4.0437 O.B. Hardison, Jr. (1/50)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 28 Aug 90 22:27:29 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0437. Tuesday, 28 Aug 1990.

Date: 28 Aug 90 17:41:00 EDT
From: "Mary Dee Harris" <mdharris@guvax.georgetown.edu>
Subject: O.B. Hardison, Jr. -- A Renaissance Man

On Friday, August 24, 1990, I had the sad honor of speaking at a
memorial service for the recently deceased O.B. Hardison, Jr., a
short-term member of our crew. To say that he was a Humanist is an
understatement in several senses, but he had subscribed to HUMANIST only
last spring. He died after a short illness on August 5.

O.B. was the Director of the Folger Library for 14 years; while there he
started the Shakespeare Theater, opened the reading rooms to a wider
audience, organized the Folger Consort, raised enough money to turn a
quiet library into a national treasure.

O.B. published about 30 books, two of them poetry, 6 original texts, and
the others commentaries on various subjects and authors from Horace to

O.B. was a dedicated teacher, originally at Chapel Hill (University of
North Carolina) and recently at Georgetown University. He taught
Shakespeare by having his students act out the plays. He arranged for
me to teach a course call "Literary Analysis with Computers" because he
thought it was time to get that sort of course into the curriculum.

O.B. was fascinated with computers. Since he claimed that students today
would learn more about poetry if it were presented to them like MTV, he
started a multi-media presentation of Lysidas on his beloved Amiga. With
accompaniment of the opening notes of Thus Spake Zarathustra, leafs
float down the screen and a tear falls from a huge eye, while the lines
of the poem are displayed below.

O.B.'s book, _Disappearing through the Skylight: Culture and Technology
in the Twentieth Century_ is the second in a trilogy, published last
December. It should be required reading for participants in this
network. The book covers biology, architecture, poetry, art, and
cybernetics, while alluding to everything from ancient Greek work to
modern poetry.

And O.B. was my friend, a man with a wonderful family and hundreds of
friends, who will sorely miss this beautiful, optimistic, funny,
creative man. His book ends with a quotation from "Sailing to
Byzantium" -- "Of what is past, or passing, or to come." One of the
speakers at the memorial service read that and commented that O.B. lived
in the past, the present, and the future. I still find myself saying "I
have to remember to tell O.B. about that."

O.B., we'll finish the conversation later.

Mary Dee Harris