February 21, 1979
Welcoming a capacity audience in Skinner Hall to the world of novelist and short story writer John Cheever, Associate Professor of English Everett Weedin portrayed it as one in which "cocktail parties and prehistoric turtles mingle on suburban lawns." Writing in The Miscellany News, Athena Vrettos '81 said the man called by critic John Leonard "the Chekov of the suburbs" fulfilled Weedin's promise. Reading from three short stories, "The Death of Justina," "The Swimmer" and an unpublished work, Cheever, she said, "shared the world with his audience as he read about spirits smiling up from suburbanites' English muffins and zoning regulations prohibiting death in certain parts of town." The author, Vrettos reported, explained two common Freudian interpretations of "The Swimmer" to the audience "in amused disgust," and, she concluded, "in his straight-faced nonchalance and his appealing sincerity, Cheever conveyed in his characters a convincing sense of realism, even though the situations in which they found themselves were at times incredible."
Winner of the 1958 National Book Award for The Wapshot Chronicle (1957), Cheever was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in April 1979 for The Stories of John Cheever (1978).