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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 66, Number 2 (Nov. 1964)

Kubly, Herbert
Discovering America,   pp. 12-14


Wisconsin's first woman engineering graduate is always exploring,   pp. 14-15


Page 14


young writer, exploding like a rocket his early brilliance,
and never growing to a maturity of his powers.
  The price of maturing can be dear. For artists, feed-
ing longer on their early years than ordinary men, do
not move easily with resigned unawareness toward
maturity. Sometimes an artist, suddenly catapulted into
a realization of his middle years, loses his sense of di-
rection and is shattered by crises which may crush him
for months or even years. It is possible that a writer,
taking psychic risks, needs this trial by rebirth, this
cataclysmic upheaval in which the irresponsibilities of
youth are discarded, and from which a shaken maturity
rises from the wreckage like a soul in resurrection.
  The past is unalterable and must be reconciled. I
know that to make my peace with it I must understand
its part in the present; I must see it as a necessary
growth toward the man I now am and the man I will
become. If I did not understand the past as such, the
memory of mistakes made, of pain inflicted on others-
deliberatey or by neglect-become a last judgment in-
ferno of demons. The only redemption from this her-
itage of guilt is to turn the face forward, to raise the
eyes upward and accept with as much courage as pos-
sible one's human responsibility. It seems to me that
this is the real meaning of Jesus, of the Christian com-
mitment.
  No doubt every writer feels that society is a con-
spiracy against him-it is that tendency toward para-
noia that made him a writer in the first place. One of
the tenets upon which all society is based, by which it
survives, is its support of the conventionality of the
mass against the originality of the individual. The
enemies of talent-neglect, hostility, rejection, pov-
erty-do exist and the writer must understand that the
moment when he chose to be a writer he took them
upon himself and that forever after they may be the
terms and conditions of his life.
  The fact is that the same things which bring a writer
pain also spur him on, for everything that happens to
him is included in the perimeter of his experience.
The only real source of one's work is one's own life,
where the self-destructive forces of death are eternally
at war with the proliferations of life. Emily Bronte was
Heathcliffe, and Dostoevski Raskolnikov; Stavrogin,
Prince Myshkin and Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov are
all emanations of their creator's many-faceted and torw
tured soul. For writing is a confession, a search for ab-
solution from anguish, the road by which the writer,
accepting life without capitulating to its injustices,
survives. If he is very fortunate he may gain a measure
of that which he is forever seeking-attention and some-
times a little understanding.
   A soul in crisis is one without hope. The hope that
remains when all others are gone is that I shall con-
tinue to write. Chekhov has said that the writer is
"bound under contract by conscience and by duty."
His duty is to articulate the voices that speak to him,
and in the end he must be known by the quality of
their truth.
E MILY    Hahn, the writer, is a
   rather unique alumna of the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin-she is the first
woman to have graduated from the
College of Engineering.
   How did she ever get into the
College of Engineering? "Actually,
I started out studying geology," she
admits. "Then one day I heard Prof.
Louis Kahlenberg lecture in inor-
ganic chemistry. I decided that I
had to study chemistry with this
man, but the only way you could
take his course was to be in engi-
neering. This meant that I had to
get permission to take a course out
of the College of Letters and Sci-
ence. I went to Dean Sellery and
asked permission. He said 'no.'
  "That made me furious and in a
rage I decided to transfer to engi-
neering. They scrambled around to
try to find some restriction, but they
had to let me in because there were
no rules to prevent me from taking
engineering."
   The reception Miss Hahn re-
ceived from the engineers was
hardly congenial. "They hated me,"
she confesses. But after a while, the
engineers "got used to me." They
became resigned to the sight of a
woman in their midst and the bel-
ligerence subsided.
   Miss Hahn is married to Prof.
 Charles R. Boxer who is Camoens
Wisconsin Alumnus
14


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