Obituaries (Vol. 119) - Essay

Introduction

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Obituaries

In addition to the authors represented in the In Memoriam section of the Yearbook, the following notable writers died in 1998:

Raymond E. BrownMay 22, 1928–August 8, 1998Biblical Scholar

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Raymond E. Brown May 22, 1928–August 8, 1998 Biblical Scholar

The first Catholic to be tenured at Union Theological Seminary, a historically Protestant institution, the Reverend Raymond E. Brown was an internationally influential biblical scholar. He was among the first Catholic scholars to take advantage of a new openness within the Catholic church to critical biblical studies. Father Brown questioned whether it is historically possible to prove the virgin conception of Jesus Christ, which subjected him to attack by a number of Roman Catholic conservatives. Being a man of great intellectual integrity, and possessing great communicative ability, Father Brown maintained the highest respect as a major figure in biblical studies. His scholarly career spanned more than four decades, and he was the author of nearly forty books, which included commentaries on the New Testament and detailed studies of the Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth and death. An Introduction to the New Testament and The Death of the Messiah are two notable works that distinctively hallmark Father Brown's biblical research. Father Brown's writings and lectures steered clear of fundamentalism, were mainly devoted to reaching an audience of interested lay people, and were grounded in achieving critical understanding of biblical accounts. Ordained as a priest in the Diocese of St. Augustine, FL, in 1953, Father Brown served as an advisor to his bishop at the Second Vatican Council in 1963. He was the recipient of numerous academic and church distinctions, including more than 25 honorary doctorates, and had served as the president of various Catholic and Biblical organizations.

Leonardo Felice BuscagliaMarch 31, 1924–June 12, 1998Lecturer and Social Philosopher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Leonardo Felice Buscaglia March 31, 1924–June 12, 1998 Lecturer and Social Philosopher

Affectionately and variously known as Dr. Love, the Love Merchant, and the Hug Doctor, Leo Buscaglia was the apostle of agape, or spiritual love. His self-help books on the dynamics of affection, and the exploration of the balance between life and death, sold 11 million copies in 20 languages. Among them were Loving Each Other and Living, Loving, and Learning. His most recent was Love Cookbook, which was published in 1994. Born to a close Italian immigrant family with 10 siblings, Buscaglia had no trouble finding words of love and affection. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in education, Buscaglia found himself curious about other religions. He went to Asia and compared Zen Buddhism and Hinduism to his own Christian faith. The common denominator he found in all faiths was to love your neighbor, which became the founding principle of his teachings. His first book, Love, was published in 1972. As an education professor at the University of Southern California from 1975 to 1984, he "shook up" the institution when he started classes on love, including Love 101. In 1991, U. S. C. honored Buscaglia by establishing the Leo F. Buscaglia Scholarship for Inner City Teachers Education. Although the effervescent speaker was cherished and lauded, he was not exempt from criticism. Since Buscaglia never married or fathered children, his messages were sometimes received as hollow. Often, he would respond that his love embraced and encompassed all of humanity. Customarily, Buscaglia would end his motivational speeches by giving everyone in the audience a hug.

Catherine CooksonJune 20, 1906–June 11, 1998British Novelist

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Catherine Cookson June 20, 1906–June 11, 1998 British Novelist

Born to an alcoholic mother on the industrial banks of the Tyne in northeastern England, Catherine Cookson became one of Britain's most popular and best-read novelists. She was the author of more than 90 novels with a combined distribution of more than 100 million copies. Her novels almost always reflected her grim and gritty life she knew as a girl—the victim of sexual abuse, having to fetch beer for her mother and never knowing her father. Her stories were set in the same impoverished working-class world she grew up dreaming of escaping. They were tales of family conflict, social despair, and the debilitating effects of deprivation. Cookson's adult life continued to be tumultuous. Stricken with a rare blood disorder that involved continual hemorrhaging, Cookson suffered a stillbirth and three miscarriages. Her husband Tom, a schoolteacher, encouraged her to overcome her despair by writing. Her first book, Kate Hannigan, was published in 1950. Although none of her novels won literary acclaim, a number of her books, including The Black Candle and The Velvet Gown were made into television movies. Cookson, an officer of the British Empire since 1985, was made a dame, the equivalent of a knight, in 1993.

Allen Stuart Drury1918–September 2, 1998Political Novelist

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Allen Stuart Drury 1918–September 2, 1998 Political Novelist

Allen Drury, Stanford alumni, WWII Army veteran, and former reporter in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times, was a prolific author of 19 novels and 5 books of nonfiction. Known as the quintessential Washington novelist, Drury won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for Advise and Consent, an encompassing work of betrayal, intrigue, and insider knowledge of Congress. Interestingly, the title, Advise and Consent, was taken from a sentence in the Constitution stating: "The Senate shall advise and consent to the president's nominations to the Cabinet." Advise and Consent has been labeled the precursor to Primary Colors, the fictionalized, yet allegorical, representation of contemporary political scandal. Drury used complicated plots and larger-than-life characters to illuminate his stories; and his characters were often entangled in moral ambiguities. Advise and Consent was so popular that it became a Broadway play, and in 1962, it was made into a movie that starred Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon, and Charles Laughton. Drury went on to write six sequels, including Preserve and Protect and A Shade of Difference. These sequels followed a group of Washington characters through a series of political crises. In 1998, Drury completed his 20th novel, Public Men, a trilogy about Stanford and young men involved in the events of WWI.

Elena GarraDecember 12, 1920–August 22, 1998Mexican playwright and novelist

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Elena Garra December 12, 1920–August 22, 1998 Mexican playwright and novelist

Best known for her expositions on the clash between Latin American illusion and reality, Elena Garra was one of Mexico's most important literary figures. She was best known for her first novel, Los Recuerdos del Porvenir (Recollections of Things to Come), a powerful account of a clash between the Church and State during the presidency of General Obregon in the 1920s. Her works are described as provocative, with an understated eloquence. She wrote over 40 novels and stories, including eight plays. Garra's radical political views and support of many liberal causes, culminated in her being forced to leave Mexico, seeking sanctuary first in the United States, then Paris, then later in Spain, where she resided until 1991. During her periods of exile, her husband, Octavio Paz, another highly notable Mexican literary figure, divorced her. They never spoke again. Afterwards, Garra became even more outspoken against Mexican regime. Despite her symbiotic relationship with Mexico, she was canonized as one of Mexico's greatest authors of the twentieth century at the National Theatre Program in Aguascalientes.

Julian Hartridge GreenSeptember 6, 1900–August 13, 1998American/French novelist and playwright

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Julian Hartridge Green September 6, 1900–August 13, 1998 American/French novelist and playwright

Born in Paris to American parents of Southern heritage, Julian Green enriched the French language with tales of the American South. Self-described as a "Southerner lost in Europe," Green is believed to have had the longest career of any major 20th-century writer. Green's novels are characterized as Gothic, because his subject matter usually revolves around murder, suicide, sadism, and insanity. Green's works also reflect his tormented struggle between his homosexual desires and his Roman Catholic faith. All but a few of his books were written in French, and he was extremely prolific—producing more than a dozen novels, four short stories, five plays, an autobiography, numerous biographies and essays, and a multi-volume daily journal. His best-known works include Sud (South), a 1953 play about the Civil War, and Moira (1950), a novel dramatizing the struggle between man's sensuality and spirituality. It wasn't until 1987 that Green became a household name in France with his bestseller Pays and Lointain (Faraway Country). In 1971, Green became the first foreigner to be elected to the Academie Francaise—the elite panel of forty literary luminaries who regulate the French language. In November of 1996, Green publicly announced that he was relinquishing his seat, partly because he felt "exclusively American."

Ralph Hammond InnesJuly 15, 1913–June 10, 1998Adventure and Suspense Novelist

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Ralph Hammond Innes July 15, 1913–June 10, 1998 Adventure and Suspense Novelist

Born in Horsham, England, and beginning his career as a journalist for the Financial Times, Hammond Innes was the author of more than 30 adventure and suspense novels. A former artillery major and yachtsman, Innes traveled the world in search of stories. Published in 1956, The Wreck of the Mary Deare was perhaps his most notable work, and was made into a film starring Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, and Michael Redgrave. His final novel, Delta Connection, was published in 1996. Innes, a champion for the writer's cause, campaigned for a Public Lending Right and was an active member of the Society of Authors. A keen sailor and woodsman, Innes was also a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Timber Growers' Association.

Anatoly RybakovJanuary 14, 1911–December 23, 1998Russian Novelist

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Anatoly Rybakov January 14, 1911–December 23, 1998 Russian Novelist

Author of the long-suppressed novel, Children of the Arbat, Anatoly Rybakov wrote books that served as a bridge between the Stalinist and glasnost eras in the Soviet Union. Children of the Arbat was released in the United States in 1988 after the glasnost reform policies of Mikhail Gorbachev were established. The book has been internationally acclaimed for meticulously raising the credibility of Gorbachev's new policies of openness and reform. The book also simultaneously and metaphorically exposed the misery of those who perished at the hands of Josef Stalin. Rybakov wrote sequels to Children of the Arbat that continued to trace the lives of the scattered group of friends from the old Arbat neighborhood. Fear was published in 1992, and Dust and Ashes was published in 1996. Rybakov served as the leader of Russia's PEN club.

Paul Antony TannerMarch 18, 1935–December 5, 1998Cambridge Professor of American Literature

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Paul Antony Tanner March 18, 1935–December 5, 1998 Cambridge Professor of American Literature

English-born Paul Antony Tanner was instrumental in making American literature a subject of serious study at Cambridge University. In 1960, American literature was still considered a young and exotic specialty, not worthy of a place in English academia at Cambridge. After returning from the United States on a two-year Harkness fellowship, taken at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, Tanner wrote a doctoral dissertation on wonder and naivete in American literature. Subsequently, Tanner's dissertation became the first on an American subject to be accepted by the Cambridge English faculty. Professor Tanner's teachings on the topic helped persuade the university to offer a master's degree in American literature. In 1989, Tanner was appointed Cambridge University's First chair in American literature.

Dorothy WestJune 2, 1907–August 16, 1998Harlem Renaissance Writer

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Dorothy West June 2, 1907–August 16, 1998 Harlem Renaissance Writer

Affectionately nicknamed "the Kid," by Harlem Renaissance writer, poet, and humorist Langston Hughes, Dorothy West began writing stories at the age of seven in her family's elegant four-story house in Boston. West was the only child of Rachel and Isaac, a rich produce dealer, and former slave. West's stories and novels used brisk narratives, detail, and wit to explore the aspirations of prosperous blacks, while juxtaposing the themes of race, class, and interracial tensions in America. Her writings were not overtly political, but tended to portray lyrical depictions of vanity, wistfulness, misunderstanding, and love. In 1926, her short story, "The Typewriter," tied for second prize with Zora Neale Hurston in a writing contest sponsored by Urban League's Opportunity magazine. West's first novel, The Living Is Easy, a story about the black Bostonian middle class, was not published until 1948, long after the Harlem Renaissance had faded. It was her novel, The Wedding, that brought West to fame. West became a best-selling novelist at the age of 88. West began writing the novel in the 1960s—a gentle, yet satirized portrait of the black aristocracy in Oak Bluffs, a black community located in Martha's Vineyard. The Wedding has been compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, but was not finished until the 1980s, when Doubleday editor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis encouraged West to complete the novel. The Wedding has since been aired as a two-part miniseries on television, produced by talk-show host, Oprah Winfrey. Her last novel was so successful that in 1995, Doubleday published The Richer, the Poorer, a collection of her short stories and reminiscences. West was the last surviving literary icon of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance movement.