Tribute to R. Elaine Fantham

Please see the following tribute to R. Elaine Fantham, contributed by Prof. Alison Keith, Acting Chair, Dept. of Classics at the University of Toronto
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Dear Colleagues and friends – 
 
We were devastated to learn that R. Elaine Fantham, a giant in the field of classical scholarship and generous friend and mentor to generations of students and colleagues, died yesterday in Toronto at the age of 83. A member of the Classics department at Trinity College, in the University of Toronto, from 1968 to 1986, and again from 2000 to 2008 after her retirement from Princeton, Elaine was predeceased by her husband Peter, and is survived by her daughter Julia (grandchildren Peter, Alice, and Clare) and her son Roy (wife Jen and granddaughter Marley).

Born in Liverpool U.K. in May 1933, Elaine received her B.A. (first class in Literae Humaniores) and first graduate degree at Oxford University before returning to her home city as Leverhulme Research Fellow to earn her Ph.D. in 1965 with a dissertation on Plautus’ comedy Curculio, “The Boll-Weevil” (examined by R.G. Austin and O. Skutsch). Early training in the ways of roguery naturally equipped her for a meteoric rise in her chosen profession, and she held teaching posts all over the Anglo-American academy. She taught briefly at St Andrews University, as a fellow of St. Salvator’s College (1965-1966), before moving with her mathematician husband Peter to Indiana University in Bloomington. There she taught in the Department of Classics as a Visiting Lecturer (1966-1968), before moving again, in 1968, with their Scottish daughter Julia and American son Roy, to Toronto and Trinity College. There she taught for eighteen years (Assistant to Associate Professor 1968-1978, Professor 1978-86), in a college department celebrated for its collegiality and scholarship. She was welcomed right from the start by Mary White, as well as by the other members of the Classics contingent of that congenial college, including John Cole, Desmond Conacher, Alexander Dalzell, and George Grube. In retirement she returned to the college and was elected a Senior Fellow of Trinity College in September 2012.

During her professional years in Toronto, Elaine served on the editorial committee of Phoenix from 1976 to 1979; gave a series of papers across Canada on both the Atlantic and Western lecture tours sponsored by the Classical Association of Canada; and served as Vice-President of the Association from 1982-84, during which period she also served as Vice-President and then President of the Canadian Society for the History of Rhetoric (1983-1986). In 1996, she delivered the keynote lecture at the annual meeting of the CAC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

In addition to her valuable service to the Canadian academic community, Elaine was very active across North America, especially after moving to Princeton University in 1986, when she was appointed Giger Professor of Latin in the Department of Classics there. She enjoyed spells as a Visiting Professor of Classics at Ohio State University in Columbus OH (1983) and as Langford Visiting Professor at Florida State University in 2001; and in 1999-2000 she lectured for Phi Beta Kappa across the United States. She also contributed signal service to the American Philological Association, the largest professional classics association in the world, where she was an outstanding advocate for classical scholars and classics departments. She served as member, then chair, of the Goodwin Award Committee (1997-2000), and then, after her retirement from Princeton and return to Toronto in 2000, as President-Elect (2003) and President (2004) of the APA. In January 2009, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Philological Association in recognition of her superlative service to the profession.

After retiring from Princeton University in 2000, Elaine made her primary residence in Toronto, where her grown-up family lives, and she continued to make significant contributions to the research and teaching mission of the graduate department of Classics at the University of Toronto, where she had established her career. In the early years of the new millennium, she took on supplementary graduate teaching for the Toronto department in a wide range of M.A. and Ph.D. courses. In addition, and much more importantly, she was closely involved from the start of her retirement in mentoring across the country and around the world – not only senior graduate and undergraduate students but also friends and colleagues. She offered us all a model of the very highest standard of professional activity and collegiality. Her commitment to the Department, her colleagues and students – not only nationally and internationally, but also locally and provincially – was particularly valuable in this period, when she also served as the Honorary President of the Classical Association of Canada from 2001 to 2006. In May 2015 Elaine was honoured with the CAC Award of Merit.

Elaine continued to travel and lecture in the USA, Britain and Italy until recently, as she remained much in demand. Known both for the wide range and for the accessibility of her scholarship, Elaine was the grande dame of Latin studies in the English-speaking world, though it was not only amongst Anglo-American colleagues that she was celebrated. For her fluent Italian, German and French made her a very welcome guest-speaker throughout Europe as well. Outside of her home universities, Professor Fantham lectured across the United States for Phi Beta Kappa and presented lectures and conference papers around the world—including in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Argentina, and Australia.

The author of seventeen books (including scholarly monographs, commentaries, editions and translations, and an omnibus of her selected articles) and over a hundred articles and book chapters, she also co-authored the standard textbook on women in antiquity and served as Associate Editor in Chief of the seven-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome (2010). Many of us encountered Latin literature through her scholarship – the comedies of Plautus and Terence in her first book Comparative Studies in Republican Latin Literature (Toronto 1972), the plays of Seneca and poetry of Lucan and Ovid in later commentaries (Princeton 1982; Cambridge 1992 and 1998) respectively), and of course her magisterial Roman Literary Culture from Cicero to Apuleius (Baltimore 1996), expanded in a second edition (2012) to cover Latin letters from Plautus to Macrobius.

She herself said that she was drawn to the study of Classics because of a glamorous ad for a tonic wine, which featured a handsome longhaired young man in a tunic, riding past the Acropolis in a chariot with an equally alluring young woman. Although the modern professoriate may have been something of a disappointment by comparison, there is no question that Professor Fantham’s career was attended by glamour and acclaim. From 1996 on, she contributed short comments on classical topics to National Public Radio in the United States, where a select company of famous classicists has interested millions in the study of classical antiquity. Always generous with her time and attention to her chosen profession, Elaine gave a public and very human voice to our discipline as a commentator on NPR.

Elaine was a valuable member of the Classics community not only in her former departments but also in both her adoptive countries and on her adoptive continent for nearly fifty years, as a faculty member and staunchly supportive colleague, serving even in retirement as an active participant in the teaching and research mission of classical studies around the world. She provided a model of classical scholarship and personal engagement for generations of students, friends, and colleagues, and served as a warm and generous mentor to many in the profession.

Her generosity was a byword amongst her friends and former students, and her calendar even in retirement was always full of visits from colleagues, who took her out for concerts, cream teas and debauched dinners. A witty raconteur, loyal friend and brilliant cook, she remained excellent company to the end – on the radio, in the classroom, and over the dinner table. She will be sorely missed by everyone whose life she touched.

Ave atque vale – S.T.T.L

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Today we wish to introduce a new project: Women in Classics: Conversations. This venture consists of a series of interviews with female professors of Classics, many of whom were the first hired or the first to receive tenure at their institutions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. These academic women blazed a new trail as teachers and scholars at a time when university positions in many fields were overwhelmingly held by men. They did so in a discipline that has been described as “one of the most conservative, hierarchical, and patriarchal of academic fields.” Their experiences, as presented in these interviews, provide colorful, candid snapshots of a critical moment in the history of the discipline.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/15/2019 - 6:19am by Claire Catenaccio.

Information and an RSVP form for our Career Networking Event at this year's annual meeting are now available.

You can read about this event and sign up here:

https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2020/151/2020-annual-meeting-career-networking-event

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:29am by Erik Shell.

What is the interplay between Classics and literary translation? What are the preparatory actions for launching a new journal that will address problems and lacunae within the field? Adrienne K.H. Rose explores the challenges of beginning a translation journal which will address the philosophies, difficulties, and necessity for diversity within the area of classical translation.

Early Latin translators, including Cicero (De optimo genere oratorum iv. 13-v.14), Horace (Ars poetica II.128-44), Quintilian (Institutio Oratoria X.xi 1-11; X.v.1-5), and Jerome (Chronicle 1-2) distinguish between the act of word for word––or literal translation––and literary translation. The latter type of translation prioritizes senses, aesthetics, and rhetorical verve. However, language pedagogy in Classics departments emphasize the first type of translation, word for word, and often stop short of encouraging more literary pursuits. In fact, creative translations that deviate from translationese (a kind of literal, affected translation style from which the reader may deduce the exact parsing of the original word) is actively discouraged.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 6:29am by Adrienne K.H. Rose.

This is a reminder from the SCS Office that members hoping to register at the reduced Early Registration rate for the Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. must do so on or before this Friday, November 8th.

If you find you are unable to register or in need of any help please contact our registration vendor at aia-scs@showcare.com

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:58am by Erik Shell.

2020 Annual Meeting: Seminars

*Sign up period ending soon!*

For the first time since 2016, the SCS will be holding four seminars at this year’s annual meeting.

Seminars as a rule concentrate on more narrowly focused topics and aim at extensive discussion. In order to allow the time to be spent mainly on discussion, the SCS publishes a notice about the session in advance, and organizers distribute copies of the papers (normally three or four in number) to be discussed to those who request them.  Attendance at a seminar will, if necessary, be limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Seminars are normally three hours in length. Registered meeting attendees may sign up at no additional cost for one or more of these seminars during the month of October.

Third Paper Session, Friday, January 3, 1:45-4:45 PM

State Elite? Senators, Emperors and Roman Political Culture 25BCE-400CE (Seminar)
John Weisweiler, St John's College, University of Cambridge, Organizer

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:21am by Erik Shell.

"WARNING: Storm Approaching": Weather, the Environment, and Natural Disasters in the Ancient Mediterranean

24th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium, University of Virginia
March 21, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Clara Bosak-Schroeder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Scientific, aesthetic, and religious conceptions of weather events appear throughout Classical antiquity, as the Greeks and Romans attempted to make sense of environmental phenomena. Often, these events were explained as expressions of divine wrath or favor. Storms and natural disasters figured as literary devices, for example to delay narrative action or as metaphors for the cyclic nature of human life. Climate, broadly defined, was thought to determine national character, and weather played a critical role in military expeditions. Recently, scholars have made considerable advances in applying principles of bioarchaeology to the study of the ancient world. Hand in hand with these, theorists working with the tools of ecocriticism envision a humanities broader than humans, accounting for the whole natural world.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 2:55pm by Erik Shell.

Modern cinema and Greek tragedy illustrate that few things elicit a fear more profound than parents killing children. Horror movies have often grappled with figures of “monstrous” mothers in particular, from the obsessive, hypochondriac Sonia Kaspbrack in Stephen King's IT (1986), to the lonely, murderous Olivia Crain in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House (2018). In Greek tragedy, too, mothers are often monsters: women like Medea, Agave or Althaea are all tragic examples of women who have killed their children. In both genres, these gestures of extreme violence are meant to shock and unsettle the audience by pushing back against “normal” familial bonds, bringing into question relationships of gender, the body and motherhood.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 5:16am by Justin Lorenzo Biggi.

The Outreach Prize Committee is delighted to award the 2019 Outreach Prize of the Society for Classical Studies to Dr. Salvador Bartera, Assistant Professor of Classics and Dr. Donna Clevinger, Professor of Communication and Theatre at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi.  For the past five years, Professors Bartera and Clevinger have organized “Classical Week” at MSU, which includes a two-night run of an ancient comedy or tragedy and a colloquium about an aspect of the performance. This joint venture of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and the Shakouls Honors College showcases the interdisciplinarity of the event, in which Dr. Clevinger choreographs and directs the production, Dr. Bartera serves as dramaturge, and both collaborate on the colloquium.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 10/31/2019 - 9:09am by Erik Shell.

The Classics Program of the Department of Classical and Oriental Studies at Hunter College invites you to the Annual E. Adelaide Hahn Lecture.

Speaker: Emily Greenwood, Professor of Classics, Yale University

Friday November 8, 2019

  • Pre-Lecture Reception: 5:30-6:00 pm
  • Lecture: 6:00-7:00 pm “Verso Poetics: Black Women Poets and Classics”
  • Post-Lecture Reception: 7:00-7:30 pm

Location: Hunter College, 695 Park Ave., NY, NY 10065

8th floor Faculty / Staff Dining Room, Hunter West Building, 68th St. and Lexington Ave.

This event is open to the public. If you are a guest at Hunter, please bring a picture ID and stop at the Welcome Desk in the lobby of Hunter West Building, SW corner of 68th St. & Lex. (Then take the elevator to the 8th floor or the escalator to 3 and then the elevator to 8.)

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 10/28/2019 - 10:15am by Erik Shell.

The deadline to apply for the TLL Fellowship is November 8, 2019. The application includes many parts, and so should be started early.

Applications must be received by the deadline of Friday, November 8, 2019, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Applications should be submitted as e-mail attachments to Dr. Helen Cullyer, Executive Director, Society for Classical Studies, xd@classicalstudies.org.

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 10/25/2019 - 8:15am by Erik Shell.

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