North American Scholar

BRUÈRE, Richard Treat

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1907-12-28
  • Born City: New York
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: Henry, pres. Bowery Savings Bank, and Jane Munroe B.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1992-11-28
  • Death City: Madison
  • Death State/Country: WI
  • Married: Carol Whitcomb, 28 Dec. 1937; Katharine Jane Becker, 17 Mar. 1973.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1928; Ph.D., 1936.

  • Professional Experience:

    Norton fell. ASCSA, 1936-7; instr. to prof. U. of Chicago, 1937-74; dean of students, 1941-2; 1946-50; chair class, dept. 1950-3, dir. Lat. stud., 1954-74; mng. ed. CP 1951-74.

  • Dissertation:

    "De Ovidii Metamorphoseon aliquot codicibus recensendis" (Harvard, 1936).

  • Publications:

    "The Manuscript Tradition of Ovid's Metamorphoses," HSCP 50 (1939) 95-122; "The Latin and English Versions of Thomas May's Supplementum Lucani," CP 44 (1949) 145-63; "Note on Lucan Bellum civile 1.15," ibid., 244-50; "The Scope of Lucan's Historical Epic," CP 45 (1950) 217-35 (trans, as "Der geplante Endpunkt des historischen Epos Lucans," by Astrid Rutz in Lucan, ed. Werner Rutz = Wege der Forschung 225 [Darmstadt, 1970] 217-56); "Lucan's Cornelia," CP 46 (1951) 221-36; "Palaepharsalus, Pharsalus, Pharsalia," CP 46 (1951) 111-5; "Silius Italicus Punica 3.62-162 and 4.763-822,"CP 47 (1952) 219-27; "Tacitus and Pliny's Panegyricus," CP 49 (1954) 161-79; "Pliny the Elder and Virgil," CP 51 (1956) 228-46; "Ovid Met. 15.1-5 and Tacitus Ann. 1.11.1," CP 53 (1958) 34; Color Ovidianus in Silius Punica I-VII," in E. Paratore, Bibliografia Ovidiana (Sulmona, 1958) 475-99; "Color Ovidianus in Silius Punica 8-17," CP 54 (1959) 228-45; "Observations on the Third Book of Fracastero's Syphilis," in Studies Ullman (1960) 104-17; "Lucan and Petrarch's Africa," CP 56 (1961) 83-99; "Lucan and Claudian: The Invectives," CP 59 (1964) 223-56; "The Helen Episode in Aeneid 2 and Lucan," ibid., 267-8; Servianorum in Vergilii carmina Commentariorum editionis Harvardianae, Volumen III, ed. A. F. Stocker & A. H. Travis, with the assistance of Bruère (Oxford, 1965); "Virgil and Vida," CP 61 (1966) 21-43; "Pliny the Elder, Diaper and Keats," ibid., 107; "Lucan's Use of Virgilian Reminiscence," with Lynette Thompson, CP 63 (1968) 1-21; "The Virgilian Background of Lucan's Fourth Book," with Lynette Thompson, CP 65 (1970) 152-72; "Some Recollections of Virgil's Drances in Later Epic," CP 66 (1971) 30-4.

    Bibliography: "Richard T. Bruère: A Bibliography," compiled by Nancy Pearce Helmbold & Mary Ann Krance, CP 71 (1976) 122-9.

  • Notes:

    Mr. Bruère, as we all called him, was very much the Old School. He was part of the WASP ascendancy. His father had been president of the Bowery Savings Bank in New York. He had gone to the best schools. That meant Exeter and Harvard, where he wrote his dissertation under E. K. Rand and later became part of the Servius team. I do not know why he deserted the East for Chicago. Rand would have had colleagues there in Latin palaeography. Like so many of his generation, he was loyal to one institution. He was a wealthy, modest, cultivated gentleman with a winter home in Florida who did not need to raise his salary by deceiving his colleagues. He managed administration efficiently and fairly. He taught—usually graduate seminars—for 37 years at Chicago with an occasional quarter free for research. Classical Philology, the journal founded by Paul Shorey and Edward Capps, was the center of his life. As editor he was ably assisted by Benedict Einarson and E. L. Bassett. It flourished under his aegis. Many, many articles were improved by his exactitude. His terse, expert reviews guided generations of readers. He was ever ready to encourage the deserving young but unyielding in his standards. The cost was that he never completed his commentary on Ovid, Metamorphoses nor a book on Lucan. He knew too much. He was ahead of his time in valuing late poets, after Housman Lucan, but also Silius Italicus, even Petrarch and Vida, when no one else did. His famous articles on Lucan's Virgil anticipated much modern Rezeptionsforschung. His view of the title of the epic has been widely but not universally accepted. Although modern critics, e.g., F. M. Ahl, may disagree, Bruère posed the questions and provided the answers that must be refuted rather than ignored, when not accepted. He belonged to a species today not just endangered but extinct. He was a gentleman and a scholar.

  • Sources:

    Katherine Jane Bruère, APA Newsletter (Feb. 1993) 15-6; WhAm 1980-1:460.

    Image: University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-09372r, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

  • Author: William M. Calder III