North American Scholar

EDGEWORTH, Robert Joseph

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1947-01-02
  • Born City: Chicago
  • Born State/Country: IL
  • Parents: James Spaulding & Ann Marie Mahoney E.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2004-10-22
  • Death City: Chicago
  • Death State/Country: IL
  • Married: Kathleen Mary Young, August 26, 1972
  • Education:

    A.B. Loyola, U. (Chicago), 1967; M.A. U. Michigan, 1968, Ph.D. 1974

  • Professional Experience:

    Teacher, Quigley HS (Chicago), 1969-71; lecturing fell., Australian National U. (Canberra), 1974-81; lector. San Diego State U., 1981; asst. prof. classics, LSU, 1981-85, asso. prof., 1985-90; prof. 1990-2003; acting chair, Dept. Foreign Langs., 1988-9; 92, 94; head, classics section, 1989-94; 1998-2003; acting dir., comparative literature program, 1990-4. 

  • Dissertation:

    "The Uses of Color Terms in the Aeneid" (Michigan, 1974).

  • Notes:

    The career of Robert J. Edgeworth as teacher and scholar spanned nearly four decades. His scholarship always reflected the depth and precision of his expertise. His dissertation research, directed by D.R. Shackleton Bailey, led to a scattering of articles about the uses of color in ancient texts and culminated in a book on colors in the Aeneid. Dozens of other articles brought incisive commentary on a wide range of literature, from Greek lyric poetry to Senecan tragedy, from Lucian to modern novelists. He was a captivating presenter of papers, as he would explicate elliptical references in the satires of Juvenal or expound on the broad humanity of Virgil. Likewise he was a driving force in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at LSU, whether directing the graduate program in Comparative Literature, the Classical Languages section of the department, or simply serving as a constant source of information and leadership.

    Students and colleagues alike were drawn not only by his ability but also by his gentlemanly manner. He taught his classes only at the highest level, challenging his students to be scholarly and professional. His high expectations and tireless assistance inspired students both to seek his classes out repeatedly and to continue on in the profession. The community of Latin teachers around Louisiana owes much to Professor Edgeworth’s energy and commitment.

    His encyclopedic intellect and dignified bearing made him popular outside of academic circles as well. He held the chairmanship of the Latin Liturgy Association. His love of language and knowledge of popular trivia led to successful appearances on the game shows Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and others. His abiding passion for politics included service to the Louisiana Republican Party as parliamentarian. The bravery and candor with which he combated cancer in his last years only illuminated further the strength of spirit he displayed in all facets of his life. 

  • Sources:

    Wilfred E. Major, APA Newsletter (December 2004) 12; WhAm 53 (1999) 1232; DAS 10,3; Nicholas Leman, "The Controller," New Yorker (12 May 2003).

  • Author: Wilfred E. Major