Roger Shattuck, circa 1965 The Texas Observer Archives BOOKS & THE C “::.RE I BY DICK HOLLAND Roger Shattuck in Austin FM fifty years ago the University of Texas was entering a golden era led by the dynamic Harry Ransom, who created one of the great libraries in the world and brought a first-class faculty to Austin. The shining light of this group was Roger Shattuck, a graceful French literature scholar and true polymath, who also made his mark in Austin as a spokesman for civil rights and regular contributor to The Texas Observer. Shattuck’s passing on December 1 was marked by lengthy obituaries in The London Times, The Boston Globe, and The New York Times, tributes befitting one of America’s leading literary men. The newspaper stories summarized Shattuck’s most important books, from his groundbreaking study of modernism, The Banquet Years to his 1996 polemic, Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography, an argument against moral relativism. As the obituaries made clear, Shattuck was a public intellectual who was not afraid to tackle tough subjects. Missing from the tributesor mentioned just in passingwas the almost 20 years that Roger Shattuck and his family spent in Austin. Born in 1923, Shattuck was the son of a prominent New York City physician. In 1941 he entered Yale, but left to join the Army Air Corps. As a captain he flew missions over Japan, including missions over Hiroshima soon after the bomb was dropped. After he graduated from Yale in 1947, he went to Paris where he lived off his combat pay. There he was hired to film documentaries for UNESCO, interviewing the likes of Jean Cocteau and Alice B. Toklas. In 1949 he married Nora White, a dancer with Les Ballets de Paris and 26 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 27, 2006
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