The Green Room
"Here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal."
f all "the boys of summer" who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the late 1940's and the early 1950's, none displayed more character or courage than Jackie Robinson, grandson of a plantation slave, son of a Georgia sharecropper-and the African-American who alone 50 years ago this spring desegregated long solidly segregated major league baseball. And as Martin Luther King, Jr. himself acknowledged, by his example on and off the diamond, Jackie Robinson helped bring the American dilemma closer to a resolution.
One who observed Robinson's career firsthand was PATRICK HENRY, a native of Brooklyn who later became a scholar of French. Even now, half a century later, MR. HENRY still regards Robinson as "my first and greatest hero." MR. HENRY teaches French at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where he also co-edits The Journal of Philosophy and Literature. His latest two books are edited volumes An Inimitable Example: The Case for La Princesse de Cleves, 1992, and Approaches to Teaching Montaigne's Essays, 1994. Even though he is a continent away, he still roots for America's team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Since he has been a loyal contributor to this journal for more than two decades, Louis B. RUBIN, JR. is hardly a stranger to VQR readers, but his latest contribution is somewhat of a departure from his usual analysis of books and authors. In his current essay, MR. RUBIN discusses the relationship between the critic and the creative writer. As he notes at the outset of his essay, he has been writing professionally "for a bit longer than 50 years" during which time he has written or edited some 45 books. Of those, three have been novels, the most recent of which The Heat of the Sun was published in the autumn of 1995. MR. RUBIN notes that writing fiction has been of use to him as a critic, and he is a critic par excellance. Indeed, many regard him as the dean of Southern literary criticism. After receiving his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, MR.
RUBIN taught there, at Hollins College, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also founded the Algonquin Press of Chapel Hill. In addition to being a prolific writer, MR. RUBIN is also an ardent sailor, a baseball fan, and a traveler. His latest trip in January took him hundreds of miles up the Amazon River, a trip about which he is sure to write an article and/or book.
A resident of Amity, Oregon, FLOYD SKLOOT is both a fiction and nonfiction writer. His latest book is The Night-Side, a collection of essays about his own experience with the illness known as chronic fatigue syndrome. A third novel, The Open Door, is due out this year. MR. SKLOOT S essays and stories have appeared in such journals as The Hudson Review, The New Criterion, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Boulevard, and The Antioch Review. He is also an avid sports fan, as indicated by his latest VQR story.
A graduate of Princeton University, FRANCiS LEARY moved to Paris shortly after World War II and has been there ever since. Hence, his interest in French history and in the wicked Marquise de Sevigne, a celebrated criminal of the 17th century. MR. LEARY does not limit himself to French history alone; he recently completed an article about Thomas Jefferson and the dream house he built at Monticello.
K. C. ARCENEAUX is a painter and writer living in Blacksburg, Virginia. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Oregon, an M.F.A. in painting from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in environmental design and planning with a concentration on African studies from Virginia Tech, where she taught architectural design in the College of Architecture for eight years. Her fiction has appeared in Northwest Review and Chicago Review. She recently won a Tara Fellowship for short fiction from the Heekin Group Foundation for her story, "The Porcupine Box."
ANTHONY WINNER is a professor of English at the University of Virginia. …