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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Fourth Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Heritage of Western Greece

with special emphasis on τὸ καλόν to kalon: the beautiful, good, noble, fine Sicily Center for International Education
Syracuse, Sicily, June 6-9, 2018

The cultural and intellectual legacy of Western Greece—the coastal areas of Southern Italy and Sicily settled by Hellenes in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE—is sometimes overlooked in academia.  Yet evidence suggests that poets, playwrights, philosophers, and other maverick intellectuals found fertile ground here for the growth of their ideas and the harvesting of their work.  The goal of the Fonte Aretusa organization is to revive the distinctive spirit of Western Greece by exploring it from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including art history, archaeology, classics, drama, epigraphy, history, philosophy and religion.

Our conference takes place at the Sicily Center for International Education in Syracuse, Sicily—the cultural center of Western Greece known by Epicharmus, Empedocles, Plato, Aeschylus, Sappho, Theocritus, Archimedes, Cicero and many others.  It includes guided tours of local archaeological and cultural sites, communal meals, and the possibility to witness live performances in the ancient Greek theater by the National Institute for Ancient Drama.  An optional post-conference tour to important sites is also offered.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 06/05/2017 - 9:57am by Erik Shell.

Digital technology can support the emergence of a new kind of environment for reading, exploring, and thinking about classical texts—even those in unfamiliar languages. But realizing the ambitious goals for the new reading modalities, described in an earlier post, is a non-trivial task and requires research of various types.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/05/2017 - 12:00am by Gregory R Crane.

Understanding Hagiography and its Textual Tradition: the Late Antique and the Early Medieval Period (6th-11th centuries)

University of Lisbon, October 24-26, 2018

Between the sixth and the eleventh centuries, passions, lives of saints, translations of relics, miracles and other hagiographical genres underwent a remarkable process of transmission and rewriting. This conference aims at producing a fresh look at the transmission and the evolution of these crucial pieces of the spiritual and cultural life in the early Middle Ages. It will explore manuscript and textual traditions and literary reshaping, both in the history of the hagiographic genre and in the evolutionary process of the specific texts, without overlooking their function as pieces of a cult or simply of edification.

Call for papers

The papers should focus on hagiographic texts (passions, lives of saints, translations of relics, miracles and other hagiographic pieces) produced between the sixth and the eleventh centuries, as well as on hagiographic books (passionaries, legendaries and other sorts of compilation) composed before the late eleventh century. The papers must present original results arising out of a current research.

Main thematic lines

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 06/01/2017 - 8:49am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers

Translation, Adaptation, and Interpretation.

October 21, 2017.

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

First University of Florida Classics Graduate Student Symposium

(with the support of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Department, University of Florida),

Featuring keynote speaker Karl Galinsky, University of Texas.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: AUGUST 31st 2017

Every text is at the same time translatable yet impossible to transfer into another language in its entirety. Reading in a foreign language is an experience of surprise and frustration: surprise, when the ideas of an author become clear through his words, and succeed in conveying a message; frustration, when our words fall short in capturing the full meaning of the original. We invite papers that can address this dynamic in any field. We welcome a diversity of presentations from various disciplines and historical periods, on any topic related to the importance of the translator’s art in reception history. From here, speakers may also address issues related to adapting literature and art objects into different media and cultural contexts. Topics may include but not be limited to:

•           Ancient and/or modern translations

•           Literary translations/adaptation of texts or works of art

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 05/31/2017 - 8:54am by Erik Shell.
Books and Scholars' Possessions

The idiosyncratic Greek encyclopedia from the 10th century CE known as “The Suda” (from the Greek word souda, meaning “fortress” or “stronghold”) is filled with fascinating assertions, cultural minutiae, and enough gossip for a lifetime of anecdotes. Suda On Line (SOL) is the first and only translation of the entire Suda into a modern language, and it presents in some ways a model for digital scholarship, even twenty years after its inception. A team of seven managing editors, seventy-five editors, and over 125 contributing translators created it (a history of the project is available here). SOL is open to contributions from users; each entry is marked with a history of who translated it, who provided comments, and what, if any, editorial interventions were performed later. Anyone able to translate Greek may apply to be an editor, “regardless of formal credentials and specialization.”

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 05/30/2017 - 12:00am by Joel Perry Christensen.

Please note the upcoming conference on “Time and Eternity: The Conception of Time in Archaic Greek Literature” (University of Virginia, 22-24 September 2017).

Organizers:
Jenny Strauss Clay (Virginia), jsc2t@virginia.edu; Athanassios Vergados (Newcastle), athanassios.vergados@ncl.ac.uk;Anke Walter (Rostock), anke.walter@uni-rostock.de

For the program, see the conference website:

http://classics.virginia.edu/conference-time-and-eternity-conception-tim...

For inquiries and registration (free), please e-mail mbp3cf@virginia.edu or one of the organizers

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 05/26/2017 - 9:34am by Erik Shell.

The deadline for submission of papers to certain sessions of the annual conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) has been extended to June 26. Papers are still needed for the Classics/Latin, Classics/Greek and Classics/Reception sessions. The conference will be held in Honolulu HI from November 10-12. Please see the website:

http://www.pamla.org/annual-conferences
 

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 05/26/2017 - 9:30am by Erik Shell.

The twenty-first biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies will take place 8–10 March 2018 in Sarasota, Florida. The program committee invites 250-word abstracts of proposed twenty-minute papers on topics in European and Mediterranean history, literature, art, music and religion from the fourth to the seventeenth centuries. Interdisciplinary work is particularly appropriate to the conference’s broad historical and disciplinary scope. Planned sessions are also welcome. The deadline for all abstracts is 15 September 2017; for submission guidelines or to submit an abstract, please go to http://www.newcollegeconference.org/cfp.

Junior scholars whose abstracts are accepted are encouraged to submit their papers for consideration for the Snyder Prize (named in honor of conference founder Lee Snyder), which carries an honorarium of $400. Further details are available at the conference website.

The Conference is held on the campus of New College of Florida, the honors college of the Florida state system. The college, located on Sarasota Bay, is adjacent to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which will offer tours arranged for conference participants. Sarasota is noted for its beautiful public beaches, theater, food, art and music. Average temperatures in March are a pleasant high of 77F (25C) and a low of 57F (14C).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 05/25/2017 - 9:00am by Erik Shell.

Earlier this year SCS President Georgia Nugent issued a Presidential Letter on the Trump administration's budget blueprint that proposed elimination of many educational and cultural agencies including the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The administration's full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, published yesterday, is in line with the earlier blueprint.  It calls for the shutdown of the NEH and other agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This is still only a proposal. We can expect a long and contested appropriations process. All those in the US who are concerned about these cuts and eliminations can take action by contacting their representatives in Congress.

You can contact your representatives in the House and Senate in the following ways:

1. Make a phone call directly to Congress: All members of Congress can be reached through the US Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/24/2017 - 9:47am by Helen Cullyer.

20th colloquium of the Comité international de paléographie latine on 6-8 September 2017
:  "Scribes and the Presentation of Texts (from Antiquity to ca. 1550)
" at Yale University

Two deadlines are approaching:

First, the blocks of hotel rooms being held at the New Haven Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott will not be available after 15 June 2017 at the reduced room rates.  And please be aware that New Haven is a small city with a limited availability of rooms and little in the way of public transportation.

Secondly, in order to plan for the colloquium, registration will close on 1 August 2017.

For further information on the Colloquium see:

http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/LatinPaleography2017

The conference organizers encourage you to register and to book your room reservations at your earliest convenience if you have not done so already.

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 05/23/2017 - 8:08am by Erik Shell.

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