Combat Scholar To Speak At Symposium; Jones Awareness Continues To Spread
Unlike the volatile swings of the stock market in recent weeks, James Jones' legacy as one of the literary giants of 20th century American literature continues moving in an upward, bullish spiral worthy of his work.
That high literary esteem is supported in another way by the work of Gerald H. Linderman, history professor emeritus at the University of Michigan and author of several books on the combat experience of men at war. He has been added to the program of the 2000 James Jones Literary Society Symposium to be held Oct. 28 at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus.
Linderman's World War II book, The World Within War, cites James Jones in 35 instances, more than any other source, in explaining how WWII American soldiers dealt with combat. Society board member Carl Becker, himself a World War II combat veteran and a retired Wright State University history professor, said,"Linderman goes to Jones for support of his principal argument (throughout the book).
"He has limned, I think, an accurate portrait of combat and uses Jones effectively to illustrate his views. He should make a good presentation on Jones' understanding of combat, a subject of continuing interest among American scholars."
Besides the WWII book, Linderman has written similar books on the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and is currently working on a book about the Vietnam soldiers' combat experience.
Final details of the symposium will be available in the summer newsletter. But mark Oct. 28 on your calendar to attend the James Jones Symposium. It promises to be another interesting look at Jones and his work.
In other news, the Robinson (Ill.) City Council recently approved signs to be placed at the city limits, noting that Robinson is the home of author James Jones. A dedication ceremony has been planned for the afternoon of May 17. You're invited to that, too.
Kaylie Jones reported that cataloguing of the James Jones papers at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) is underway. Sally Leach, associate director of the UT Library, where many of the James Jones papers have been deposited, recently wrote Kaylie, "I am happy to tell you that the head of our Department of Manuscripts and Archives, Kris Kiesling, reports that the Jones archive is in the process of being catalogued. As part of that operation, anything which is particularly fragile or deteriorated will be either rehoused for better protection and/or sent to the conservation department for treatment."
Because the archive is so large, Leach said it will take a long time to catalog. After a quick look at the existing list, Kiesling estimated it would take more than a year to complete the cataloguing.
"Of nearly 300 boxes," Leach said, "fewer than 60 contain works, and the rest is a mix of correspondence and everything else-in other words, a major sorting job, according to Kris."
If that's not enough to keep Jones' literary-legacy spiral moving upward, a television mini-series of Whistle is now in production, a major reprinting of James Jones' work is underway and Wu Jun is translating From Here To Eternity into Chinese, in hopes of publishing it in China.
-- Ray Elliott, President
1999 SYMPOSIUM SPEAKERS SERIES
Editor's Note: The following text is author Budd Schulberg's edited remarks from the 1999 James Jones Literary Society Symposium at the Southampton Campus of Long Island University last June. This is the second in a series of the distinguished speakers' edited comments to be published:
I'm really happy to be here this morning to have a chance to play a small part in this tribute that we're making to Jim that is so, so richly deserved.
I met Jim this way: It was in 1957. I was working in New York City, working with (Elia) Kazan. We were trying to do a follow-up film to the (On The) Waterfront film we'd done together. I was working on a movie called A Face in the Crowd. I went to a cocktail party that Harvey Breit, who was the associate editor of The New York Times Book Review, was giving-a little kind of literary liquid gathering. It was actually in the apartment of Ernest Hemingway that Harvey had been using. He was a friend of Ernest's. There I met, for the first time, someone who had just walked into town, Jim Jones.
Jim Jones looked, to me, very much like a hick, a hick from the sticks. He wasn't dressed like the rest of us. He didn't have the uniform on right, and he wore those big brown shoes and stuff like that. It just didn't look right there on Fifth Avenue and 62nd Street. But we got to talking, and we got along great. Well, we sort of fell to talking about things, various things, about boxing-he was as interested in boxing as I was.
After the party, we went out to dinner together and we kept talking and then we went back to my apartment and we talked all through the night. One thing that affected me was that Jim had just come to town with his second novel, and the second novel was still in manuscript. And it was the biggest I've seen-I've had a lot of friend authors in my life, but this was the thickest manuscript I have ever seen. It took a strong man to carry this thing. I mean it was about like this, literally two Manhattan telephone books, and it was called Some Came Running. Jim said he had been working on it for six years.
We talked about the second-novel syndrome, the fear of that, especially in America, the writers who have suffered through a phenomenal first-novel success, the kind of success that Jim Jones had with From Here to Eternity, which was a breakthrough in every way. It was critically hailed, sold millions of copies and made an awful lot of money, and it became a hit movie. It was an American success story and is something that Jim and I both commiserated with each other that night back at my place. There is something very tough in our society about having a first-novel success. I had had that happen to me. And it really is something in this country that happens to you. When I wrote What Makes Sammy Run? I was instantly famous and people were saying, "How will you take it?," "How are you taking it?" or "How is he taking it?" It was a barrage. Well, if anything, Jim's book was even bigger, and he had gone home to a small town in Illinois-I admired him for that-even after the success of the movie and after Jim had become a celebrity, he did go back to his old loom and sit there, weaving and weaving and weaving, year after year after year.
Finally, he came up with this very, very long book. Maybe twice as long, I'm not sure of this, but I think it could be twice as long as From Here To Eternity, which was not exactly a novella. And I felt sorry for Jim because I thought, as I looked at the size of this thing, I thought of all those hours and hours and days and weeks and years that Jim had been sitting there while he could be famous somewhere else, sitting there in a small town in Illinois, typing away on something he believed in, the so-called arduous, very tough-to-overcome syndrome of the second novel.
We talked late that night, went on drinking and talking, and I forgot at some point, I didn't remember how or when I went to sleep, and I remember in the morning going out in the living room and hearing the not-so-gentle sound of snoring and I went out maybe around noon-this is not how writers spend all of their time, by the way-I went out and there was Jimmy on the floor, sleeping on the floor, soundly.
We got up, had breakfast about three o'clock that afternoon and talked some about his book. And then about five o'clock I said, "I have to go somewhere. I'm going to a friend's for cocktails." This may be name dropping, but forgive me. I said, "Friend of mine, Faye Emerson." And Jimmy said, "Oh, great. I'd love to meet Faye Emerson. So can I go with you?" And thinking about this huge book, I felt that I had to let him come with me. So we went there, and we began to do the same thing as the night before. We went and chatted with her for a while and had a few drinks and went out for dinner, came back to the apartment, and we went on talking. By this time, I began to have the feeling that Jim and I had been married for several years. At the same time, some of the talk was pertinent.
He had asked me to start reading the novel and here and there, an hour here and an hour there, I had been plowing through Some Came Running. I was maybe a third through it by now. We began to argue a little bit about t. I had the feeling reading it that it was two wonderful things: a lot of true people and insights about a young wanna-be writer. From time to time, it would grip me, but then at other times I felt that it just was too much and that it really ought to be trimmed and trimmed and trimmed and squeezed down. And I began to wonder a bit about the form of it, and we got into one of those arguments and it was very much the way Scott Fitzgerald argued with (Thomas Wolfe). Anyway, the feeling that I had was that a novel, in the Flaubert way, should have a definite form. It should have as much of a form as a play or a movie. And Thomas Wolfe had argued with Scott about that side, and (Scott) had insisted on form. And Wolfe had insisted on content, that you just let it flow and let it all hang out, put it all in. And Scott thought, no, put it in and then take it out. Anyway, we argued about things like that, and we talked again through the second night.
On the third day, we repeated this very much the same way. We did the same thing. By this time, Jim was really living there at the place, and I still didn't have the heart to tell him that it was getting a bit much I thought because, honestly, every time I looked at Jim, I looked at that manuscript and I felt I had to do something for him. I knew what it was. And I knew how anxious he was about the second novel, and I was somewhat concerned for him that he might be in for a tough time unless he did something drastic to his book. So often the critics who are there loving your first book are just waiting in a cave to leap out at you on the next one. And I had a feeling that might happen to Jim.
At the same time, I admired Jim's character, his literary character. He-I'm trying to say this right-I mean he wasn't interested in writing per se, he wasn't interested if I talked about Scott's lovely lines ... and all the rest of it. Jim wasn't interested in that. What it was about was to just put down, as honestly as he could, what he was feeling. And so you'll find, looking through all of the work and some marvelous work of Jim Jones, you'll find very few fancy similies and metaphors or any kind of literary flourishes. It's just, here's what happened, here's the way I remember this. It sort of goes on like that. At its best, it's a very, very effective, maybe the best kind of American writing. It's almost a common-place writing in a way. It's sort of aimed really at the people, and it doesn't have the style, it doesn't have the posture of an Ernest Hemingway. It doesn't have any intellectuality of a Norman Mailer. It just sort of is.
And at its best, which you see in marvelous books-I loved From Here To Eternity-but The Thin Red Line could be the best war book ever written in America. That book is a tremendous book. It really answered the challenge that was thrown at Jim: Can anybody write a better book about the military than From Here to Eternity? And that book, even though there were scores of characters, 20-30 people that you get to know fairly well, what you really get to know is the company. Company C becomes the character of the book. It really says that all of these people, even though they're so important, each one to themselves, are really each just a cog. The hero of the book is Company C. Jim had an understanding of the military that goes beyond, I think, any American writer.
Anyway, back at my apartment, on the third day, wherever I went, Jim was saying things like, "Well, what are we doing today?," "Where are we going?" We were absolutely joined at the hip. Finally it came Monday morning and reality was setting in. I had to go up and meet Kazan. I had promised to bring him a new scene he was waiting for. And so I finally told Jim that, even though I was really enjoying his company, it couldn't go on like this anymore. And he was sort of crestfallen.
And at that point, I looked at him and I said, "Jim, what's wrong with you?"-This is now the way great writers speak to each other-and Jim's answer was, "I'm lonely." That's exactly what he said, he said, "I'm lonely." And then we talked a few minutes about that. He had written, he was really lost in the city, he was on the verge of a-we had talked about that sort of a very serious change in his life. He had had a rather strange dependence on this patron of the arts in the small town in Illinois who'd set up a kind of writers colony where Jim had worked. And they'd had a very strong relationship, but Jim, I think, probably due to the success of From Here To Eternity and probably to just maturing and growing up, had the feeling that this was really coming to an end, and I think I simply happened to meet Jim at a critical moment in his life when he knew what had come behind, but wasn't really sure where he was going-exactly how, almost how he would live, because he had lived in this protected cocoon, in a way, that Mrs. Handy ran out there for such a long time, and he was really breaking out of this cocoon now and not knowing quite how to do it.
And at this point, he said he really needed someone to be with. And he didn't feel like just camping around town, meeting a bunch of different girls. All of that. He was really, he was like a little ad that you see in those personals about looking for a serious relationship. And so, he said, "I really need a girl. I need a girl to live with through my whole life." And I said, "That's a pretty tall order. What sort of girl are you looking for?" And Jim said, "Well, I'd like to have someone who looks kind of like Marilyn Monroe, except that she is literary, knows about writers, is interested in writing and also has a great sense of humor," and he went on and on about this person that should not really have existed in the world.
The only thing is I happened to know one person like that. Just by accident, she'd been in small roles in several films of ours, and I had happened to meet and admire Gloria Mosolino and I said, "Well, Jim, I know somebody who is a stand-in for Marilyn Monroe, and actually she wrote a pretty good novel." She wrote a novel about Pottsville, Pa., that I thought was publishable. It's only problem was that it sort of overlapped with the work of John O'Hara. It even has the same characters in it because O'Hara used Gloria's uncle, a bootlegger in Pottsville, as one of the main characters in Appointment in Samarra, so they're writing about the same people. And she wrote about them very well. So that's when Jim picked up his ears and said, "Gosh, when could I meet her?" and I said, "Well, I'll call her and ask her."
So I did. I called Mos, as we all called her for Mosolino, and I said, "Mos, I have a friend here who is from out of town who is looking to meet someone who looks like Marilyn Monroe, is literary and writes, and is interested in authors and, obviously, I thought of you." She said, "Budd, you know me pretty well, do you think I'll like him?" And I took a deep breath, I looked at Jim waiting there, looking at me as I talked and I said, "Gloria, I hope you're sitting down, ut I have some kind of strange feeling that you're going to marry him."
Two weeks later they sent me a telegram congratulating me on my wisdom of my matchmaking, and they were on their way to Haiti to be married. As I said just previously, forever after, it was one of those really marvelous, creative and loving experiences. You don't see too many like them.
Jim went on to, as we all know, a really notable career. Some Came Running came out and took its lumps, as I feared it might. It got a few favorable reviews, but a good deal of abuse for over-writing, over-long, all kinds of things, but it did at least succeed for Jim in breaking through to that second novel. It had only taken six years and he was, in a sense, released to go on and do all the work that would follow.
As I watched his career develop-I often remember that argument we had about form and content-and here and there in other books like Go to the Widow Maker, I felt the lack of form throughout the work. But there was too much again, lots and lots of great stuff in it; but on the other hand, Jim really was a natural and he had his own sense of form and I think as he matured as a-well, I don't know if you can mature from From Here To Eternity, which is almost a perfect book, it's a gorgeous book to re-read-but I think he did mature insofar as later on he was thinking about editing, he was thinking about the form of a book like The Thin Red Line and in a work like The Pistol that is really a very wonderful little short, self-contained book. Jim Jones proved that he did hold his own in the battle of form and content and all the rest. When it came to form, at his best he could hold his own with Flaubert and Scott Fitzgerald, who didn't do so great with form in Tender Is The Night, either, but filled it with wonderful material.
Anyway, I'm really happy that you asked me. I feel proud to be just one stepping stone in the life and the career of Jim Jones. I wonder sometimes if fate, some sort of force, is at work with people because it was a fortuitous moment that brought Jim and me together that night at Harvey Breit's cocktail party. I'm awfully, awfully happy that it happened. When I look at Kaylie Jones, now a successful novelist in her own right, I always get a little tearful, but I can't help the way I feel about it.
Cimema Studies Conference Panel Examines Films Of Jones' Novels
The Society for Cinema Studies (SCS) held its annual conference in Chicago March 9-12. Like The Modern Language Association for English, SCS represents the most prestigious American conference for the area of film and media studies. A call for papers for a panel titled "James Jones, The Thin Red Line, and Cinematic Adaptation" went out last summer. These formed the basis of the actual panel held at mid-day Thursday, March 9, on the opening day of the conference. Two papers dealt with From Here to Eternity while the remainder examined Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line.
Professor Brian 0'Leary of Kutztown University presented the first paper, "Narrative Agency in From Here to Eternity: A Linguistics-based Interpretation." Although based upon theories of narratology, the presentation turned out to be an accessible examination of the position of characters in paired relationships throughout the film. Professor 0'Leary illustrated his argument by focusing upon the introductory sequence of (Fred) Zinnemann's film by analyzing the positions of Prewitt and Warden within the frame. A significant difference existed between the positions prior to Prewitt's eventual provocation into the fist fight and those after that incident.
Despite the brief 20-minute presentation, Professor 0'Leary referred to the cinematic development of a character's isolation or belonging to a group which occur in James Jones's actual novel. After the fist fight, Warden takes Prewitt's position right of frame while the increasingly isolated Prewitt now occupies the left portion.
Professor 0'Leary also supplied a breakdown of Warden's pairings with characters such as Karen Holmes, Captain Holmes and others in the film. Although based in the theoretical world of narratology, Professor 0'Leary's presentation did illustrate how the field of cinema operates in a more concrete manner than the novel by placing characters in basic situations which also develop meaningful relationships in different ways than the sophisticated literary mechanisms of the original text.
The next presentation was by Professor Leger Grindon of Middlebury College, Vermont. As an expert in the area of cinematic interpretations of boxing (and chair of a former SCS panel on that subject), Professor Grindon again examined another cinematic interpretation of Prewitt. His original proposal, "Codes of Violence, Modes of Suffering: The Reluctant Boxer in From Here to Eternity," was now titled "Responses to Suffering: the Conclusion of From Here to Eternity."
A title change is nothing new in a conference presentation and this one complemented the preceding paper which analyzed the introductory sequence of Zinnemann's film. The paper engaged in a serious analysis of the film's treatment of suffering in terms of the various characters involved. Despite the necessary changes from the novel, Professor Grindon concluded that this "remarkable Hollywood film" did make a serious attempt at "portraying unredemptive suffering as the bedrock of human experience." This paper presentation intuitively touched upon issues raised by Steven Carter in his recent book on Jones brought to Professor Grindon's attention during the final discussion.
The next two presentations complemented each other in significant ways. Professor Donald Staples of the University of North Texas delivered a critical assault on Malick's film entitled, "Reader vs. Spectator, The Thin Red Line, Authorial Misdirection." His paper raised traditional questions concerning cinematic adaptation such as fidelity to the text and supposed historical misinterpretations.
Professor Staples concluded his paper by commenting, "In the 1998 The Thin Red Line there is more of Terrence Malick on the screen than there is James Jones." However, the presentation was superbly illustrated by the letterboxed video version of the film, the only format in which it should really be viewed.
The final paper was a joint presentation by two faculty members from Texas Christian University. Professors Joan McGettigan and David Whillock took issue with Staples's perspective on The Thin Red Line in their collaborative paper, "Film Realities and Audience Expectations: Reading History in(to) The Thin Red Line." Although brief due to time constraints, both presenters delivered some extremely fertile and relevant observations concerning the reception and structure of Malick's film.
Professor McGettigan spoke about the competing claims of Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan to historical verisimilitude against the more artistic nature of Malick's film. She contrasted certain hostile audience receptions to the latter film in terms of a clash between two competing classical film theories: Siegfried Kracuauer's Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality and Rudolph Arnheim's Film as Art. The latter theory certainly supported Malick's different directorial perspective on a war film while Spielberg's claims to realism appeared highly questionable in terms of the perennial debate as to whether film is "realistic" in any sense. Professor Whillock's father is a Guadalcanal veteran with whom he discussed Malick's film in detail. During his presentation, Professor Whillock pointed out that several of the "artistic" sequences in Malick's film were actually derived from contemporary drawings and paintings which appeared in Life magazine. He noted that Witt's often scared expression came directly from a well-known painting of a Guadalcanal veteran which appeared in a '40s Life issue.
The panel then moved to its conclusion with ten minutes left for discussion. During the final moments before the next panel, I decided to act also as respondent and raise some issues which were not well known to those outside The James Jones Literary Society. These involved Jones' interest in Eastern philosophy, the original prologue to The Thin Red Line now in Yale University archives which exhibited a different subjective perspective than that in the final novel, Jones' Saturday Evening Post essay on "Phony War Movies," the James Jones Archives at the Harry Ransom Humanities Collection in the University of Texas at Austin, the JJLS newsletter item (Vol. 9, No. 2) on Malick's interest in Martin Heidegger, and the possible influence of Cornel Wilde's neglected war movie Beach Red (1967) on The Thin Red Line in terms of its use of cinematic voice-overs.
(For those interested, Video Search of Miami has a reasonable copy of Beach Red with Spanish subtitles. Call toll-free at 888-279-9773).
Movies References In Eternity
Steven Carter's recent study, James Jones: An American Literary Orientalist, makes a compelling case for the writer's interest in Eastern philosophy. But, as well as being a great war novelist, Jones is one of the great interpretative artists of contemporary cultural life. He is, first and foremost, an American novelist. As well as acclaiming his artistic achievements, future studies also need to locate the author within the context of his times. Jones may have often dealt with questions dealing with the differences between "here" and "eternity." But his cosmological perspectives are often grounded in an intuitive awareness of the social constraints of everyday life from which no transcendental escape may be entirely possible.
In From Here to Eternity, Prewitt confronts several issues of personal, social and political survival which relate not just to his life as an enlisted man but also to a subjectivity formed by '30s culture. He is the last individualist of an American tradition in danger of rapid extinction before the encroaching world of corporate America, one also facing the characters in Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead.
In Jones's first great novel, Prewitt encounters issues concerning false subjectivity generated by an industrial and military machine seeking to crush individuality. One of these issues concerns the misleading images of individuality generated by the movie industry. Although both Jones and Prewitt never engage in recognizable critiques of '30s culture characteristic of talents such as James T. Farrell and Dwight McDonald, the dilemma the former pair face bears several resemblances to the decline of the Lincoln Republican ideal depicted in John Dos Passos's U.S.A.
According to Michael Denning's The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (1997), the 1930s saw a gradual realization of the decline of once dominant traditional ideals. In From Here to Eternity, Prewitt also critiques images of "false consciousness" generated by Hollywood studios to deceive mass audiences. In many ways, Jones often anticipates 70 theories of cinematic suture which describe the ways popular cinema manipulated subjectivity. For both Jones and Prewitt, the old ideals simply do not work any more.
In chapter nine, Jones refers to the world of college athletics dominated by conflicting images of "Knute Rockne movies" and the developing knowledge that team loyalty was "a commodity and could be shifted easily" (101, Avon paperback edition). In describing a "hunger for a return to innocence," Jones obviously refers to the 1940 Warner Brothers movie Knute Rockne-All American, starring Pat 0'Brien in the title role and Ronald Reagan playing "The Gipper." Although the future president often referred to this role in his campaign speeches, a discrepancy existed between the real George Gipp and his saintly cinematic counterpart. In any case, Jones also recognizes the illusionary nature of both this film and the heroic model it promoted.
In chapter 12, Sgt. Milt Warden refers to a fellow soldier "covering up his fear with this Victor McLaglen doing one of his movie soldier acts" (156). Although McLaglen played a diverse number of roles during the 1930s, films such as What Price Glory? (1926), Wee Willie Winkie (1937) and Gunga Din (1939), he anticipated the later stereotypical Irish sergeant buffoon act he would play in later John Ford films such as Fort Apache (1946), She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950). Despite his ethic image, McLaglen had served as Captain with the Irish Fusiliers during World War I and acted as temporary provost marshal of Baghdad. The real McLaglen performed an "act" as much as Warden's predecessor.
In chapter 14, Prewitt discusses silent western movie actors such as Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Bob Steele and Hoot Gibson with his fellow soldiers. He compares them unfavorably to their successors such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne and Gary Cooper (193-196). Prewitt also realizes that the old heroic ideal is now defunct in the 20th century.
"'All the regular cowboys got to be musicians now ... Musicians first and cowboys second. Because they're not Westerns anymore, they're Musicals,' he said, suddenly surprisedly realizing sadly that he had watched and been a part of a phase of America that was dying just as surely as this Plains Indians Wars that gave it birth had died, had watched and had been a part of it all this time, without ever knowing it for what it was, or that it was dying" (194). Thus singing cowboys such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers are not the real thing.
Maggio sees John Wayne as moving into Adventure. "Give him five years more he'll move up into drama" (195). He sees Gary Cooper as being "deeper than plain adventure. If theys anybody shows all the things this country stands for its Gary Cooper" (196). Ironically, Maggio rebuts Treadwell's reference to Hedda Hopper's championship of Cooper. When Jones began writing From Here to Eternity, Cooper, Hopper and Wayne aligned themselves with the House of Un-American Activities which sought to destroy the very individuality Prewitt saw in these old western heroes.
Prewitt's beliefs in "fighting for the underdog against the top dog" (266) in chapter 19 would have resulted in blacklisting had he lived. He also mentions '30s social consciousness movies starring James Cagney, George Raft and Henry Fonda, which were themselves part of American Popular Front culture. Ironically, despite his Southern background, Prewitt believed "in fighting for the Negroes against the Whites everywhere, because the Negroes were nowhere the top dog, at least as yet" (267). His beliefs are very much aligned with the concepts of that forgotten historical era documented by Michael Denning in The Cultural Front, a movement destroyed by the post-war reaction anticipated by Martin Dies' pre-war Un-American Activities Committee.
In chapters 34 and 38, Jones refers to the ignominious fate of Native American sports hero Jim Thorpe, whom Burt Lancaster would play in a film (Jim Thorpe-All American) released about the same time in 1951 as Jones' novel. After winning medals in the Olympic Games, Thorpe was kicked out on a technicality and ended up playing Indians in western movies. Prewitt's encounter in the stockade with one of the last survivors of America's former pre-war radical past represents the last stage in his development.
As in USA, Jones' hero not only confronts the end of the Lincoln Republican ideal but also a world where heroism itself becomes a tarnished commodity in movies shaping American ideals in past, present and future.
OFF THE WEBEternity considered 'finest novel of the 20th century'
I stumbled upon From Here to Eternity during my first year of university, just after leaving the army in 1982. I have read it several times since then, along with a number of his other books. It is a profoundly moving novel, and I can think of nothing else I have ever read which so clearly describes the human thought process. I would liked to have sat down with him one day and told him that.
This will strike you as odd, perhaps, when I say I was surprised to find that so many other people were so enamored of James Jones' writing, particularly in light of his obvious success with From Here to Eternity. I suppose like all selfish readers, part of me thought that Jones wrote the book in the hope that someone like me would read it one day and understand what he wanted to say. After some reflection, though, I take comfort in the thought that From Here to Eternity touches upon thoughts and feelings which we all share; and that is a good thing.
I think James Jones understood that young soldiers everywhere (including your cousins to the North) share a common bond--a bond which I dare say extends to many others who were not in the armed forces.
Your Web site is very interesting. It answers many questions I have about James Jones. In my opinion, From Here to Eternity is the finest novel of the 20th century. I look forward to reading more about him.
Keep up the good work with your Society; he was a great author and deserves to be remembered.
-- David LaLonde, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Jones' Regiment Back In Spotlight With Filming Of Pearl Harbor
As the Disney/Bruckheimer naval drama, Pearl Harbor started shooting April 8 in Hawaii, the history of James Jones' regiment at Schofield Barracks will once again touch the hearts and minds of the American public. An excerpt from the Wolfhounds homepage on Compuserve gives some historical background on the famous mascot. Here, Jones, with true military understatement, is described as "a well-known author." The following covers the years leading up to the day that lives in infamy and puts a new spin on Shakespeare's famous battle cry: "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!":
On 15 December 1920, the battalion along with the remainder of the regiment sailed from Manila aboard the "Thomas," arriving in Honolulu on 4 January 1921. On 5 January, the battalion disembarked in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii. The battalion then occupied quarters at Schofield Barracks and began its long association with Hawaii.
In February the battalion was reorganized and became part of the Hawaiian Division. (In 1942 the Army reorganized the Hawaiian Division into the 24th Infantry Division, currently at Fort Stewart, Ga., and the 25th Infantry Division. Both divisions trace their lineage and "Taro Leaf" division patch to the pre-World War II Hawaiian Division.) During this period, the 1st Wolfhounds conducted numerous exercises and security missions at Waimanalo, Mt. Koala and Fort Ruger, with Schofield Barracks remaining the battalion's home. It was also during this period that the Wolfhounds gained fame for their military skills and athletic achievements.
James Jones, a well-known American author, was a member of the 27th Infantry. His service in the regiment in Hawaii and World War II provided the background for his highly acclaimed novels, From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line (both of which later became movies) and Whistle.
The first mascot, a pure-bred Russian Wolfhound, was presented to the regiment in 1929. He was named after Adm. Aleksandr Vassilyevich Kolchak, who fought the Bolsheviks during the regiment's stay in Siberia.
Wolfhounds were used in ancient times as hunting dogs in Russia. The Russian aristocracy later used them for coursing wolves and other game. Kolchak and his 10 successors are more than a mere mascot. They personify both the name, Wolfhounds, by which the 27th Infantry is known throughout the Army, and the tenacious and ferocious fighting nature of the regiment.
On 16 June 1931, the regiment's design for its distinctive insignia was approved. The crest consists of a gold wolf's head imposed on a black oblong shield with the Regiment's Latin motto, NEC ASPERA TERRENT in gold letters. The motto's literal translation is "Frightened By No Difficulties"; the more popular translation is "No Fear On Earth," although other translations, such as "Undaunted," have been used over the years.
The 27th Regiment was relieved from the Hawaiian Division and assigned to the 25th Division on 26 August 1941.
-- Kevin Heisler
High School Students Create Model Of Colony
Students at Marshall (Ill.) High School are at work creating a model of the Handy Writers Colony, which was located on the west edge of Marshall. Under the direction of teacher Bob Thompson, the students have explored the grounds of the former colony, located aerial maps for the period, conducted various interviews, consulted books and articles, completed computer-assisted drawings, found architectural plans for James Jones' house and begun cutting out parts to be used for the three-dimensional table-top model.
The project was scheduled to be completed by the end of the school year. Plans are to exhibit the model at various locations, including the Oct. 28 annual symposium of the James Jones Literary Society at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.