North American Scholar

BUNDY, Elroy Lorraine

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1920-07-26
  • Born City: Fergus Falls
  • Born State/Country: MN
  • Parents: Arthur Cornelius, a laborer, & Sybil F. Tarkett B., a seamstress.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1975-12-27
  • Death City: Berkeley
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Eliene Soderling, 13 Feb. 1945; Barbara Korpan, 25 Jan. 1968.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. California (Berkeley), 1948; Ph.D., 1954; Woodrow Wilson fell. Princeton, 1948-9.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. class. U. Washington, 1952-3; asst. prof, to asso. prof, class. & comp. lit. U. California (Berkeley), 1953-75.

  • Dissertation:

    "Hesychia in Pindar" (California, 1954).

  • Publications:

    "Studia Pindarica I: The Eleventh Olympian Ode; II: The First Isthmian Ode," UCPCP 18 (1962) 1-34; 35-92, reprinted as Studia Pindarica (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1986); "The Quarrel between Kallimachos and Apollonios. I: The Epilogue to Kallimachos's Hymn to Apollo," CSCA 5 (1972) 39-94.Festschrift: Studies in Classical Lyric: An Homage to Elroy Bundy, CA 2.1 (1983).

  • Notes:

    Elroy Bundy is remembered principally for his work on Pindar, which radically transformed the modern interpretation of ancient Greek poetry, especially choral lyric. He was a man of enormous appeal, an accomplished athlete, and an expert on California butterflies. Ruggedly handsome and an inspiring teacher, Bundy attracted a large and loyal student following. His knowledge of Greek was broad and deep, his mental discipline such that he knew all of Pindar by heart. A comparatist as well as a classicist and a poet, he was interested in the whole range of ancient literature, and in the modern traditions that take their life from it. Closely associated with Yvor Winters and the foes of romanticism, he held with increasing fervor that poetry has a moral role to play, and that it plays this best when its practitioners are conscious of their social function and of the intellectual demands of their craft. As applied to the study of Pindar, this conviction led him to emphasize the role of the poet as laudator and of the athlete as laudandus, and to propose that the details of the victory songs may be explained as fitting into a structure of public celebration informed by consensus and rhetorical convention. In 1962 he published two dense and richly informative studies, in which he argued that a correct understanding of Pindar's procedure would largely eliminate the need for any appeal to private sentiment or topical allusion, and that it would help to throw light on the question of the formal and conceptual unity of the Pindaric ode. The views argued in the studies were slow to be accepted, and for a while Bundy withdrew into silence. By the time his readings had come to influence Pindaric criticism in Europe and America, Bundy's health had deteriorated. His powerful influence on his students and their affection for him remained undiminished until the day of his death.

  • Sources:

    Fontenrose 65-6; Malcolm Heath, "The Origins of Modern Pindaric Criticism," JHS 106 (1986) 85-98; E. C. Kopff, "American Pindaric Criticism after Bundy," Aeschylus und Pindar, ed. E. G. Schmidt (Berlin, 1981) 49-53; H. Lloyd-Jones, "Modern Interpretations of Pindar: the Second Pythian and Seventh Nemeafi Odes" JHS 93 (1973) 109-37; David C. Young, "Pindaric Criticism," Minnesota Review 4 (1964) 584-641; idem, Three Odes of Pindar, Mnemosyne Supplement 9 (Leiden, 1968).

  • Author: Thomas G. Rosenmeyer