North American Scholar

PARRY, Anne Reinberg Amory

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1931-09-02
  • Born City: Montclair
  • Born State/Country: NJ
  • Parents: Gustave & Helen Minshull R.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1971-06-06
  • Death City: Colmar
  • Death State/Country: France
  • Married: Frederic Amory, 29 Jan. 1955; Adam Milman Parry, 11 Apr. 1966.
  • Education:

    B.A. Vassar, 1952; M.A. Radcliffe Coll., 1955; Ph.D., 1957.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tchr. Brearley Sch. (New York), 1952-3; lctr. to asst. prof, class. U. California, Berkeley, 1957-64; jr. fell. Center Hell. Stud., (Washington, DC), 1964-5; vis. lctr. class. Yale, 1965-6; asst. prof, class. Connecticut Coll. Women, 1966-69; asso. prof, class. U. Massachusetts (Amherst), 1970-1.

  • Dissertation:

    "Omens and Dreams in the Odyssey" (Radcliffe, 1957)

  • Publications:

    Aeneas to Augustus, ed. with Mason Hammond (Cambridge, 1962; rev. ed., 1967); "The Reunion of Odysseus and Penelope," in Essays on the Odyssey, ed. Charles H. Taylor, Jr. (Bloomington, IN, 1963) 100-36; "The Gates of Horn and Ivory," YCS 20 (1966) 1-57; "Obscura de re lucida carmina: Science and Poetry in De Rerum Natura," YCS 21 (1969) 143-68; "Homer as Artist," CQ n.s. 21 (1971) 1-15; Blameless Aegisthus, Mnemosyne Suppl. XXVI (Leiden, 1973).

  • Notes:

    As a child, Anne Reinberg traveled widely, especially in South America, and thus developed early the wide-ranging, very civilized mind that later marked her student and professional years. One of the few women in her time to complete graduate-level work in classics at Harvard, she moved to the University of California with her first husband, Frederic Amory. In her intermediate Latin classes there she tested experimental versions of Aeneas to Augustus, the collection of Latin readings presenting events from Roman history that she had edited, while at Harvard, with Mason Hammond.After her divorce in 1962, Anne Amory remained in California two more years, and then returned to the East to the Center for Hellenic Studies. There she began work on the monograph that was posthumously published with the title Blameless Aegisthus. Within a year of arriving at Yale, she married Adam Parry, chair of the department. Because university policy at the time forbade her continuing as lecturer in the same department as her husband, she began a commuter's career from New Haven, first to Connecticut College in New London, then to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst that continued until her death. Not surprisingly, given her double connection to Homer both by intellectual interest and by marriage, she fearlessly joined the Homeric wars, most notably in her CQ article, where she responded to criticism by Albert Lord, in HSCP 72 (1967) 1-46, of her supposedly non-formulaist article in YCS 20. Far from siding with traditionalists against formulaists, Anne Parry argued that since oral and written epics, though obviously different in origin, overlapped in form, oral epic was open to the same formal criticism as was written epic. In her posthumous monograph she showed that a strictly formulaic interpretation of a Homeric epithet like ἀμύμων as "blameless" overlimited its meaning, since contextual analysis revealed that the bard(s) had widened its meaning by its association with idealized warriors, to "handsome" and gone on to apply it, for instance, to a wall or a woman. This epithet, though fixed in position by formulaic tradition, fluctuated in meaning through the anonymous bards' or bard's intent.Anne Parry's warm and personal interest in her family, friends, and students, was matched only by her love for her cats. She had preferred large ones, the kind she could "get a handle on." After her and her husband's tragic deaths in a motorcycle accident, she was survived by two oversized, heroic-looking (but very sweet) Russian Blue cats whom she had named, appropriately, Bellerophon and Antilochus.

  • Sources:

    E. A. Havelock, YCS 24 (1975) ix-xv; G. S. Kirk, Gnomon 44 (1972) 426-8; NYTimes (11 June 1971) 38.

  • Author: Ed Phinney