All Scholars

LONSDALE, Steven Hancock

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  • Date of Birth: January 06, 1952
  • Born City: Denver
  • Born State/Country: CO
  • Parents: David Lawrence, a professor, and Jeanne Hancock L.
  • Date of Death: October 11, 1995
  • Death City: Washington
  • Death State/Country: DC
  • Education:

    A.B. Classics & Classical Archaeology, Harvard, 1974; Ph.D., Cambridge, 1977.

  • Dissertation:

    "Animal Imagery in Homer" (Cambridge, 1977).

  • Professional Experience:

    Adjunct prof. Hunter College of the City University of New York, 1979; grant from Arthur Foundation, 1980; New York Council of the Arts, 1981; Swann Foundation, 1981; guest at Yaddo, summer, 1982; vis. asst. prof., Gettysburg College, 1986; asst. prof. Classics, Davidson College, 1986-92; asso. prof. 1992-94; Jr. Fell., CHS, 1990-1; NEH Fellow, 1990-1; Fell., National Humanities Center (NC), 1991-2.

  • Publications:

    “Attitudes towards Animals in Ancient Greece,” G&R 26 (1979) 146-159; “Protean Forms and Disguise in Odyssey 4,” Lexis (1988) 165-78; “Simile and Ecphrasis in Homer and Virgil: the Poet as Craftsman and Choreographer,” Vergilius 36 (1990) 7-30; “Hesiod's Hawk and Nightingale (Op. 202-12). Fable or Omen?,” Hermes 117 (1989) 403-12; “If Looks Could Kill. Παπταίνω and the Interpretation of Imagery and Narrative in Homer,” CJ 84 (1988-89) 325-33; Creatures of Speech: Lion, Herding, and Hunting Similes in the Iliad, Beitr. zur Altertumskunde 5 (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1990). REVS.: CR 41 (1991) 293-5 Griffin | Gnomon 64 (1992) 632-4 T. Krischer | CW 86 (1992-3) 525-526 J. Rexine | Mnemosyne 46 (1993) 396-7 I. J. F. De Jong | EMC 38 (1994) 393-400 I. Holmberg | REG 107 (1994) 738-9 C. Mauduit | RPh 66, 2 (1992) 357-358 P. Hummel | Euphrosyne 23 1995 548-550 Victor Jabouille; Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). REVS.: CB 72,1 (1996) 73-74 Billie Jean Collins | CR 45, 1 (1995) 182-183 Hugh Bowden | LEC 63, 2 (1995) 192-193 Olivier Gengler | Mnemosyne ser. 4, 49,3 (1996) 366-369 F. G. Naerebout | Phoenix 49, 3 (1995) 278-279 Francis Edward Sparshott | BMCRev 5 (1994) 230-233 David Sansone | CW 91, 4 (1997-98) 291-2 C. Robert Phillips | NECN 22, 1 (1994-95) 30-31 Phyllis B. Katz | TLS, no. 4780 (1994) Ruth Padel; “Homeric Hymn to Apollo: Prototype and Paradigm of Choral Performance,” Arionn.s. 3,1 (1994-5) 25-40; “A Dancing Floor for Ariadne (Iliad 18.590-592): Aspects of Ritual Movement in Homer and Minoan Religion,” in The Ages of Homer: A Tribute to Emily Townsend Vermeule, ed. Jane P. Carter & Sarah P. Morris (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995) 273-84

  • Notes:

    Steven Lonsdale was a fine scholar specializing in the place of dance in Greek ritual and society. He was known for his gentle, considerate, and graceful character. excellent musicianship (he was a pupil of Marcel DuPré in Paris) and marvelous sense of fun. After studying under Emily Vermeule at Harvard and Pat Easterling at Cambridge, he worked for a while in New York as a free-lance writer, publishing Animals and the Origins of Dance before returning to academe in 1986. During his last decade he published a number of articles on early Greek poetry and religion and two further books, written with his usual care and elegance: Creatures of Speech is a revision of his dissertation and the work which represents the culmination of his intellectual career, Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion. In this work he combined his extensive and penetrating knowledge of the anthropological approach to Greek poetry and religion, in which he built upon the work of Walter Burkert, Claude Calame, and the French Structuralists, with a carefully controlled yet well-imagined use of the textual, archaeological, and epigraphic record, to set the Greeks' choros into the living context of their song-and-dance culture, as seen through the eyes of Plato in the Laws. In his words: "their song, depicting the privilege of the gods and the sufferings of mortals, is both a reminder of the gulf between gods and mortals and of the poetic means of bridging that gap....Ideally, a performance should console and compensate for mortal suffering, by providing, through music and dance, an antidote to death and a defense against old age."

  • Sources:

    APA Newsletter (December 1995) 26; ContAu 114 

  • Author: Richard Janko