Academic journal article Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature

A Tribute to Joseph Schwartz

Academic journal article Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature

A Tribute to Joseph Schwartz

Article excerpt

DETERMINED, considerate, fair and unafraid are the ways I think of him. Above all, he had the wit of Mercutio, and that sustained him to the end. Just a few days before Labor Day, I telephoned him and he said he was fine but weaker. I said, "Joe, you'll revive, believe me." "I know I will," he answered, then added with a hint of a chuckle, "but I guess I'll have to die first."

Light-years apart in politics (although he felt I would eventually come to my senses), we still could savor with gusto the work of G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, and Richard Wilbur.

As undergraduates, we met twice as intercollegiate debaters. Both times I lost, deservedly ... once in Chicago and once at Notre Dame, my home turf. As a debater, he was smarter than any barrister. He possessed a spontaneous intelligence and was always able to refrain from wasting a riposte until the irrefutable moment presented itself. To debate him was to debate someone without equal and then learn from the experience.

During the intervening years we kept abreast of one another in person, in print, by phone or by mail. …

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