Friday, 29 July 2022

1451) Edward Shils

Edward Albert Shils (1910 – 1995). Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and in Sociology at the University of Chicago and an influential sociologist. He was known for his research on the role of intellectuals and their relations to power and public policy. His work was honored in 1983 when he was awarded the Balzan Prize. In 1979, he was selected by the National Council on the Humanities to give the Jefferson Lecture, the highest award given by the U.S. federal government for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

Shils had a fraught relationship with Saul Bellow, a colleague at the University of Chicago who also served on the Committee on Social Thought. Shils served as his "mentor, character model and editor" and figures prominently in many of Bellow's novels, including Mr. Sammler's Planet (Artur Sammler), Humboldt's Gift (Professor Durnwald), and Ravelstein (Rakhmiel Kogon). Artur Sammler and Professor Durnwald are both described glowingly, but in Ravelstein the Shils character is treated with "animosity [that] reaches lethal proportions" following a falling out between the two.
- "... and the florid coloring that suggested the potential pug nacity of a former redhead."
- "... five foot eight, stocky, with a reddish complexion and one red hair."


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