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AGAIN it is my pleasure to announce the winner of the Joseph M. Schwartz Memorial Essay Prize. This will be the fourth award honoring the former editor and senior editor of Renascence Dr. Joseph M. Schwartz. Professor Schwartz was editor from 1978 to 1995 and senior editor from 1995 until his death in 2002. The first JMS Essay Prize was awarded in 2006. In alternate years Renascence commemorates Dr. Schwartz with a commissioned essay, delivered at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is then published in the journal's spring issue.

This year's JMS Prize goes to John Baxter, for "Perilous Stuff: Poems of Religious Meditation," published in Volume 62.2, Winter 2010 issue. The competition was judged by three members of the Renascence Associates, a group of scholars who assist and support the journal in a variety of ways. Professor Baxter will receive a $1,000 cash prize for his essay.

About Professor Baxter's essay, one judge said: "a terrific, indeed a great essay.... The essay is dynamic: it keeps on moving not only to the next poet and poem but to the meaning of all the poetry discussed. Baxter never forgets or lets us forget that his subject is poetry and how best to understand it." Professor Baxter's essay is now posted on the Renascence website as a model and an inspiration for other scholars.

The two runners-up were Mark Bosco, S.J., for "Flannery O'Connor as Baroque Artist: Theological and Literary Strategies" in Volume 62.1, Fall 2009, and Joyce Kerr Tarpley, for "Sonship, Liberty, and Promise Keeping in Sense and Sensibility," in Volume 63.2, Winter 2011. Of Mark Bosco's essay, one judge said, "Bosco imbeds O'Connor in Medieval Christianity.

The learning and interpretation in the essay are remarkable." Of Professor Tarpley's essay, one of the judges said, "Using legal, economic, linguistic, and ecclesiastical contexts, Tarpley demonstrates that in Austen's first novel, keeping one's promise bears a high cost but a moral gain. This is an essay that demonstrates that literary criticism can be an act of wisdom."

Once again this year, the judges found the range and quality of essays read to be high. As in past years, I am pleased with the variety of essays from which the judges chose the best essay. Such variety highlights the consistency of values and principles for which Renascence has been known for more than sixty years.

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Title Annotation:Joseph M. Schwartz Memorial Essay Prize
Author:Block, Ed, Jr.
Publication:Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2012
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