- Purchase/rental options available:
Philosophy and Rhetoric 33.1 (2000) vii-ix
[Access article in PDF]
In Memory of Henry
I first met Henry W. Johstone Jr. during the spring of 1968. I was a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin and Henry was in Madison as part of a distinguished visitor series hosted by my mentor, Lloyd Bitzer. Lloyd had invited a group of graduate students to his home to meet the guest of honor. I was particularly excited because Henry had accepted my paper on Aristotle's theory of exemplification to appear in the new international journal Philosophy and Rhetoric, which he edited. This was my first publication and I wanted to thank him, which seemed to this novice the appropriate thing to do. I remember that evening for Henry's seeming reserve, which I later learned was a deep shyness that masked his capacity for uncanny directness and a wicked sense of humor, and for his generosity in deflecting my naiveté about the basis for editorial judgments. I also remember it for his deft way of engaging a room of young rhetoricians with questions that conveyed his doubt about their subject (he later changed his mind) without clouding his sincere openness to what we had to say. The following fall, we met again during my interview for a position in the Speech Department at Penn State University. I was offered the position and became Henry's colleague as Book Review Editor of P&R. For the next thirty years, I was blessed to serve as Henry's partner-in-crime in the joys of life that may remain today only among the professoriate. We shared in the editorial work of the journal, in co-teaching our graduate seminar in Philosophy and Rhetoric, in our intellectual passion for the bonds and wars between philosophy and rhetoric, and in the pleasure of choosing the right bottle of wine. But more than that, we shared these common pursuits in contexts of luncheons, dinners, and social occasions that mixed intellectual work with the pleasure of treasured company.
My son phoned today to tell me that Henry had died. His passing leaves a void in my life that goes beyond the loss of a friend and colleague. Henry was the person who, through patient selection of manuscripts for me to referee and guidance, taught me how to read journal submissions and offer critiques that might help the author to improve and the journal to prosper. Henry was the person who taught me the value of generosity with junior colleagues by his respectful and serious engagement of my own work. He had a marvelous capacity to entertain any idea seriously, to consider the possibility that even a far-fetched conjecture might have value rather than rejecting it out of hand. He lived the ideas he wrote about as a philosopher, arguing always ad hominem and con amore. Henry was the person who took me in tow as a young Turk and suffered my impatience with the conservative ways of our established institution [End Page vii] by taking me to lunch, engaging me in discussions of ideas, and sharing the delights of intellectual work, and in the process helping me retain my ideals and my focus.
Lunch for Henry was more than a noontime meal. It was the way he sustained bonds with those he valued as friends and colleagues. He would call two weeks in advance to arrange a date at the Allen Room of the State College Hotel. He would arrive at my office ten minutes early and we would take a leisurely stroll along the Old Main Mall to the hotel. Our arrival was announced by the host with "Good afternoon Dr. Johnstone," that showed in its formality deep respect and in its tone equally deep affection. Henry always took a cocktail with lunch, inviting his companion to join him, and unless you were specific about the bill beforehand, Henry usually insisted on paying. Settling the bill was never an issue for Henry. He often included a graduate assistant from the journal or an assistant professor in our party and seemed to...