IN DEFENSE OF WILDER
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I was surprised and disappointed to find the letter on Amos Wilder's lectures to be a rather shabby and vague criticism based on misunderstanding, whose publication, it seems to me, is more of a disservice than a service....
Dr. Wilder's lectures... were unfairly represented by Mr. Thayer and probably misunderstood. The reason is ironic: for, rather than spelling things out in the usual academic way, Wilder, himself a poet, created lectures which were artistic wholes whose suggestive parts were given unity by the cumulative effect of all that was said. Speaking honestly but with restraint, he did not attempt to appear profound and relevant (as many do) by repeating what have come to be cliches about man's "existential predicament" as seen by both theologians and artists. Probably he assumed that most of the audience would already be familiar with such analyses, an area which has been adequately covered by other spokesmen.
Instead, he surveyed the historical background of the relation, or lack of it, of theology and art and mentioned signs of and developments in the growing rapprochement. Then he went on, in the last three lectures apparently not attended by Thayer, to deal with some specific issues and specific writers.
Again I must say it is ironic: because Wilder was not content just to repeat what Tillich, Cleanth Brooks and others have been saying, because he did not proclaim the Gospel message to the existential situation, because he did not preach, he is condemned for failing to be "powerful and relevant."
One can almost suggest that you owe Dr. Wilder an apology for having printed such a useless and unfortunate letter. Edward M. Berckman.