James Werner Halporn (January 14, 1929 — November 13, 2011)

Jim Halporn was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island and carried his accent from there for his whole life — much of it spent far from there. His mother Louisa taught English in the public schools. His father Robert brought much of the influence of his Gymnasium education and Viennese values to educating his son. (Much later, in retirement, Robert moved to Bloomington, where he took a number of Latin and Greek classes with his son’s Indiana University colleagues.)

After a year at St. John’s College, Jim entered Columbia College with the full intention of becoming a chemist, despite his strong interest in literature — from childhood he was a constant reader of anything at hand. That interest, the year at St. John’s, and the first-year humanities courses at Columbia influenced his decision by his senior year to major in classics rather than chemistry. He then concentrated on Latin and started Greek in order to prepare for the Masters degree program at Columbia; following that, he earned his Ph.D. at Cornell. His previous scientific training and inclination gave him a discipline and focus that was an asset to his linguistic and philological future. While at Columbia, he was coxswain for the junior varsity crew. Chosen for his very lightweight physique, his winter training consisted of smoking and playing cards while the oarsmen worked out. He was bemused to have earned a letter in the sport.

Jim's experiences – both as a student and as a teacher of the Columbia humanities core — informed his teaching style and expectations throughout his career. He liked to talk, and he liked to provoke or elicit discussion from his students. Jim had studied under Gilbert Highet, that gifted teacher and scholar of the classics, and thought he had his best lessons in how to teach from him. One of his undergraduate students says, “He was an amusing and very engaging teacher — unsentimental, shrewdly critical, and just. He took pleasure in his students’ peculiarities, and never pressed us into a conventional mold.”

When Jim entered the field of classics his interests were more philological than literary and he edited the text of Cassiodorus' treatise De Anima for his dissertation. This set him on the course of study of early Church Fathers and late antiquity that dominated his research activity. He often strayed into other areas of classics, however, during a distinguished career as a Latin scholar at Indiana University where he taught from 1960 to 1993 and served as chair from 1985 to 1993. As scholar, Jim made significant contributions in three areas: editions and translations of works by Cassiodorus; Latin meter; and Roman comedy. 

His edition of De Anima by Cassiodorus is still the standard edition, quoted by everyone who has occasion to mention Cassiodorus and the remarkable age of Theoderic. In retirement he completed his translation of Cassiodorus’ Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning and On the Soul. Two months before his death he submitted a detailed and positive review of a work on Cassiodorus to a grateful university press editor. It must have given him satisfaction to be recognized as the reigning expert in this area, and to feel that with that report he was passing the torch to a worthy scholar of the next generation.

Of his work on metrics, the best known to several generations of grateful students at all levels is the clear and succinct co-authored handbook The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry. The contributions of Jim and Martin Oswald to that work were translated into German in 1962 as Lateinische Metrik; the rubric beneath the title — Berechtigte Übersetzung aus dem Amerikanischen — must have amused him as a linguist.

Jim’s interest in Roman comedy may have been inspired in part by his maternal grandfather, a Yiddish playwright, who played scenes with him as a young child. Jim passed his expertise in that area down to the graduate students whom he taught, including Sander Goldberg — Jim supervised his special author work on Terence and his dissertation on Menander.

Jim left deep impressions on other graduate students he taught and supervised. John Wright, another of his Ph.D. students, credits Jim with turning him into a scholar —  “it's all thanks to him.” From his experiences as an M.A. student, Brent Froberg recalls that Jim “gave our written work the kind of sandpapering that it needed so that we could write clear, persuasive prose.” While that “sandpapering” sometimes drew blood, metaphorically, both in the heavily red-penned results and in battered egos, those who persevered emerged with polished work, which led in turn to jobs, publications, and successful careers.

In the mainframe era of computers (1960s), Jim explored their use in the humanities but was often critical of some of the early applications which he considered too crude for the useful analysis of literary texts. He was, however, quite impressed by the sophisticated digital tools that now support classical scholarship. At the last APA meeting he attended, he discovered electronic devices on display among the publishers' exhibits. He heard Virgil being read on an iPod and bought one immediately after returning home. Following that, he embraced all things “i” and loaded his devices with apps. 

After retiring from Indiana University, Jim moved with his wife Barbara to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was head of the Widener Library’s Collection Development Department. He was actively involved with the Harvard Classics Department as an adjunct professor for almost twenty years, attending talks and conferences, serving on the committee of at least one doctoral student, participating faithfully in a number of graduate seminars, catching up with journals in the Smyth Classical Library, and attending monthly faculty-student lunches, including the one in October, weeks before his death.

A voracious reader since childhood, a haunter of large research libraries since college — how fitting that he was able in retirement to spend so many pleasant and satisfying days in the Widener stacks!

Submitted by Betty Rose Nagle, his student and then colleague at Indiana (heavily indebted to the eulogy delivered at his memorial service by Kathleen Coleman, to the recollections of his wife of 51 years, Barbara, and of several graduate students whom he taught and supervised).

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Cover of Euripides' The Trojan Women: A Comic, by Rosanna Bruno and Anne Carson

By Christopher Trinacty, Emma Glen, and Emily Hudson (Oberlin College)

Anne Carson’s celebrated adaptations and translations of Ancient Greek and Latin literature have ranged from imagining the love affair between Geryon and Heracles in The Autobiography of Red to meditating about the death of her brother through Catullus 101 in Nox. In our opinion, Carson’s works highlight her theoretical sophistication as well as her deep commitment to the reception of Classics broadly understood. This new “comic” version of Euripides’ Trojan Women by Carson and illustrator Rosanna Bruno offers a creative and challenging take on Euripides’s tragedy.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/23/2021 - 12:45pm by .

The National Humanities Center invites applications for academic-year or one-semester residential fellowships. Mid-career, senior, and emerging scholars with a strong record of peer-reviewed work from all areas of the humanities are encouraged to apply.

Scholars from all parts of the globe are eligible; stipends and travel expenses are provided. Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Fellowships are supported by the Center’s own endowment, private foundation grants, contributions from alumni and friends, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Located in the vibrant Research Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes, universities, and dynamic arts scene. Fellows enjoy private studies, in-house dining, and superb library services that deliver all research materials.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 07/21/2021 - 12:18pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers

Saturday, February 26, 2022 

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) 

 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 07/21/2021 - 12:12pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Proposals – Symposium Cumanum 2022

The Vergilian Society seeks proposals for the twenty-eighth annual Symposium Cumanum, to take place at the Harry Wilks Study Center at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy in late June 2022. We will consider a proposal on any theme pertaining to Vergil and his times, although preference may be given to a subject that has not been treated recently. Descriptions of previous symposia can be found on the Vergilian Society website, at https://www.vergiliansociety.org/symposium_cumanum/

Each proposal should be prepared by the person who is intending to direct the symposium, or by the lead person if co-directors are envisioned.  The successful director will have logistical assistance from the Vergilian Society’s Italian staff and from the executive committee; a set of guidelines is available to assist in planning.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 07/12/2021 - 10:09am by Erik Shell.
Young man with a volumen, fresco from Pompeii, 1st c.C.E., Naples.

Our fifth interview in the Contingent Faculty Series is a virtual conversation between Dr. Taylor Coughlan and Dr. Daniel Libatique.  Dr. Libatique is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at the College of the Holy Cross, from which he received his undergraduate degree and where he has taught since 2018. Daniel received his Ph.D. from Boston University in 2018, and his research interests include Augustan literature, Greek drama, gender politics and sexuality, reception studies, and student-centered pedagogy. In his research, Daniel’s approaches to texts often leverage various modern theoretical frameworks, including narratology and performance theory. His publications investigate topics like the cultural reception of Ovid in our modern #MeToo era, the creation of a Latin curriculum based on morphological and syntactic frequencies in real Latin texts, and attributions of speech in the fragments of Sophocles’ Tereus. Daniel is also heavily involved in the application of digital humanities to the study of Classics and is currently working with his colleagues at Holy Cross to restructure their introductory Greek curriculum. For more of Daniel’s work, check out his website.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 07/12/2021 - 10:02am by Daniel Libatique.

(Sent on behalf of Athanassios Vergados)

We are pleased to announce the programme of our upcoming conference on ‘Reflections on Language in Early Greece’ that will take place on-line via Zoom on 1st-3rd September 2021. To obtain the zoom details, please register at https://newcastleuniversity.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArdO-uqzwsEtCNY8qTfKAbs9cvCEPsZr17.

Please note that all times are GMT+1 (UK time).

 

 

1st September

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 07/09/2021 - 9:07am by Erik Shell.

AIA and SCS have been working on detailed plans for our 2022 joint Annual Meeting based on the results of our recent survey. Since 60% of respondents expressed a preference for a hybrid meeting, we are planning for our first ever hybrid conference in January 2022. This means speakers will be able to present in person in San Francisco or remotely in each session, and attendees will be able to attend sessions in the hotel or virtually. This is an ambitious undertaking and some elements of the conference cannot easily have a hybrid format; for example, social events will need to be either in person or virtual. However, we aim to make the meeting as hybrid as is feasible given logistics, costs, and staff capacity.  We anticipate a two-tier scale of registration rates, with virtual attendance costing less than in person attendance. There are many details still to be worked out, so please bear with us and we will update you later this Summer and in the Fall.

Members who made submissions to the SCS program committee this spring can expect to receive notification emails about the program committee’s decisions within the next few days.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 07/07/2021 - 6:46am by Helen Cullyer.
The Death of Caesar, Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1867. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today marks half a year since insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, occupied the Senate chamber, violently assaulted Capitol Police defending the building, and threatened to assassinate the then-Vice President and other elected officials. In recent days, the House of Representatives has approved a plan for a formal investigation — on partisan lines, after Senate Republicans previously blocked the passage of a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission approved by the House in a bipartisan vote.

We mustn’t forget the assault on the peaceful transition of power, on the foundations of American democracy itself. And we shouldn’t forget that the insurrection is tied up with racist receptions of ancient Greece and Rome. Some insurrectionists came in Greek or Roman-themed cosplay, after all, and the right has long had a dangerous fascination with Sparta.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 07/06/2021 - 9:57am by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.

Call for Papers 

Fédération internationale des associations d’études classiques (FIEC)

XVI International Conference, 1–5 August 2022
 

Mexico City 

(Virtual Meeting Format) 

Hesperides Sponsored Session 

"Hesperian Transformations: New Approaches to the Classical Tradition" 

Proposal Deadline: July 12, 2021 

  

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 07/02/2021 - 1:29pm by Erik Shell.
the Delphic oracle as interpreted by Anton van Dale in the 1700 edition of his book De oraculis veterum ethnicorum dissertationes duae

Joseph Fontenrose’s The Delphic Oracle (1978) fundamentally reshaped how we think about Greek oracular divination today. In this book, he argued that the literary evidence for ambiguous verse oracles emanating from Delphi is incommensurate with the epigraphic record. In the Histories, an early and prominent source of oracular lore, Herodotus often quotes vague or ambiguous prophetic verses of the Delphic priestesses that point toward unexpected and ironic moments of fulfillments: the “great empire” that Croesus toppled was, unfortunately, his own (1.86.1). Most inscriptions, however, report oracular pronouncements simply as clear statements of fact: “… it is better [for the Praxiergidai] to put the peplos on [the goddess]…” (Sokolowski, LSCG 15). Fontenrose reasoned that the inscriptions were the more reliable witnesses and concluded from his comparison that most of the famous stories about oracles in works of ancient historiography like Herodotus’ were ahistorical.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/28/2021 - 5:21pm by Daniel J. Crosby.

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