North American Scholar

SEGAL, Charles Paul

  • Image
  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1936-03-19
  • Born City: Boston
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2002-01-01
  • Death City: Boston
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Esther Rogers, 20 December 1961-79; Nancy Ann Jones, 9 January 1988
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1957; Ph.D. 1961; A.M. (hon.) Brown, 1969

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Harvard, 1963-64; teaching fell., classics tutor, 1959-61; asst. to assoc. prof. classics, U. of Pennsylvania, 1964-67; chair, classics grad. Studies, 1967; jr. fell., CHS, 1967-68; assoc. prof. to prof., Brown, 1968-78; prof. classics & comp. lit., 1978-86; chair classics dept., 1978-81; Benedict prof. classics, prof. comp. lit., 1980-86; prof. classics & comp. lit., Princeton, 1987-90; prof. Greek & Latin, Harvard, 1990-96; Walter C. Klein Prof. Class., 1996-2002; vis. Prof. ICCS, Rome, 1970-72; Brandeis U., 1974; vis. Dir. Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 1975-76; Fulbright exch. Lect., U. Melbourne, Australia, 1978; vis. Prof. Greek, Columbia, 1979; participant 1st & 2nd Soviet/American Semiotics Colloquia, ACLS/USSR Academy Sci., 1980, 1983; mem. Jury, Classical School, AAR, 1972-74; res. Classics, spring 1986; mem. Exec. Council Center for Semiotics, Brown, 1979-85; chair, curriculum revision comm., 1982-84; Prix de Rome, AAR, 1961-63; ACLS fell., 1975; NEH grantee, 1977; fell. 1985-86; 2001-2002; Guggenheim fell., 1981-82; sr. fell. CHS, 1987-92; fell. Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, 1989-90; fell., Nat. Hum. Center, 1993-94; fell. Stanford Hum. Center, 1997-98; Walter Channing Cabot fell., Harvard, 1999-2000; pres. APA, 1994.

  • Dissertation:

    "Reason, Emotion, and Society in the Sophists and Democritus" (Harvard, 1961)

  • Publications:

    “The Hesitation of the Golden Bough. A Reexamination,” Hermes 96 (1968) 74-79; “Aristophanes' Cloud-Chorus,” Arethusa 2 (1969) 143-161; “Euripides, Hippolytus 108-112. Tragic Irony and Tragic Justice,” Hermes 97 (1969) 297-305; “Adonis and Aphrodite ; Theocritus, Idyll III, 48,” AC 38 (1969) 82-88; “Horace, Odes II,6 (Septimi, Gadis aditure mecum). Poetic Landscape and Poetic Imagination,” Philologus 113 (1969) 235-53; “Vergil's Sixth Eclogue and the Problem of Evil,” TAPA 100 (1969) 407-435; “Protagoras' Orthoepeia in Aristophanes' Battle of the Prologues,” RhM 113 (1970) 158-162; The Theme of the Mutilation of Corpse in the Iliad, Mnemosyne Suppl. XVII (Leiden: Brill, 1971); “Andromache's Anagnorisis. Formulaic Artistry in Iliad 22.437-476,” HSCP 75 (1971) 33-57; “Two Fauns and a Naiad ? (Virgil, Ecl. 6,13-26),” AJP 92 (1971) 56-61; “The Song of Iopas in the Aeneid,” Hermes 99 (1971) 336-49; “Croesus on the Pyre. Herodotus and Bacchylides,” WS n.f. 5 (1971) 39-51; “The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite. A Structuralist Approach,” CW 67 (1974) 205-212; “Eros and Incantation. Sappho and Oral Poetry,” Arethusa 7 (1974) 139-160; “The Raw and the Cooked in Greek Literature. Structure, Values, Metaphor,” CJ 69 (1974) 289-308; “More Alexandrianism in Catullus VII?,” Mnemosyne 27 (1974) 139-43; “Arrest and Movement. Pindar's Fifth Nemean,” Hermes 102 (1974) 397-411; “Time and the Hero. The Myth of Nemean I,” RhM 117 (1974) 29-39; “Simichidas' Modesty. Theocritus, Idyll 7.44,” AJP 95 (1974) 128-36; “Death by Water. A Narrative Pattern in Theocritus (Idylls 1,13, 22,23),” Hermes 102 (1974) 20-38; “Theocritus' Seventh Idyll and Lycidas,” WS n.s. 8 (1974) 20-76; “Since Daphnis Dies. The Meaning of Theocritus’ First Idyll,” MH 31 (1974) 1-22; “Landscape into Myth. Theocritus' Bucolic Poetry,” Ramus 4 (1975) 115-39; “Mariage et sacrifice dans les Trachiniennes de Sophocle,” AC 44 (1975) 30-53; “The Hydra's Nursling. Image and Action in the Trachiniae,” AC 44 (1975) 612-17; “Divino e umano nel Filottete di Sofocle,” QUCC N° 23 (1976) 67-89; “Caves, Pan, and Silenus. Theocritus' Pastoral Epigrams and Virgil's Sixth Eclogue,” ZAnt 26 (1976) 53-56; “Pindar, Mimnermus, and the Zeus-Given Gleam. The End of Pythian 8,” QUCC No. 22 (1976) 71-76; “Bacchylides reconsidered. Epithets and the Dynamics of Lyric Narrative,” QUCC No. 22 (1976) 99-130; “Euripides' Bacchae. Conflict and Mediation,” Ramus 6 (1977) 103-120; “Thematic Coherence and Levels of Style in Theocritus' Bucolic Idylls,” WS n.s. 11 (1977) 35-68; “Pastoral Realism and the Golden Age. Correspondence and Contrast between Virgil's Third and Fourth Eclogues,” Philologus 121 (1977) 158-163; “The Menace of Dionysus. Sex Roles and Reversals in Euripides' Bacchae,” Arethusa 11 (1978) 185-202; “Pentheus on the Couch and on the Grid. Psychological and Structuralist Readings of Greek Tragedy,” CW 72 (1978) 129-48; “The Magic of Orpheus and the Ambiguities of Language,” Ramus 7 (1978) 106-142; “Sophocles' Antigone: The House and the Cave,” RCCM 20 (1978) 1171-1188; “Ovid's Cephalus and Procris; Myth and Tragedy,” GB 7 (1978) 175-205; “ ‘The Myth was Saved.’ Reflections on Homer and the Mythology of Plato's Republic,” Hermes 106 (1978) 315-36; “The Myth of Bacchylides 17. Heroic Quest and Heroic Identity,” Eranos 77 (1979) 23-37; “Visual Symbolism and Visual Effects in Sophocles,” CW 74 (1980) 125-42; “Myth, Cult, and Memory in Pindar's Third and Fourth Isthmian Odes,” Ramus 10 (1981) 69-86; “Art and the Hero. Participation, Detachment, and Narrative Point of View in Aeneid I,” Arethusa 14 (1981) 67-83; “Iopas Revisited (Aeneid I.740 ff.),” Emerita 49 (1981) 17-25; “Griechische Tragödie und Gesellschaft, I,” Propyläen-Geschichte der Literatur: Literatur und Gesellschaft der westlichen Welt, I : Die Welt der Antike: 1200 v. Chr.-600 n. Chr. Ed. E. Wischer (Berlin: Propyläen-Verl., 1981) 198-217; “Orality, Repetition and Formulaic Artistry in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter,” I poemi epici rapsodici non omerici e la tradizione orale. Atti del convegno di Venezia 28-30 settembre 1977, Pubbl. Fac. di lett. & filos. S. Sebastiano Univ. di Venezia III, ed. C. Brillante, M. Cantilena & C.O. Pavese. (Padua: Antenore, 1981) 107-62; Tragedy and Civilization. An Interpretation of Sophocles Martin Class. Lect. 26 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 1981) [REVS: CW LXXV 1982 307-309 Rexine; TLS LXXXI 1982 374 Easterling; G&R XXIX 1982 196 Silk; Athenaeum LXI 1983 598-601 Lanza; CR XXXIII 1983 5-7 Mason; MH XLI 1984 243-244 Lasserre; AJPh CV 1984 108-111 Hoppin; JCS XXXV 1987 104-106 Takebe]; Poetry and Myth in Ancient Pastoral. Essays in Theocritus and Virgil (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Pr., 1981) [REVS: TLS LXXXI 1982 374 Griffin ; G&R XXIX 1982 196-197 Silk ; REL LX 1982 411-412 Perret ; RPh LVII 1983 164-165 Franchet d'Esperey ; REG XCV 1982 527 Meillier ; DUJ XLIV,2 1983 111-112 Jenkinson ; Aevum LVIII 1984 100-102 Tarditi ; Annales (ESC) XXXVIII 1983 1301 Briquel ; Emerita LIII 1985 179-181 Ramírez de Verger ; Eirene XXII 1985 119-120 Slabochová ; WS N.F. XX 1986 292 Dönt]; “Tragédie, oralité, écriture,” Poétique (Paris Éd. du Seuil), 50 (1982) 131-54; “Nomen sacrum. Medea and Other Names in Senecan Tragedy,” Maia 34 (1982) 241-46; “Etymologies and Double Meanings in Euripides' Bacchae,” Glotta 60 (1982) 81-93; “Afterword. Jean-Pierre Vernant and the Study of Ancient Greece,” Arethusa 15 (1982) 221-34; “Sophocles Electra 610-611 Again,” CP 77 (1982) 133-36; Dionysiac Poetics and Euripides' Bacchae (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1982) [REVS: TLS LXXXII 1983 242 Taplin ; DUJ XLV 1983 112-114 Jenkins ; CW LXXVII 1984 317 Michelini ; JHS CIV 1984 203-204 Seaford ; Phoenix XXXVIII 1984 279-282 Rubino ; Gymnasium XCI 1984 350-352 Strohm ; JCS XXXII 1984 105-108 Kubota ; Aevum LVIII 1984 89-90 Tardii ; CompLit XXXVII 1985 269-276 Barnes ; RFIC CXII 1984 71-73 Ferrari ; Mnemosyne XL 1987 198-199 Verdenius]; “Sirius and the Pleiades in Alcman's Louvre Partheneion,” Mnemosyne 36 (1983) 260-75; “Dissonant Sympathy. Song, Orpheus and the Golden Age in Seneca's Tragedies,” Ramus 12 (1983) 229-51 = Seneca Tragicus. Ramus Essays on Senecan Drama, ed. A.J. Boyle (Berwick, Victoria, Australia: Aureal Publ., 1983) 229-51; “Kleos and Its Ironies in the Odyssey,” AC 52 (1983) 22-47; “Boundary Violation and the Landscape of the Self in Senecan Tragedy,” A&A 29 (1983) 172-87; “Greek Myth as a Semiotic and Structural System and the Problem of Tragedy,” Arethusa 16 (1983) 173-98; “The Trials at the End of Achilles Tatius' Clitophon and Leucippe. Doublets and Complementaries,” SIFC 2 (1984) 83-91; “Underreading and Intertextuality. Sappho, Simaetha and Odysseus in Theocritus' Second Idyll,” Arethusa 17 (1984) 201-09; “Senecan Baroque. The Death of Hippolytus in Seneca, Ovid, and Euripides,” TAPA 114 (1984) 311-25; “Running after Philinus. Theocritus, Idyll 2.114 ff.,” EClás 26, no. 87 (1984) 347-50; “Iopas Again,” Emerita 52 (1984) 77-82; “Classics and Comparative Literature,” MD 13 (1984) 9-21; “Scrittura, intertestualità e incesto nella Fedra di Seneca,” Mondo classico, percorsi possibili ed. F. di Baratta & F. Mariani (Ravenna: Longo, 1985) 233-241; “The Bacchae as Metatragedy,” Directions in Euripidean Criticism. A Collection of Essays, ed. P. Burian (Durham, NC: Duke U. Press, 1985) 156-73 [REVS: JHS CVI 1986 213 Collard ; LEC LIV 1986 193 Defossé ; RPh LXI 1987 308 Demont ; Orpheus X 1989 471-472 Citti ; Mnemosyne XLII 1989 170-173 Harder ; Lexis 1989 120-122 Tammaro]; “Tragedy, Orality, Literacy,” Oralità: cultura, letteratura, discorso: atti del convegno internazionale (Urbino 21-25 luglio 1980) ed. Bruno Gentili & Giuseppe Paioni (Roma: Ed. dell'Ateneo, 1985) 199-227;
     
    “Pyramus and Thisbe. Liebestod, Monument, and Metamorphosis in Ovid, Beroul, Shakespeare, and Some Others, AFLNice N° 50 (1985) 387-99; “Ovid. Metamorphoses, Hero, Poet,” Helios 12,1 (1985) 49-63; “Messages to the Underworld. An Aspect of Poetic Immortalization in Pindar,” AJP 106 (1985) 199-212; “Space, Time and Imagination in Theocritus' Second Idyll,” ClAnt 4 (1985) 103-19; “Time, Theater and Knowledge in the Tragedy of Oedipus,” Edipo. Il teatro greco e la cultura europea. Atti del convegno internazionale, Urbino 15-19 novembre 1982, ed. B. Gentili & R. Pretagostini (Roma: Ed. dell'Ateneo, 1986) 459-84; “War, Death and Savagery in Lucretius. The Beasts of Battle in 5.1308-49,” Ramus 15 (1986) 1-34; Language and Desire in Seneca's Phaedra (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Pr., 1986) [REVS: CB LXIII 1987 92-93 Motto ; LCM XII 1987 120-121 Henry ; LEC LV 1987 440-441 Filée ; DUJ XLVIII 1987 376-377 Jenkinson ; CB LXIII 1987 92 Motto & Clark ; CW LXXXI 1988 317-318 Rose ; AC LVII 1988 417 Knecht ; Maia XL 1988 326-327 Robertini ; Latomus XLVIII 1989 475 Stenuit ; Sandalion XII-XIII 1989-1990 268-270 Solimano ; REG CV 1992 302 S. Franchet d'Esperey ; Aevum 65 1991 183-187 F. Caviglia]; Conte G. B., The Rhetoric of Imitation. Genre and Poetic Memory in Virgil and Other Latin Poets, transl., ed. & with a foreword by Segal (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Pr., 1986); Pindar's Mythmaking. The Fourth Pythian Ode (Princeton, NJ: Princeton U. Press, 1986) [REVS: CR XXXVII 1987 141-142 Heath; G&R XXXIV 1987 214-215 Rutherford; LEC LV 1987 349 Bonnet; DUJ XLIX 1987 132-133 Rutherford; AJPh CIX 1988 256-259 Lidov; EMC XXXII 1988 61-65 Robbins; CW LXXXII 1988 67-68 Kovacs; JHS CVIII 1988 223-224 Koehnken; REG C 1987 515-516 Vernière; JCS XXXVIII 1990 89-91 Nishimura]; Interpreting Greek Tragedy. Myth, Poetry, Text (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Pr., 1986) [REVS: G&R XXXIV 1987 87 Rutherford; CB LXIV 1988 26-27 Leinieks; Helios XV 1988 63-72 Foley; CW LXXXI 1988 326-327 Sage; CR XXXVIII 1988 54-56 Buxton; AC LVI 1987 309-310 van Looy; DUJ L 1988-1989 145-146 Easterling; QUCC 1989 N° 60 149-150 Tedeschi; WS CIII 1990 259-260 Schwabl];  “Image and Action in Seneca's Phaedra. Five Motifs, III,” Filologia e forme letterarie. Studi offerti a Francesco della Corte (Urbino: Ed. Quattro Venti, 1987) 341-57; “Euripides' Bakchen. Die Sprache des Selbst und die Sprache der Mysterien,” Die wilde Seele. Zur Ethnopsychoanalyse von Georges Devereux ed. Hans Peter Duerr (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1987) 140-62; “Writer as Hero; The Heroic Ethos in Longinus, On the Sublime,” Stemmata. Mélanges de philologie, d'histoire et d'archéologie grecques offerts à Jules Labarbe, ed. Jean Servais, Tony Hackens & Brigitte Servais-Soyez (Liège; Louvain-la-Neuve, 1987) 207-17; “Alphesiboeus' Song and Simaetha's Magic; Virgil's Eighth Eclogue and Theocritus' Second Idyll,” GB 14 (1987) 167-85; La musique du sphinx. Poésie et structure dans la tragédie grecque (Paris: Ed. La découverte, 1987) [REVS: LEC LVI 1988 198 Bonnet; A&R XXXIII 1988 48-52 Citti; RFIC CXVI 1988 256 Bona; CGITA N° 4 1988 228-229 Ghiron-Bistagne; AC LVIII 1989 249-250 van Looy]; “Poetry, Performance, and Society in Early Greek Literature,” Lexis (1988) 123-44; “Vérité, tragédie et écriture,” Les savoirs de l'écriture. En Grèce ancienne, ed. Marcel Detienne (Lille: Pr. univ. de Lille, 1988) 330-58; “Theatre, Ritual and Commemoration in Euripides' Hippolytus,” Ramus 17 (1988) 52-74; “Confusion and Concealment in Euripides' Hippolytus. Vision, Hope, and Tragic Knowledge,” Métis 3 (1988) 263-82; Orpheus. The Myth of the Poet (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Pr., 1989) [REVS: DUJ LI 1990 108-109 Jenkinson ; CR XL 1990 497-498 Vessey ; JRS LXXX 1990 213 Kennedy ; AC LIX 1990 367-368 Tordeur ; Arcadia XXV 1990 196-197 Kytzler ; EMC XXXV 1991 360-362 Warden ; CW LXXXIV 1990-1991 242 Christ ; Vergilius XXXV 1989 149-151 Lee ; AAHG XLIV 1991 168-170 F. Graf ; CompLit XLIV 1992 312-314 Strauss ; RPh 64 1990 262-263 A. Novara. ; Habis 1991 22 : 468-469 Miguel Ángel R. Matellanes]; “Otium and Eros. Catullus, Sappho and Euripides’ Hippolytus,” Latomus 48 (1989) 817-22; “The Problem of the Gods in Euripides' Hecuba,” MD 22 (1989) 9-21; “Poetic Immortality and the Fear of Death. The Second Proem of the De rerum natura,” HSCP 92 (1989) 193-212; “Violence and the Others: Greek, Female, and Barbarian in Euripides' Hecuba,” TAPA 120 (1990) 109-31; “Golden Armor and Servile Robes: Heroism and Metamorphosis in Hecuba of Euripides,” AJP 111 (1990) 304-17; “Law and Universal in Euripides' Hecuba,” Sprachaspekte als Experiment. Beiträge zur Literaturkritik in Antike und Neuzeit, ed. Toivo Viljamaa, Siegfried Jaekel & Jurt Nyholm (Turku: Turun Yliopisto, 1989) 63-82; Lucretius on Death and Anxiety: Poetry and Philosophy in De rerum natura (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1990) [REVS: CR XLII 1992 299-300 Hardie ; AncPhil XII 1992 493-499 Long ; CW LXXXV 1991-1992 713-714 Evans ; JRS LXXXII 1992 246-247 Gale ; LEC LX 1992 93-94 B. Rochette ; BStudLat XXI 1991 333-335 L. Perelli ; AJPh 114 1993 166-169 W. Anderson ; Latomus 52 1993 691-692 F. Desbordes; JCS 40 1992 104-107 M. Fujitani; CPh 89 1994 87-91 D. Clay]; “Dido's Hesitation in Aeneid 4,” CW 84 (1990-1991) 1-12; “Sacrifice and Violence in the Myth of Meleager and Heracles: Homer, Bacchylides, Sophocles,” Helios 17 (1990) 7-24; “Violence and Dramatic Structure in Euripides' Hecuba,” Themes in Drama, XIII: Violence in Drama, ed. James Redmond (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1991) 35-46; Conte, Gian Biagio, Genres and Readers: Lucretius, Love Elegy, Pliny's “Encyclopedia” trans. Glenn W. Most; foreword by Charles Segal (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).

  • Notes:

    Charles Paul Segal, Walter C. Klein Professor of Classics at Harvard, was the most distinguished literary scholar of his generation of American classicists. His specialty—or better, his wide range of specialties—was the interpretation of Greek and Latin poetry and plays. His death from pancreatic cancer sadly diminishes the Classics profession. Segal attended the Boston Latin School and Harvard University where he graduated summa cum laude in Classics. Segal taught, well and influentially, at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Princeton, and Harvard. He received numerous fellowships and awards for study, and many Visiting Professorships, at home and abroad, especially in his beloved Paris and Rome. Among his signal honors, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies (1987-92), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992-3), and President of the American Philological Association (1994). Segal's output was prodigious: twenty-one books, plus innumerable articles and reviews, on Homer, Pindar and other Greek lyric poets, Sophocles and Euripides, Theocritus, Lucretius, Virgil, Ovid, and Seneca, and much, much more. If he wrote so extensively—I sometimes complained, after receiving a fresh sheaf of offprints, that he wrote faster than I could read—it was because, as scholar and teacher, he continued constantly and passionately to rethink, revise, and elaborate earlier ideas in the light of new discoveries and new theoretical approaches, circling back again and again to Sophocles' Oedipus plays or Euripides' Hippolytus and Bacchae, and moving on from P, Q, and R to V, W, and X when most people were still stuck somewhere around E, F, and G. His scholarship, for himself and his readers, was always an adventure. Segal's main interests were epic and drama, though he began with a 900-page dissertation on Democritus and the Sophists that should, in an ideally just university, have made him a full professor on the spot. His best-known books are Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles (1981; reissued, with corrections and new preface, 1999), and Dionysian Poetics and Euripides' Bacchae (1982; second edition, expanded, 1997); but many scholars have other personal favorites, such as Orpheus: The Myth of the Poet (1989), or Lucretius on Death and Anxiety (1990). Some books have been translated into French, Italian, and modern Greek. Segal's literary interpretations are eclectic, accretive, and balanced. He began with New Critical emphasis on patterns of language, imagery, and dramatic structure; but, like his gifted Harvard teachers, John Finley and Cedric Whitman, he “joined literary criticism to a full grasp of philological and historical issues” (Segal on Whitman, 1982). The inner spirit of his work, like theirs, owed much to the classical humanism of the great scholars of pre-Hitlerian Germany, most notably Werner Jaeger, who came to Harvard in 1937. In the Seventies he was much influenced by the French structuralists Marcel Detienne, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and especially Jean-Pierre Vernant; but he balanced their insights against those of Freud and Lacan ("Pentheus on the Couch and on the Grid"). His readings were always provisional, always open to new possibilities, new confluences of analysis. One reviewer called his Dionysiac Poetics “a discourse of extraordinary hospitality.” In the last two decades Segal drew judiciously on poststructuralism and narratology, genre studies and Bakhtin, gender studies and feminist scholarship. He heard the Sirens (Derrida, Lacan, Foucault) without ever surrendering his judgment, as others did, to anyone interpretive discourse or ideology, and without losing himself and his readers in the labyrinths of intertextuality, self-referentiality, and ecriture. His critical sophistication was balanced by a good teacher's insistence on making himself clear to readers, as to students. It was balanced, too, by a strong and very compassionate sensitivity to human suffering and pain. He wrote so powerfully: about the "Poetics of Sorrow"; about pain, desire, and grief; about "human vulnerability, mortality, and vicissitude"; about the frailties and deformations of the human body, mind, and soul, and the compensating (or not compensating?) triumphs of art—all brought together most powerfully in the study of Ovid's Metamorphoses that he was working on when he died. He was a heroic scholar, a courteous, affable teacher, a generously supportive colleague and friend, and a devoted husband and father.

  • Sources:

    APA Newsletter (October 2002) 16-17

  • Author: Kenneth J. Reckford