KIRKWOOD, Gordon Macdonald

  • KIRKWOOD, Gordon Macdonald
Date of Birth
Born City
Toronto, Ontario
Born State/Country
Canada
Parents
George Leslie McKay & Gertrude Erie Marlatt K.
Date of Death
Death City
Ithaca
Death State/Country
NY
Married
Patricia Marie Frueh, 16 September 1940.
EDUCATION

B.A. Trinity College, University of Toronto, 1938; M.A., Cornell, 1939; Ph.D. Johns Hopkins, 1942.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Latin master, Lower Canada College (Montreal), 1945-6; lectr. Latin, University of Saskatchewan, summer, 1946; instr. classics, Cornell, 1946-8; asst, prof., 1948-54; asso. prof., 1954-9; professor 1959-84; Frederic Whiton prof. classics, 1974-84; chair, dept. classics, 1963-72; Ford Faculty Fellow, 1953-4; Guggenheim Fellow, 1956-7; APA Goodwin Award, 1959; ACLS fellow, 1962-3; NEH fellow 1977; president, APA, 1983; Clark Distinguished Teaching Award (Cornell), 1979.

DISSERTATION

"Sophocles' Use of the Technique of Contrast" (Johns Hopkins, 1942).

PUBLICATIONS

“The Dramatic Unity of Sophocles' Trachiniae,” TAPA 72 (1941) 203-211; “Two Structural Features of Sophocles' Electra,” TAPA 73 (1942) 86-95; “Hecuba and Nomos,” TAPA 78 (1947) 61-68; “Thucydides' Words for ‘Cause’,” AJP 73 (1952) 37-61; "A Survey of Recent Publications Concerning Classical Greek Lyric Poetry,” CW 47 (1953) 33-42 & 49-54; “The Dramatic Role of the Chorus in Sophocles,” Phoenix 8 (1954) 1-22; “A Review of Recent Sophoclean Studies (1945-1956),” CW 50 (1957) 157-72;  A Study of Sophoclean Drama, Cornell Stud. in Class. Philol.  XXXI (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958; rep.  New York: Johnson Reprint Co, 1967; enlarged with new preface and bibliographical note, 1994).  REVS:  CW LII 1958 17 Tracy | Hermathena XCIII 1959 88-90 Stanford | LEC XXVII 1959 107 Tillieux | RPh XXXIII 1959 301-303 de Romilly | JCS VII 1959 178-181 Nakamura [in Japanese] | AJP LXXX 1959 445-446 Musurillo | Emerita XXVII 1959 197 Gómez del Río | Mnemosyne XII 1959 257-261 Opst | REA LXII 1960 149-151 Carrière | CP LV 1960 214-217 Calder | CR X 1960 19-20 Lucas | CJ LV 1960 374-375 Else | PP XV 1960 301-320 Setti | JHS LXXX 1960 207 Brown | AC XXVIII 1959 351-352 Davison | Phoenix XIV 1960 175-176 Whitman | RBPh XXXIX 1961 1302-1304 Torhoudt; A Short Guide to Classical Mythology (New York: Rinehart, 1959). REVS: CW LIV 1960 20 Schoenheim; “The Authorship of the Strasbourg Epodes,” TAPA 92 (1961) 267-82; “Homer and Sophocles' Ajax,” in Classical Drama and Its Influence. Essays Presented to H. D. F. Kitto, ed. J.M. Anderson (London: Methuen, 1965) 51-70; "The Narrative Art of Bacchylides," in The Classical Tradition. Studies in Honor of Harry Caplan (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966) 98-114; "Sappho, Fr. 31 LP," Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature 17 (1968) 75-80; "Eteocles Oiakostrophos," Phoenix 23 (1969) 9-25; "Thucydides' Judgment of the Constitution of the Five Thousand (VIII,97.2)," AJP 93 (1972) 92-103; Early Greek Monody. The History of a Poetic Type, Cornell Stud. in Class. Philol. XXXVII (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1974). REVS: LEC XLIII 1975 208 Wankenne | JCS XXIII 1975 84-87 Hashimoto | AC XLIV 1975 243 Mund-Dopchie | CW LXIX 1976 460-461 Podlecki | CJ LXXI 1976 177-180 Kopff | JHS XCVI 1976 193-194 Haldane | Hermathena CXX 1976 77 Stanford | AAHG XXX 1977 13-15 Eisenhut | CP LXXII 1977 164-167 Burnett | REG XC 1977 144 Irigoin | CR XXVIII 1978 5-6 Dunbar; Poetry and Poetics from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance. Studies in Honor of James Hutton (ed.) (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975). REVS:  G&R XXIII 1976 98 Walcot | TLS LXXV 1976 593 Bolgar | CR XXVII 1977 262-264 Bowie; "Nemean 7 and the Theme of Vicissitude in Pindar," Poetry and Poetics (1975) 56-90; “Pindar's Ravens. Olymp. II, 87,” CQ 31 (1981) 240-3; “Pythian 5.72-76, 9.90-92 and the Voice of Pindar,” ICS 6 (1981) 12-33; Selections from Pindar (ed. with commentary), APA Textbook Series 7 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1982). REVS: CR XXXIV 1984 5-7 Carey | G&R XXXI 1984 207 Silk | REG XCVI 1983 311-313 Schneider | CP LXXX 1985 266-270 Scodel | CO LXIII 1985 32-33 Gantz | Phoenix 38 1984 272-275 D. Campbell; "What is Greek Tragedy?," Critical Thinking: Reading across the Curriculum, ed. Anne Bradstreet Grinols (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984) 191-7;  “Blame and Envy in the Pindaric Epinician,” in Greek Poetry and Philosophy. Studies in Honour of Leonard Woodbury, ed. D.E. Gerber (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1984) 169-83; “From Melos to Colonus. Τίνας χώρους ἀφίγμεθ'... ?.,” TAPA 116 (1986) 99-117;  “Oedipus Coloneus 1583-1584,” Phoenix 41 (1987) 184-8; “Nemean 4, 93 and eris in Pindar,” QUCC 60 (1989) 7-12; “Order and Disorder in Sophocles' Antigone,” ICS 16 (1991) 101-9; “Persuasion and Allusion in Sophocles' Philoctetes,” Hermes122 (1994) 425-36; The Classics at CornellThe First Century (Ithaca, NY: Department of Classics, Cornell, 2000).
Festschrift: Language and the Tragic Hero; Essays on Greek Tragedy in Honor of Gordon M. Kirkwood, ed. Pietro Pucci (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988).

NOTES

Gordon Kirkwood was a professor of Classics at Cornell for nearly 40 years and a leading expert on Greek tragedy and lyric poetry. After his undergraduate study in Toronto, he came to Cornell, where he met fellow student Patricia Frueh. After receiving their M.A. degrees in 1939, the couple wed and in 1942 both received doctorates in Classics from Johns Hopkins. They were married for 66 years. Following service in the Intelligence Division of the Canadian Navy and the British Foreign Office in Washington (1942-5) and a year at Lower Canada College in Montreal, he began his long career at Cornell. 

Internationally recognized as an expert on Sophocles, Greek monody, and Pindar, he received a number of prestigious fellowships and authored countless reviews, but he firmly believed that educating students was a professor's most important job. His distinguished teaching won him Cornell's Clark Award in 1978.  His colleague Jeffrey Rusten wrote, "as department chair Gordon was the first to conceive of classics as embracing archaeology, historical linguistics, and contemporary approaches to literature. Our department today is unthinkable without his vision."  His former colleague Ralph Johnson wrote of his "unique clustering of chairmanly virtues: fair-minded, firm, compassionate, witty, a paragon of unostentatious civility and a perfect master when it came to fashioning equitable compromises." In addition to expanding the department in terms of faculty and offerings, Kirkwood also helped establish the Prescott W. Townsend Fund (named after a classicist and Cornell alumnus) to bring scholars to Ithaca and provide fellowships and travel grants for students.
Apart from his professional duties he was a volunteer and member of the Tompkins County Mental Health Services Board and served on the board of Challenge Industries, a vocational services fund.

SOURCES

WhAm 43 (1984-5) 1794; Cornell Chronicle (26 January 2007); Pietro Pucci, Kevin Clinton & John Coleman, "Gordon M. Kirkwood," Cornell Faculty Memorials.

AUTHOR
Pietro Pucci