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On University Avenue: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Photo credit: PRD 2024.



Custer’s cavalry once clattered down this street,

Here loveless debt earned Edgar Allan Poe the boot,

The Pléiade immortel Julien Green*

Gazed, like Keats’s “stout Cortez,” on waving seas—of wheat,

Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County sank its root,

Robert Aldrich forged his “macho mise-en-scène,”

Paul Bowles in far Morocco pondered now and then.

The great Library, rebuilt at immense expense,

Calls all these makers to its latter-day defense!


If Alderman** was a mere Philistine

(Or perhaps an unmitigated swine)

The sky above whose head was brass and iron,

Who failed to feel the hurtful prick of present sense,

Woe betide us! Say it ain't so!!


Seduced by the flirty whims of time

in conflict with its self-inflicted face,

T. J.’s academic village's become a promiscuous place

Embracing the hottie Wither—screwing dumb Whence!

March 15, 2024



*In 1971, the Paris-born American writer Julien Green (1900–98), an alumnus (1919–22) of the University of Virginia—where he was astonished to see farm fields from his classroom window—was elected to the Académie française (whose forty members are called les immortels), the first non-French national to be thus honored. “Green’s reputation rests principally not on his novels, but on his journals, which spanned the years 1919 to 1998, and which he edited and published in nineteen volumes” (Wikipedia). See on these works https:/www.la-pleiade.fr/Auteur/Julien-Green.


**The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors voted on February 29, 2O24, to rename its main library, known since 1938 as the Alderman Library in memory of its first president, the Progressive reformer Edwin A. Alderman (1861–1931), latterly discovered to have been a racist eugenicist like almost everyone else of academic or intellectual note in that era. It is now called the Shannon Library, memorializing UVA's fourth president, the (so far) irreproachable Edgar F. Shannon Jr. (1918–97).

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