North American Scholar

DIMOCK, George Edward, Jr

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1917-12-19
  • Born City: New Haven
  • Born State/Country: CT
  • Parents: George Edward, a classicist, and Imogen Kinsey D.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2000-02-20
  • Death City: Pinedale
  • Death State/Country: Wyoming
  • Married: Mary Telekei Mesier, 2 July 1946.
  • Education:

    B.A. Yale, 1939; A.M., 1940; Ph.D., 1949.

  • Professional Experience:

    With Hartwood Syndicate (N.Y.) 1946-48; instr. class. Yale, 1948-52; asst. prof. Smith Coll., 1952-55; assoc. prof. 1955-60; prof. 1961-86; fell. ACLS, 1960-61; Guggenheim fell., 1964-65.  

  • Dissertation:

    “The Use of the Particles in Lysias” (Yale, 1949).

  • Publications:

    “Ἀλλα in Lysias and Plato's Phaedrus,” AJP 73 (1952) 381-96; “The Name of Odysseus,” Hudson Review 9,1 (1956) 52-70; “From Homer to Novi Pazar and Back,” Arion 2,4 (1963) 40-57;  “Oedipus. The Religious Issue,” Hudson Rev. (New York) 21 (1968-69) 430-56; “Crime and Punishment in the Odyssey,” Yale Review (1971); “The Mistake of Aeneas,” Yale Review 64 (1975) 344-56; “Euripides' Hippolytus, or Virtu Rewarded,” YCS 25 (1977) 239-58; “ ‘God, or not God, or between the Two?’--Euripides' Helen” Engel Lecture (Northampton, MA: Smith College, 1977); Iphigeneia at Aulis,  transl. with W.S. Merwin (Oxford : Oxford Univ. Pr., 1978) [REVS: NYRB XXV,1 1978 15-19 Knox ; G&R XXVI 1979 197 Ireland ; AUMLA LI 1979 81-82 Gellie ; AJPh CI 1980 97-98 Burian]; The Unity of the Odyssey (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989) [REVS: TLS 1989 984 Steiner; JHS CX 1990 209-210 Hooker; CW LXXXIV 1990-1991 78-79 Rexine; G&R XXXVII 1990 101 Hopkinson; CR XLI 1991 9-10 Rutherford; AJPh CXIII 1992 277-279 Murnaghan; Mnemosyne XLV 1992 248-249 H. Vos]; “Is Heaven Hostile?: The Iliad and the Odyssey Compared,” The Odyssey and Ancient Art: An Epic in Word and Image, ed. Diana Buitron & Beth Cohen (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: Edith C. Blum Art Institute, 1992) 197-200; The Odyssey, transl. A. T. Murray; rev. by Dimock, LCL, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Pr., 1995) [REVS: AC 1997 66: 379-380 Daniel Donnet; CR 1996 N. S. 46 (2): 366 A. F. Garvie; RFIC 1996 124 (4): 455-456 Giacomo Bona].

  • Notes:

    George Dimock's father, also a classicist, inspired him to study the ancient languages at Andover Academy and then at Yale. At the outbreak of the war, George joined the army, and from 1942 to 1946 he served as a cryptologist in the 849th Signal Intelligence Corps. From 1948 to 1955 he was a member of Yale's Classics Department. In 1955 he joined Smith's Department of Classical Languages and Literatures, where he taught for thirty-one years, retir­ing in 1986.In 1956 George published "The Name of Odysseus," in the Hudson Review, an article which takes as its start­ing point the etymology of Odysseus' name as the "Man of Pain," and which centers the meaning of the Odyssey on its hero's willingness both to accept suffering and to impose it on others. This essay attracted immediate at­tention and has been repeatedly anthologized. George planned to expand the article into a full-length study, and for this purpose he received both an American Coun­cil of Learned Societies Fellowship in 1960, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964. He spent those years travelling and writing in Greece and Italy. The book, however, was a long time in appearing; like Penelope weaving Laertes' shroud, George repeatedly reworked it over the course of three decades. In the meantime he taught Greek, Latin, and classics in translation, and pub­lished articles on Homer, Greek tragedy, and Virgil's Aeneid. In 1976, as Smith's Katherine Asher Engel Lecturer, George delivered a talk (subsequently pub­lished by the college) on Euripides' Helen. His transla­tion of Euripides' Iphigeneia in Aulis, a collaboration with W.S. Merwin, appeared in 1978 in the Oxford se­ries of Greek Tragedy in New Translation. After his retirement George not only completed his long-awaited The Unity of the Odyssey, published in 1989 by the University of Massachusetts Press, but also revised A. T. Murray's translation of the Odyssey for the Loeb Classical Library. He had embarked on a similar revi­sion of Murray's Ilia d when Alzheimer's began to take its toll, and he recognized that he could no longer con­tinue.George's teaching and his scholarship were of a piece. He preferred close reading of a text to scouring the sec­ondary literature for ideas and approaches. Yet his in­terest in new developments in the discipline was con­sistent and unfeigned. He was a member of both the American Philological Association and the Archaeo­logical Institute of America, and when he attended schol­arly conferences he came not to network but to listen to the papers.

  • Sources:

    DAS 68 3:130; APA Newsletter, (April 2000) 12-13

  • Author: Justina Gregory