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A Severe Mercy
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Obituaries 

Here is the obituary which Sheldon Vanauken wrote for himself and submitted to the Lynchburg News & Advance long before his death. . . .

Sheldon Vanauken of Lynchburg died Monday, October 28, 1996 at Lynchburg Hospital.  He was 82.  He was born August 4th, 1914, the day that England declared war on the German Kaiser.

As a youth he attended both Staunton and Culver military academies and subsequently Wabash College; he was a naval officer in WWII, being at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked it.  After the war, he won further degrees from Yale and Oxford, and was Professor of History and Literature at Lynchburg College, joining its faculty in 1948.  Le lost his wife, Jean ('Davy') in 1955.

Subsequently, he was the author of The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy and of the award-winning A Severe Mercy, which had worldwide a million readers and was translated into several other languages.  Subsequently there was a sequel, Under the Mercy, a novel Gateway to Heaven, and a volume of his collected poems entitled Mercies.  In addition there were many essays and stories published in various magazines.

He was converted to Catholicism in 1981, but in addition to attendance at Holy Cross, he continued to be a part of his Episcopal Church, St. Stephen's at Forest.  And his ashes will be scattered in St. Stephen's Churchyard where his wife's ashes were scattered.  He put his faith in the Risen Christ.

To read a memorial article in the New Oxford Review written by Van's friend and former student, David Hartman, click here: https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/09/remembering-sheldon-vanauken.html

To read a more recent remembrance of Vanauken as professor at Lynchburg College click here: http://www.wabash.edu/magazine/index.cfm?news_id=4190


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Header photo copyright Lancia E. Smith www.lanciaesmith.com

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