The Xavier Zubiri Review, Vol. 4, 2002, pp. 3-4
A Salute to Professor Nelson Orringer
Nelson R. Orringer, a distinguished professor and member of the Board of Directors of the Xavier Zubiri Foundation, is retiring this year from his academic position at the University of Connecticut and also from his position as co-editor of The Xavier Zubiri Review. In light of his outstanding service to our Foundation, we dedicate this issue of the Review to him. Thanks in large part to his untiring efforts and high standards, the Review is now successfully launched as a publication with a worldwide audience.
Professor Orringer received his A.B. in literature from Dartmouth College in 1962. He studied Spanish literature at Brown University, where he was an NDEA fellow, receiving his M.A. in 1965 and his Ph.D. in 1969 with a dissertation on Ortega Y Gasset. After teaching at Williams College he moved to the University of Connecticut in 1974, where he taught Spanish Literature and Comparative Literature, and since 1981 has been full professor.
His published oeuvre is quite extensive, both in scope and in volume. With respect to books, he has seven critical studies and three critical editions to his credit, plus a translation of Zubiri’s Estructura Dinámica de la Realidad which will appear later this year from the University of Illinois Press (please see the advertisement on page 18). Among his most recent books are Herman Cohen (1842-1918) Filosofar como fundamentar, published by Orto in Madrid, 2000; Filosofía de la corporalidad en Ortega y Gasset, published by the University of Navarra in 1999; Ángel Ganivet (1865-1898) La inteligencia escindida, also published by Orto in Madrid, 1998; and La aventura de curar: La antropología médica de Pedro Lain Entralgo, published by Galaxia Gutemberg in Barcelona in 1997. He has also written chapters for some fifty books, and well over one hundred articles and reviews in English and Spanish. He has served on the editorial board of a dozen publications, and delivered some hundred and fifty speeches and lectures around the world. He has taught courses in the United States, Europe, and South America, and is a member of numerous scholarly associations. And of course he has directed many doctoral theses on Spanish literature. In June he will travel to Haifa and Tel Aviv to give courses and lectures.
Professor Orringer’s association with Zubiri studies goes back many years, with his first presentation at a conference of the Modern Language Association in 1983 on the topic, “El problema de la autografía pura: Unamuno, Ortega, Zubiri.” In 1988 he presented a paper entitled “Zubiri en la antropología médica de Laín Entralgo” at the V Seminario de la Historia de la Filosofía Española, held at the University of Salamanca. In 1993, he was one of four Americans who presented papers at the First International Conference on Zubiri in Madrid. His topic was “El tiempo en Zubiri: ¿Saturno destronado?”. It was at this conference that I met him for the first time. His most recent Zubiri article is “Cognitive Intertexts of Estructura dinámica de la realidad, or Aristotle Dynamized”, which appears in this issue of the Review, and which he wrote on the basis of his research for and translation of the subject book. He joined the Xavier Zubiri Foundation of North America shortly after it was founded in 1997, and became a member of the Board of Directors in that same year. Since then he has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Foundation, and was instrumental in organizing the Foundation’s cooperative teaching at the Seminario Redemptoris Mater in Brasilia, Brazil. He helped the Foundation secure many professors to teach Zubiri courses at that institution, and he himself served as professor there twice, teaching courses on Bioethics and Hebrew, both in Portuguese, which he learned for the occasion! He has worked very closely with me both as co-editor of The Xavier Zubiri Review and in my other role as President of the Foundation. Nelson always cheerfully accepted tasks, and carefully and critically read the many manuscripts submitted for publication in the Review. He has devoted enormous amounts of time to his fine translation of Zubiri’s Estructura Dinámica de la Realidad, which will appear later this year.
After his retirement he plans to continue his prolific research and writing, with a first project his new critical edition of Unamuno’s Sentido Tragico de la Vida, based on new and unpublished material he has discovered. He will also continue as a member of the Board of Directors of the Xavier Zubiri Foundation, and undoubtedly will contribute further to Zubiri studies.
I am sure that all readers of the Review and Zubiri scholars worldwide will want to join me in saluting Nelson Orringer for his years of service to the cause of promoting Zubiri’s work and the recognition of Zubiri in the English-speaking world. Those who wish to contact him and offer their congratulations may find his e-mail address after his article in this issue of the Review, on page 17. I know that he will be most gratified to hear from all Zubiri scholars.
Thomas B. Fowler