During this busy time of year, trusted “stringers” report from the field on events that deserve to be noticed. Last week’s Hiett Prize* Luncheon was one of those occasions that should be shared.
“Without mastering the art of loss, one can never master the art of war” were the closing remarks at the 2012 Hiett Prize Luncheon at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture on Friday. This year’s recipient of the $50,000 prize, Dr. Elizabeth Samet has been an English professor at West Point since 1997 and she transported the luncheon guests on a journey highlighting the vital connection which exists between literature and war.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Dr. Gail and Bob Thomas, Kim Hiett Jordan, Nelda Cain Pickens, Judy and Patrick Kelly, Randy Gordon, Russell and Betty Bellamy, David Griffin and a room full of the Dallas Institute esteemed Fellows were transfixed as Dr. Samet explained how teaching literature to a soldier prepares them for combat. In her stirring speech she credited the 13 texts she would take with her on a desert island and which she believes arms the soldiers with the imagination from within in order to protect them from the violence without.
- The Sword in the Stone – T.H White
- The Iliad – Homer
- Life of Alexander – Plutarch
- Alexander by Thebes – Anna Akhmatova
- Louse Hunting – Isaac Rosenberg
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
- The Odyssey – Homer
- Radetzky March – Joseph Roth
- For the Union Dead – Robert Lowell
- Wind, Sand and Stars – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- War South of the Great Wall – Li Po
- Aeneid – Virgil
- One Art – Elizabeth Bishop
Sen. Hutchison, who has just this year been elected Chairman of the Board of Visitors at the U.S Military Academy at West Point (after previously holding that position twice in earlier years), was so impressed with this year’s recipient that she announced at the end of the presentation that Dr. Samet would be her guest at the Board of Visitors meeting at West Point this coming weekend.
Kim Hiett Jordan was celebrated for endowing the Hiett Prize in perpetuity. It recognizes and celebrates the work of an emerging leader in the Humanities.
* Editor’s note: The Hiett Prize in the Humanities is an annual award aimed at identifying candidates who are in the early stages of careers devoted to the humanities and whose work shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture.
The opposite of a lifetime achievement award, the Hiett Prize seeks to encourage future leaders in the humanities by 1) recognizing their early accomplishment and their potential and 2) assisting their ongoing work through a cash award of $50,000.
The Hiett Prize was endowed by Kim Hiett Jordan, a Lifetime Board Member of the Dallas Institute, to honor her parents, who inspired in her a lifelong love of learning.
Photo credit: Kathy King