Fantham, Elaine 1933-

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Fantham, Elaine 1933-
(Rosamund Elaine Fantham)

PERSONAL:

Born May 25, 1933, in Liverpool, England; married (husband deceased); children: two. Education: Oxford University, B.Litt, M.A., 1957; Liverpool University, Ph.D., 1962.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, historian, and educator. University of Toronto, professor of classics, 1968-86; Princeton University, Giger Professor of Latin and professor of classics, emeritus, 1986-99; Florida State University, Langford Eminent Scholar in Classics, 2001—. Indiana University, visiting professor, 1966-68. Trustee of American Academy in Rome.

MEMBER:

American Philological Association (past vice president of research division; president, 2003), Classical Association of Canada (past vice president), International Society for the History of Rhetoric.

WRITINGS:

Comparative Studies in Republican Latin Imagery, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1972.

Seneca's Troades: A Literary Introduction with Text, Translation, and Commentary, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1982.

(Editor, with Erika Rummel) Erasmus, Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 29: Literary and Educational Writings, and Volume 7, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

(Editor) Lucan, De Bello Civili, Book II, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1992.

(With others) Women in the Classical World: Image and Text, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Roman Literary Culture: From Cicero to Apuleius, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.

(Editor) Ovid, Fasti, Book IV, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Ovid's Metamorphoses, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

The Roman World of Cicero's "De Oratore," Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Julia Augusti, Routledge (New York, NY), 2006.

(Author of introduction and notes) Virgil, Georgics, translated by Peter Fallon, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Virgil's Aeneid: Augustan Epic and Political Context, edited by Hans-Peter Stahl, Duckworth (London, England), 1998. Contributor to periodicals, including Classical Philology, Phoenix, and the American Journal of Philology.

SIDELIGHTS:

Historian and educator Elaine Fantham is a classics scholar whose academic credentials include posts at the University of Toronto, Princeton University, and Florida State University. Many of her works focus on social and literary subjects from the ancient Greek and Roman classical world. Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 29: Literary and Educational Writings, edited by Fantham and Erika Rummel, contains a diverse selection of material from Erasmus covering topics in literature and education. The text includes "works difficult to place elsewhere, in a grab-bag of orations, commentaries, and homilies," noted reviewer Bob Scribner in the English Historical Review. The works include two orations from Erasmus's younger days, a funeral oration for an early patron, responses to poems, and the text of Erasmus's exercise in eloquence. Scribner concluded that the Erasmus volume "is well up to the standards of scholarship set by the edition as a whole, correcting dates, providing provenances and variant texts."

Women in the Classical World: Image and Text assembles various portraits and profiles of women from ancient Greece and Rome. Fantham and her coauthors explore women's lives in the full social and cultural context of the ancient classical world. They portray Greek and Roman women within the context of private and public life, covering topics such as home lives, sexual mores, marriage and family, religion, motherhood, politics, and creative expression. From careful study of ancient documents and contemporary images and artwork from monuments, murals, and sculptures, the authors clarify and expand upon how ancient women moved through their world and conducted themselves through the many spheres of their lives. Donna Seaman, writing in Booklist, concluded that Fantham and her collaborators have created "an exciting and invaluable synthesis of visual and literary materials, a triumph … of scholarship and analysis." Fantham explores in depth the imaginative and scholarly writing and the social status of readers and writers in ancient Rome in Roman Literary Culture: From Cicero to Apuleius. She takes as her definition of literature imaginative writing as well as other forms of writing such as speeches and scholarly works that share characteristics with imaginative writing, noted Thomas Habinek in Classical Philology. She looks at both prose and poetry and at well-known writers such as Virgil and Ovid, as well as more obscure literary figures such as Cornelius Nepos and Philostratus. Fantham "has read widely and deeply in both the literary texts themselves and in the ancient testimonia concerning them," Habinek commented. "Indeed, in general the reconstructions of social and cultural conditions surrounding the texts are more powerful than the discussions of the texts themselves." She considers topics such as the competition between music and poetry as entertainment at private gatherings; distinctions between pure literature and more common entertainment; and the importance of public performance in the ancient world. Fantham's "study provides ample raw material for an appreciation of the complexity and range of verbal production in ancient Rome," Habinek concluded.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1994, Donna Seaman, review of Women in the Classical World: Image and Text, p. 2000.

Classical Philology, October, 1997, Thomas Habinek, review of Roman Literary Culture: From Cicero to Apuleius, p. 387.

English Historical Review, October, 1993, Bob Scribner, review of Collected Works of Erasmus, Volume 29: Literary and Educational Writings, and Volume 7, p. 1014.

ONLINE

Florida State University Department of Classics Web site,http://www.fsu.edu/~classics/ (March, 2001).

Princeton University Department of Classics Web site,http://www.princeton.edu/~classics/ (November 11, 2006), biography of Elaine Fantham.