North American Scholar

LINFORTH, Ivan Mortimer

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1879-09-15
  • Born City: San Francisco
  • Born State/Country: CA
  • Parents: Edward William & Emma Amanda French L.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1976-12-15
  • Death City: Berkeley
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Katherine Frances Storie, 20 June 1906.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. California, 1900, A.M., 1901; Ph.D., 1905; Harvard Club (San Francisco) Scholar Harvard, 1902-3; LL.D. U. California, 1957.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. to prof. Gk. U. California, 1905-49; pres. PAPC, 1925-6; APA, 1931-2; fell. AAAS, 1933-76; arm. prof. ASCSA, 1934-5; vis. prof. Andrew Fleming West Foundation, Princeton, 1939-40; fell. IAS, Princeton, 1949-50.

  • Dissertation:

    "Semasiological Studies in Virgil" (California, 1906).

  • Publications:

    "Notes on the Pseudo-Virgilian Ciris," AJP 27 (1906) 438-46; "οἱ ἀθανατίζοντες,” CP 13 (1918) 23-33; Solon the Athenian (Berkeley, 1919); "Herodotus' Avowal of Silence in His Account of Egypt," CPCP 7 (1924) 269-92; "Greek Gods and Foreign Gods in Herodotus," CPCP 9 (1926) 1-25; "Named and Unnamed Gods in Herodotus," CPCP 9 (1928) 201-43; The Arts of Orpheus (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1941); "Soul and Sieve in Plato's Gorgias," CPCP 12 (1944) 295-313; "The Corybantic Rites in Plato," CPCP 13 (1946) 121-62; "Telestic Madness in Plato, Phaedrus 244DE," ibid., 163-72; "Religion and Drama in 'Oedipus at Colonus' " CPCP 14 (1951) 75-191; "The Pyre on Mount Oeta in Sophocles' 'Trachiniae'," CPCP 14 (1951) 255-67; "Notes on Oedipus at Colonus," Studies Norwood, 68-75; "Three Scenes in Sophocles' 'Ajax'," CPCP 15 (1954) 1-28; "Philoctetes, The Play and the Man," CPCP 15 (1956) 95-156; "Antigone and Creon," CPCP 15 (1961) 183-259; "Electra's Day in the Tragedy of Sophocles," CPCP 19 (1963) 89-125.

  • Notes:

    Ivan Linforth was one of the great Hellenists of his time. For over 40 years he taught the Greek language and literature to generations of students, several of whom became prominent classical scholars. He was an authority on Greek religion, in which his greatest contribution was his study of Orphism, The Arts of Orpheus, which challenged the prevailing scholarly view of that phenomenon and has had a salutary effect on later studies of the subject. In addition he made significant contributions to the study of Solon, Herodotus, Plato, and Sophocles.Deeply influenced by his Berkeley teacher Isaac Flagg, Linforth turned his chief interest to Greek, though his master's thesis and dissertation were both on Latin subjects. In his classes he emphasized the reading of the Greek text, teaching students to phrase Greek sentences correctly. He kept translation to a minimum, leaving it mostly to written exercises. He was an excellent instructor in all the intricacies of Greek syntax and word usage. He loved the ancient Greek language and conveyed his feeling for it to several generations of students. Following his retirement in 1949, he turned to Sophocles, on whom he published regularly for the next 12 years.

  • Sources:

    J. Fontenrose, CJ 73 (1977-8) 50-5; "Supplement," CJ 74 (1978-79) 154; Fontenrose, 31-6; WhAm 6:248.

  • Author: Joseph Fontenrose