Past Parry lectures
2014 Dr. Gordon Braden
Linden Kent Memorial Professor, University of Virginia
Epic Annoyance, Homer to Palladas
Thursday, March 27, 2014, 5 pm, Bingham Library, Bingham Hall, Old Campus
Gordon Braden is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. His books include The Classics and English Renaissance Poetry (1978), Renaissance Tragedy and the Senecan Tradition (1985), The Idea of the Renaissance with William Kerrigan, (1989), Petrarchan Love and the Continental Renaissance (1999), Sixteenth-Century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology (2005), The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English: 1550-1660, with Robert Cummings and Stuart Gillespie, and Petrarch's English Laurels, 1475–1700, with Jackson Campbell Boswell, (2012).
2013 Joseph Russo
Audrey and John Dusseau Emeritus Professor of Humanities and Classics, Haverford College
The Ghost of Patroklos and the Language of Achilles
Joseph Russo, who studied with Adam Parry at Yale, has spent a lifetime teaching and writing about the Homeric epics and oral traditions, including folklore, folktale, and Sicilian oral traditions. His work throughout his career has demonstrated the methods and talents that were once so beautifully exemplified by the Parrys: the thoughtful and detailed analysis of Greek and Latin texts that is, at once, adventurous, elegantly written, and critically informed. Professor Russo’s lecture on ‘The Ghost of Patroklos and the Language of Achilles’ was a masterful example of this kind of scholarship, and a perfectly fitting inauguration of this series. Elaborating on Adam Parry’s landmark 1956 essay, ‘The Language of Achilles,’ Professor Russo described how Parry’s assertions about the inadequacy of heroic language to express non-heroic emotions were, despite making a dazzling first splash, subsequently dismissed as a kind of passé Whorfism. But he made a compelling case for the abiding genius of the essay that overrides its flaws, pointing out that Homeric language as an artificial product necessarily comes with Whorfian constraints, and yet the poet can manipulate these inadequacies to express subtle emotions obliquely but effectively.