Schwartz, Richard Alan 1951-

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SCHWARTZ, Richard Alan 1951-

PERSONAL: Born February 3, 1951, in Miami, FL; son of Robert I. (a self-employed advertiser) and Evelyn (a teacher) Schwartz; divorced. Ethnicity: "American." Education: Attended Colby College, 1969-70; University of South Florida, B.A., 1972; University of Chicago, M.A., 1974, Ph.D., 1977. Hobbies and other interests: Tennis, drawing, painting, yard work.

ADDRESSES: Home—Miami, FL. Office—Department of English, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Indiana University—Northwest, Gary, adjunct professor, 1975-77; University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, adjunct professor, 1977-78; New England Telephone Co., Boston, MA, computer programmer, 1978-79; Florida International University, Miami, began as assistant professor, became professor of English, 1979—, associate director of Institute for Public Policy, 1989-90. Lecturer at University of Palermo, University of Catania, and Bogazici University, between 1985 and 1986; guest on radio programs.

MEMBER: American Humor Studies Association, Institute for Evolutionary Psychology.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1980, 1983, 1988; Outstanding Academic Book citation, Choice, 1997, for The Cold War Reference Guide: A General History and Annotated Chronology, with Selected Biographies.


The Cold War Reference Guide: A General History and Annotated Chronology, with Selected Biographies, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1997.

Cold War Culture, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1997.

Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1998.

Woody, from Antz to Zelig: A Reference Guide to Woody Allen's Creative work, 1964-1998, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2000.

(With Nicholas J. Mason) Following Your Treasure Map, XLibris (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.

The Films of Ridley Scott, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2001.

The 1950s, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Nation, Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, Mathematical Connections, Literature/Film Quarterly, Journal of Aesthetic Education, Isis, and Modern Fiction Studies. Founding editor, Journal for the Art of Teaching, 1992-96.


SIDELIGHTS: Richard Alan Schwartz once told CA: "For me, the dominating question of twentieth-century studies asks how a person can live an authentic, fulfilling, moral, self-actualized life centered around some notion of proper action in a secular, relativistic, machine-dominated, uncertain, and incompletely knowable world, where most social and political relationships center around power and wealth instead of virtue or truth. I see this dilemma as an overriding issue in modern arts and letters, as well as in the conduct of everyday life and international politics.

"The Cold War fostered, though it did not originate, the morally indeterminate environment described above, and I am a Cold War kid. A child when Sputnik inaugurated the space age, Eisenhower was 'getting a bigger bank for the buck' by developing a nuclear arsenal, and Khrushchev was promising to bury us, I am also of the generation that fought and protested the Vietnam war and went on to become yuppies. American Cold War-related literature and film have dominated my research and teaching, and from my courses on the arts and letters of the Cold War grew Cold War Reference Guide: A General History and Annotated Chronology, with Selected Biographies, Cold War Culture, an encyclopedia of Cold War-related literature, film, television, performing arts, fine arts, and popular culture, and The 1950s, which provides an overview of social, political, scientific, business, literary, artistic, cultural, and pop-cultural developments for each year of the decade.

"Having exorcized some of my Cold War demons, I decided to advance into the 'new world order.' Anticipating offering courses relating to the Persian Gulf War, I wrote Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War in order to educate myself about it. The book covers both political and military developments." Later, Schwartz added: "I then returned to my academic roots by studying the craft of storytelling in my studies of the creative work of Woody Allen and the films of Ridley Scott. Allen, especially, shares my interest in exploring how we can negotiate our ways through murky, imperfectly knowable reality."

In his original essay Schwartz continued: "Aspects of the modernist world view also appear in my other scholarship and in my creative writing. My articles on Absalom, Absalom! and Thelma and Louise consider how these stories construct classical tragedies in indeterminate, morally ambiguous settings. Other scholarship shows conceptual affinities between modern science and modern arts. For instance, relativity theory and cubism share an interest in multiple frames of reference, and 'complementarity' theory, Escher drawings, and sophisticated punning all allow for the coexistence of mutually exclusive opposites."

Recently Schwartz commented: "Although wisdom stands at the peak of the hierarchy of facts, knowledge, and sagacity, it often receives scant attention. In the fifteen years I have known Nicholas Mason, I have found him to be a great source of wisdom and inspiration. A practicing psychologist and hypnotherapist, Dr. Mason has synthesized what he has learned into a coherent philosophy of life, which he calls a 'treasure map.' He has found that, by maintaining heightened awareness, respecting our bodies and spirits, and invoking the powers of our subconscious, we can reach our optimum levels of fulfillment. The book Following Your Treasure Map develops his philosophy at length and explains how to put it into practice.

"My fiction often skirts the line between the real and the surreal, and the current practices of absurdist political protest and unfettered personal expression on the Internet enable me to walk that line in my recent novel Among other matters, the book addresses the dangers of terrorism and some of the moral and philosophical issues faced by those who must confront it."

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Schwartz, Richard Alan 1951-

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