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Victor Rudolph Bernhardt Oelschläger

Daniel Eisenberg

Florida State University


Victor Oelschläger was born October 18, 1909, in Kitchener, Ontario, but he moved with his parents to Beloit, Wisconsin at an early age. In Beloit, he attended primary and secondary school, and finally Beloit College, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1931, having majored in Romance Languages. Holding a fellowship under a joint Beloit-University of Wisconsin program, he enrolled that year in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and received the master's degree in 1932. He was awarded a teaching assistantship by the University of Wisconsin, and taught in this capacity until finishing his Ph. D. in 1937.

Beginning in 1932 Oelschläger was a research assistant to Antonio García Solalinde, one of the most distinguished of the illustrious group of scholars trained by Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Solalinde, who had founded the Seminary of Medieval Spanish Studies at the University of Wisconsin in 1931, was then engaged in preparing the second volume of his edition of Alfonso el Sabio's General Estoria. Oelschläger assisted him in collating the manuscripts and tabulating the variants of this work, and in the lexicographical work which was to become the Spanish medieval dictionary project. Solalinde was the director of Oelschläger's dissertation, «A Preliminary Spanish Word-List of First Appearances up to Berceo», published as A Medieval Spanish Word-List by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1940.

At the urging of Joaquín Ortega, and later of J. Homer Herriott, Oelschläger remained at the University of Wisconsin as Instructor to continue work on the Medieval Spanish Dictionary and also on the General Estoria, the edition of which was interrupted after the printer was bombed during the Spanish Civil War. These were some of the best years for Spanish studies at the University of Wisconsin, with Hyman Berkowitz and Mack Singleton, then a young instructor, when Américo Castro, officemate of Oelschläger, was visiting professor, a capacity in which he was succeeded by Nicholson Adams and later John Englekirk. Oelschläger has maintained until the present his close association with his former colleague Lloyd Kasten. Promoted to Assistant Professor in 1942, Oelschläger left Wisconsin on military leave in 1943 to enlist in the U. S. Marine Corps, in whose Aviation Intelligence Service he served with distinction until 1946, attaining the rank of Major.

After his discharge from active duty, he accepted an appointment as Associate Professor and Department Head at Newcomb College of Tulane University, a position he held until 1951 in a city, New Orleans, of which he has many fond memories. He left Tulane for a brief tenure as Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, but left this latter institution in 1953 to come to Tallahassee as Professor and Head of the Department of Modern Languages at Florida State University. Here he remained until his early retirement in 1974 at the age of 64, having served as department chairman until 1968, and head of the department's Graduate Program Committee until 1973.

Victor Oelschläger has overseen the growth of the Department of Modern Languages from a small department with 8 faculty members and 800 students to a peak of 4400 students and over 40 full-time faculty members. He brought to this campus experience in graduate teaching, and was responsible for the development of graduate programs in modern languages, which has given, perhaps, more satisfaction than any other aspect of his many years at FSU. When he arrived the department had an infant Ph. D. program in Spanish, and offered an M. A. only in French and Spanish, and undergraduate majors in French, Spanish, and German. He developed the Spanish Ph. D. program into what it is today, and organized a Ph. D. program in French, which began in 1962, and later M. A. programs in German and Slavic; also he has helped the department add undergraduate majors in Russian and Italian.

Linking all of Victor Oelschläger's activities and service to the different institutions at which he has taught has been his dedication to Spanish studies in general and to philology and Alfonso el Sabio in particular. He has been very active in professional organizations such as the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, the Modern Language Association, and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, on whose executive council he served for five years and of which he was national president in 1961. He has lost all track of the many times he has read papers, served as section chairman, secretary, and so forth. The publication of his Medieval Spanish Word-List, which served as a fundamental source for Joan Corominas in the preparation of his etymological dictionary, and of the critical edition of the General Estoria, Part II, has brought Oelschläger's name to the forefront of Spanish philologists both in the U. S. and abroad. We can only hope that in his retirement he will continue his activity in the field to which he has made such important contributions.

Bibliography of Victor R. B. Oelschläger


1. «Why Study Languages?» Emerald of Sigma Pi, 19, No. 3 (November, 1932), 124-26.


2. «Hints on Fraternity Elections». Emerald of Sigma Pi, 20, No. 3 (November, 1933), 77-78.


3. «Dos correcciones al texto del Libro de los estados de don Juan Manuel». Revista de filología española, 21 (1934), 399-400.


4. «A Preliminary Spanish Word-list of First Appearances up to Berceo». Diss. Wisconsin, 1937.

4A. Summary of dissertation in University of Wisconsin. Summaries of Doctoral Dissertations, 2 (1936-37), 341-43.


5. A Medieval Spanish Word-List. A Preliminary Dated Vocabulary of First Appearances up to Berceo. Prologue of Américo Castro. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1940. x + 230 pp.

5A. Rev. By Hayward Keniston, Language, 17 (1941), 269-71.

5B. Rev. by Lawrence B. Kiddle, Revista iberoamericana, 4, No. 7 (1941), 19799. «Es imposible exagerar la gran importancia que tiene la presente publicación del doctor Oelschläger... Merece el doctor Oelschläger el elogio más caluroso de los romanistas en general y de los hispanistas en particular».

5C. Rev. by E. A[breu] G[ómez], Letras de México, 3, No. 9 (September 15, 1941), 5. «Los requisitos de precisión en la composición de este libro están muchas veces superados».

5D.Rev. by [Tómas] N[avarro Tomás], Revista hispánica moderna, 7 (1941), 278-79. «Una contribución sumamente valiosa».

5E. Rev. by Id., Romanic Review, 33 (1942), 399-400.

5F. Rev. by Amado Alonso, Revista de filología hispánica, 4 (1942), 81-83. «Estamos poco acostumbrados a un planteamiento tan claro y tan consciente de las exigencias y de los límites de un estudio; que se nos permita felicitar con especial calor al señor Oelschläger por su espíritu metódico. El autor ha cumplido su propósito con ejemplar esmero y sin escatimar trabajo»


6. Poema del Cid in Verse and Prose. Academic Edition with Introduction, Vocabularies, Concordance, Etymologies, and Textual Commentary by Victor R. B. Oelschläger. Based on the Critical Edition by Ramón Menéndez Pidal and on the Modern Spanish Prose Translation by Alfonso Reyes. New Orleans: Department of Spanish, Newcomb College, Tulane University, 1948. vi + 145 pp.

6A. Rev. by S. Griswold Morley, Hispanic Review, 17 (1949), 347-48.

6B. Rev. by Robert Spaulding, Romance Philology, 3 (1950), 318.

7. Review of Aubrey F. G. Bell, Cervantes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1947). Hispania, 31 (1948), 238-43.


8. Review of Poema del Cid, ed. and modernization by Alfonso Reyes. Colección Austral, Vol. 5. 13th ed. (Mexico: Espasa-Calpe Mexicana, 1949). Modern Language Journal, 33 (1949), 488-89.


9. «More Cervantine Bibliography». Hispania, 33 (1950), 144-50.

10. Review of Alonso Gerónimo de Salas Barbadillo, El caballero perfecto, ed. Pauline Marshall (Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1949). Hispania, 33 (1950), 186-87.

11. «Medieval Spanish Studies: A Challenge to Hispanophiles». Hispania, 33 (1950), 243-46. [Delivered as a paper before the Comparative Romance Linguistics section at the MLA convention, Stanford University, September 8, 1949].


12. Review of Max Gorosch, El fuero de Teruel, I (Stockholm, 1950). Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 1, No. 2 (December, 1951), 6.

13. Review of Yakov Malkiel, «The Hispanic Suffix -iego: A Morphological and Lexical Study Based on Historical and Dialectal Sources», University of California Publications in Linguistics, 4 (1951), 111-213. Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 1, No. 2 (December, 1951), 6.

14. Review of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Orígenes del español, 3rd ed. (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1950). Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 1, No. 2 (December, 1951), 6-7.


15. «Sancho's Zest for the Quest». Hispania, 35 (1952), 18-24. [A paper read at the Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the AATSP, Chicago, December 26-27, 1951].

16. Review of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Orígenes del español, 3rd ed. (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1950). Hispania, 35 (1952), 122-23. [Different from No. 14].

17. Review of Le chansonnier espagnol d'Herberay des Essarts (XVe siècle), ed. Charles V. Aubrun. Bibliothèque de l'École des Hautes Études Hispaniques, fascicule 25 (Bordeaux, 1951). Hispania, 35 (1952), 124-25.

18. Review of Hensley C. Woodbridge and Paul R. Olson, A Tentative Bibliography of Hispanic Linguistics (Urbana: Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Illinois, 1952). Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 2, No. 2 (December, 1952), 5.

19. Prepublication review of El libro de los engaños, ed. John Esten Keller. University of North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures, No. 20 (Chapel Hill, 1953). Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 2, No. 2 (December, 1 952), 5.


20. Review of El libro de los engaños [see No. 19]. Hispania, 36 (1953), 388-89.

21. Review of Louis Jo Delk and James Neal Greer, Spanish Language and Literature in the Publications of American Universities: A Bibliography. University of Texas Hispanic Studies, Vol. 4 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1952). Romance Philology, 7 (1953-54), 201-03.


22. Review of John B. Carroll, The Study of Language: A Survey of Linguistics and Related Disciplines in America (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1953). Hispania, 37 (1954), 129-30.

23. Editor of Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 4 (1954).

24. Editorial Consultant, Britannica World Language Dictionary, 1954.

25. Founder and Co-editor, with H. Wilson Micks, of the FSU Polyglot. Oelschläger and Micks were co-editors of this newsletter until its cessation in 1962 with Vol. 9, No. 1.

26. Founder and Co-editor, with H. Wilson Micks, of the Florida Foreign Language Newsletter, until it ceased with Vol. 7 (1960).


27. Review of Poema del Cid, ed. Francisco López Estrada. Odres Nuevos (New York: Eliseo Torres, 1955). Hispania, 38 (1955), 379-80.


28. «Yo que vosotros». Florida Foreign Language Newsletter, 2, No. 2 (March, 1956), 1-4. [An address before the Florida Chapter of AATSP, Rollins College, November 4, 1955].

29. «Society in Medieval Spanish Literature». FSU Latin Bulletin, 3, No. 4 (April, 1956), 1-3.

30. Review of Marathon Montrose Ramsey, A Textbook of Modern Spanish as Now Written and Spoken in Castile and the Spanish American Republics, revised by Robert K. Spaulding (New York: Holt, 1956). Hispania, 39 (1956), 374-75.


31. Alfonso el Sabio. General Estoria. Segunda parte, I. Edited by † Antonio G[arcía] Solalinde, Lloyd A. Kasten, and Victor R. B. Oelschläger. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Instituto «Miguel de Cervantes». Madrid, 1957. lxvii + 475 pp.

31A. Rev. in Índice cultural español, reprinted in FSU Polyglot, Vol. 4, No. 1 (October, 1957), 5-6.

31B. Rev. by B[enito] Sánchez Alonso, Revista de filología española, 41 (1957), 443-46.

31C. Review article by María Rosa Lida de Malkiel. «La General Estoria: notas literarias y filológicas». Romance Philology, 12 (1958), 111-42 and 13 (1959), 1-30.

31D. Rev. by Walter Mettman, Romanistisches Jahrbuch, 9 (1958), 365-66.

31E. Rev. by Alfred Adler, Books Abroad, 33 (1959), 199.

31F. Rev, by B[ernard] Pottier, Bulletin Hispanique, 61 (1959), 321.

31G. Rev. by E[velyn] S. Procter, Modern Language Review, 54 (1959), 440-41.

31H. Rev. by I. S. Révah, Romania, 80 (1959), 267-68. «La édition mérite toute confiance et offre aux hispanisants un excellent instrument de travail».

31I. Rev. by G. C. Rossi, Convivium, 27 (1959), 232-33.

31J. Rev. by Agapito Rey, Symposium, 13 (1959), 151-54.

31K. Rev. by M[anuel] Castro, Archivo Ibero-Americano, 2.ª época, 23 (1963), 475.

32. Review of Beatriz Guido, The House of the Angel, trans. Joan C. MacLean (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957). The English Journal, 46 (1957), 369,

33. Review of Nicholson B. Adams, Brief Spanish Review Grammar and Composition-Revised (New York: Holt, 1957). Hispania, 40 (1957), 387-88.


34. «Serving National Security: Foreign Languages». Florida School Bulletin, 20, No. 3 (March, 1958), 29-31.


35. Review of El libro de los gatos, ed. John Esten Keller. Clásicos Hispánicos (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1958). Hispania, 42 (1958), 642-43.


36. «Trends in Language Teaching», Florida Foreign Language Newsletter, 6, No. 2 (January, 1960), 2-3.

37. Review of The Classic Theatre. Vol. III: Six Spanish Plays, ed. Eric Bentley (Garden City: Doubleday, 1959). The Americas, 16 (1960), 412-13.

38. Review of John M. Hill, Universal vocabulario de Alfonso de Palencia: Registro de voces españolas internas (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 1957). Symposium, 14 (1960), 146-47.


39. «Official Announcements». Hispania, 44 (1961), 129-30.

40. «The President's Corner: Quo vadimus?» Hispania, 44 (1961), 130.

41. Alfonso el Sabio. General Estoria, Segunda parte, II. Edited by † Antonio G[arcía] Solalinde, Lloyd A. Kasten, and Victor R. B. Oelschläger. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Instituto «Miguel de Cervantes». Madrid, 1961. vii + 415pp.

41A. Rev. by Margherita Morreale, Revista de filología española, 44 (1961), 454-57.

41B. Rev. by Raymond S. Willis [Jr.], Hispanic Review, 31 (1963), 71-76.

41C. Rev. by Francisco Rico, Romance Philology, 24 (1970), 216-21.

42. «The President's Corner: Ubi sumus?» Hispania, 44 (1961), 312-13.

43. Review of Poem of the Cid, ed. and trans. W. S. Merwin (New York: Las Américas, 1960). Hispania, 44 (1961), 350.

44. «The President's Corner: ¡Manos a la obra!» Hispania, 44 (1961), 502-03.

45. «The President's Corner: Del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho». Hispania, 44 (1961), 698-700.

46. «Quixotessence». Quaderni Ibero-Americani, No. 27 (1961), 143-57.


47. «Fronteras y horizontes». Hispania, 45 (1962), 15-18. [Presidential address delivered at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Chicago, December 30, 1961].

48. Review of D. W. McPheeters, El humanista español Alonso de Proaza (Valencia: Castalia, 1961). Renaissance News, 15 (1962), 221-22.


49. Review of Clemente Sánchez de Vercial, Libro de los exenplos por a. b. c., ed. John Esten Keller, etymological vocabulary by Louis Jennings Kahn. Clásicos Hispánicos (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1963). Romanic Review, 54 (1963), 285-86.

50. Reprint of No. 6. Tallahassee: Department of Modern Languages, Florida State University, 1963. [Distributed by Bill's Bookstore].


51. Member of editorial board, Revista de estudios hispánicos, 1 (1967)- date.

52. «Feliz cumpleaños a la AATSP: ''Ixie el sol; ¡Dios, qué fermoso apuntava!'» Hispania, 50 (1967), 1029.


53. With James R. Chatham, «The Structure of Spanish Society in Medieval Literary and Didactic Works». Revista de estudios hispánicos, 2 (1968), 41-80.


54. Review of Los «Lucidarios» españoles, ed. Richard P. Kinkade (Madrid: Gredos, 1968). Speculum, 47 (1972), 535.

55. Review of John J. Allen, Don Quixote: Hero or Fool? A Study in Narrative Technique. University of Florida Monographs, Humanities, No. 29 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1969). South Atlantic Bulletin, 37 (1972), 75-76.

56. Review of El Libro de Calila e Digna, ed. John E. Keller and Robert White Linker. Clásicos Hispánicos, Serie II, Volumen 13 (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1967). South Atlantic Bulletin, 37 (1972), 83-84.


57. Alfonso el Sabio. General Estoria, tercera a sexta partes. Ed.Antonio García Solalinde, Lloyd A. Kasten, and Victor R. B. Oelschläger.

58. With J. Homer Herriott, critical edition of Alfonso el Sabio's Los judizios de las estrellas. [See Comparative Romance Linguistics Newsletter, 2, No. 2 (December, 1952), 5, and 4, No. 1 (June, 1954), 9].

59. Editorial board, Festschrift for Lloyd Kasten.

60. Anthology of Spanish ballads.