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Senior editor's page.

It is once more with particular pleasure that we at Renascence present this special issue; showcasing the fifth Joseph M. Schwartz Memorial Essay, Professor Thomas Wortham's "William Dean Howells's Spiritual Quest(ioning) in a 'World Come of Age.'"

This biennial, commissioned essay honors the late Dr. Schwartz, emeritus professor of English at Marquette University and past editor--for seventeen years--of this journal. In alternate years, Renascence honors Dr. Schwartz by awarding a $1,000 prize for the essay judged best among those published in Renascence during the previous two years. The prize-winning essay is chosen by three of the Renascence Associates.

Dr. Schwartz would be especially pleased with this year's presenter, and his lecture. Tom Wortham received his B.A. from Marquette and was a student in Dr. Schwartz's twentieth-century American literature course, the area for which Dr. Schwartz was best known, as teacher and scholar. Tom credits Dr. Schwartz with setting the critical and scholarly bar high, leading him to strive for that level of expertise in American literature during his graduate work at Indiana University.

The essay itself presents a multi-dimensional view of one of nineteenth-century American literature's premier "realists," the many-sided William Dean Howells. Professor Wortham has spent decades studying and publishing on Howells. This essay, on Howells's struggle with belief, benefits from those decades' labor.

This issue is also special in a number of other ways. The opening essay, "Moral Theology in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is by the Rev. David Beauregard, a long-time contributor to the journal.

The second essay in this special issue introduces a writer too-little known in this country, the award-winning Canadian author, Gabrielle Roy. I have little doubt that Dr. Schwartz would admire not only the breadth and quality of the argument but its elegant style as well.

The third essay in the issue would also particularly please Dr. Schwartz. "'My Life is a Work of Art': Oscar Wilde's Novelistic and Religious Conversions," by Sr. Ann Astell, applies the theories of anthropological literary critic Rene Girard to selected works of Oscar Wilde. Sr. Ann is professor of the theology department at Notre Dame University and a former student of Dr. Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz was also critically interested in Girard's work. It was on account of Girard's deep Catholic sensibility that Dr. Schwartz invited Professor Girard to join the Renascence Associates

Dr. John Curran (who assumed the editorship of Renascence in fall --as I took a one-year transition term as Senior Editor) and the staff at Renascence hope that this special issue commemorating Dr. Schwartz and his contribution to Renascence contains something that all attendees at the lecture, and all other readers, find informative and enriching.

Ed Block, Senior Editor

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Author:Block, Ed
Publication:Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Mar 22, 2013
Words:449
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