as the "long "6os" as young adults, as she did, this decade will always represent a...
Vision at Woods' Edge
Just a glimpse, doubtless nowhere near accurate,through train window into the New Jersey thicketpast which we plunged in our self-absorbed hurtlingout of countryside into the urban explosion,a mere glimpse: Farmall tractor squat on flat tires,maybe rusted...
Weathering the Storm: Inside Winslow Homer's Gulf Stream
Weathering the Storm: Inside Winslow Homer's Gulf Stream, by Peter H. Wood. Georgia, July 2004. $24.95Weathering the Storm is an engaging study of one painting: Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream, painted in 1899. According to Peter H. Wood, who teaches...
Will the Real Mr. Putin Please Stand Up?
Will the Real Mr. Putin Please Stand Up? Putin: Russia's Choice. By Richard Sakwa. Routledge, January 2004. $95 cloth, $21.95 paperVladimir Putin and the New World Order: Looking East, Looking West? By J. L. Black. Rowman & Littlefield, January 2004....
Wives and Lovers: Three Short Novels
Wives and Lovers: Three Short Novels, by Richard Bausch. HarperPerennial, July 2004. $12.95Wives & Lovers is a. collection of three short novels left out of the earlier collection-one new, "Requisite Kindness," and two omitted from last year's Collected...