North American Scholar


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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1857-08-03
  • Born City: Davenport
  • Born State/Country: IA
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1934-04-24
  • Death City: Chicago
  • Death State/Country: IL
  • Married: Emma Large Gilbert, June 1895.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1878; studied law, 1878-80; study at Leipzig, 1881-2; Bonn, 1882; ASCSA 1882-3; Ph.D. Munich, 1884; LL.D., Iowa Coll., 1905; U. Missouri, 1913; Johns Hopkins, 1915; U. Michigan, 1915; U. Colorado, 1917; Princeton, 1920; U. Pennsylvania, 1921; Litt.D., U. Wisconsin, 1911; Brown, 1914; Harvard, 1925; D. Lettres & Philos. U. Liege (Belgium), 1924.

  • Professional Experience:

    Adm. to Illinois Bar, 1880; prof. Lat. & philos. Bryn Mawr, 1885-92; prof. Gk. U. Chicago, 1892-1927; head class, dept., 1896-1927; ann. asso. dir. ASCSA, 1901-2; ed. CP, 1908-34; pres. APA, 1909-10; Turnbull lctr. (Johns Hopkins), 1912; Martin lctr. (Harvard), 1912; Roosevelt Exchange Prof. Berlin, 1913-4; Harris lctr. Northwestern, 1916; Sather prof., 1916, 1919, 1928; Lowell Inst. lctr. (Boston), 1916; Martin lctr. (Oberlin), 1930; mem. NIAL; AAAL, 1915-34.

  • Dissertation:

    "De Platonis idearum doctrina atque mentis humanae notionibus commentatio" (Munich, 1884); printed Selected Papers, 253-313; trans. "A Dissertation on Plato's Theory of Forms and on the Concepts of the Human Mind" by R. S. W. Hawtrey, with preface by R. K. Sprague, Ancient Philosophy 2 (1982) 1-59.

  • Publications:

    "On the Implicit Ethics and Psychology of Thucydides," TAPA 24 (1893) 66-68; "The Idea of the Good in Plato's Republic," University of Chicago Studies in Classical Philology 1 (1895) 214-215; Horace. Odes and Epodes (Boston, 1898; rev. with G. J. Laing, 1910); The Unity of Plato's Thought (Chicago, 1903; repr. New York, 1968; New York, 1980); "Choriambic Dimeter and the Rehabilitation of the Antispast," TAPA 38 (1907) 57-88; "The Case for the Classics," School Review 18 (1910) 585-617; "American Scholarship," Nation 92, no. 2393 (11 May 1911) 466-9; review of White's Verse of Greek Comedy, CP 8 (1913) 99-104; "The Assault on Humanism," Atlantic Monthly 119 (June 1917) 793-801; ibid. 120 (July 1917) 94-105 (published separately as an Atlantic Monograph in 1917); "Fifty Years of Classical Studies in America," TAPA 50 (1919) 33-61; review of Wilamowitz' Griechische Verskunst, CP 17 (1922) 150-3; "The Issue in Greek Metric," CP 19 (1924) 169-74; The Creative Intelligence and Modern Life (Boulder, CO, 1928); "Evolution: A Conservative's Apology," Atlantic Monthly 142 (October 1928) 475-88; What Plato Said (Chicago, 1933); Plato. The Republic (trans.), LCL, 2 vols. (Cambridge & London, 1930 and 1935); Platonism Ancient and Modern (Berkeley, 1938); Selected Papers, ed. Leonardo Taran, 2 vols. (New York, 1980).

  • Notes:

    Paul Shorey was a proponent of a famous theory of Plato's development, managing editor of Classical Philology, an able and influential theorist and practitioner of Greek and Latin pedagogy, and a well-known social and cultural conservative. Born to progressive parents and raised a progressive, Shorey returned from his undergraduate studies at Harvard a conservative and a Platonist (1878). After a brief stint at the Illinois bar, he studied classics at the ASCSA and in Germany, whence he emerged with a Munich dissertation (recently published with English translation). After teaching at the prestigious women's college Bryn Mawr, he was called as first professor of Greek at William Rainey Harper's new University of Chicago. (His father sat on the Board of Trustees.) Shorey became one of the most influential figures in American classics. His theory of "the unity of Plato's thought" denied that Plato's thinking evolved to any significant degree, as the obvious changes in his style might indicate. Shorey threw down the gauntlet to the central tool of modern Platonic analysis from Lewis Campbell to Wilamowitz, one that is still orthodoxy today. Often ignored in his own day, scorned by German scholarship (Wilamowitz kept him from teaching the Republic in Berlin), Shorey has won occasional adherents, including Hans von Arnim and Werner Jaeger. The continued re-printing of his monograph and the recent appearance of his minor writings indicate the viability of his ideas. Shorey used his position as managing editor of Classical Philology to challenge the German-dominated status quo in other areas. He kept up a steady stream of attacks on the "New Metrics" of Wilamowitz and Maas and encouraged John Adams Scott of nearby Northwestern University to publish a series of attacks on Homeric analysis which culminated in Scott's influential The Unity of Homer (1921). Classical Philology published significant German and pro-German scholarship as well as English and pro-English work. Before his appointment as Roosevelt Visiting Professor in Berlin, Shorey published a broadside against German Wissenschaft and Kultur in the "Nation," which was edited by Paul Elmer More, then well on his way to becoming a distinguished anti-German American nationalist and conservative. (More's own work on Plato and The Greek Tradition from Socrates to the Council of Chalcedon appeared after World War I and met a lukewarm reception from Shorey.) Shorey took an active role in public issues. He favored American entry into World War I and defended William Jennings Bryan and his attitudes toward evolution. He often defended the position of Greek and Latin in the curriculum from the attacks of reformers. In "The Assault on Humanism," he predicted that the decline of Latin (which did not occur until the 1960s) would soon be followed by an attack on the teaching of the Great Books of modern European and American literature. (He was right.) Paul Shorey helped create the study of classical antiquity in the United States for good and for ill. His graduate program was one of the first serious successors to Gildersleeve's program at Johns Hopkins. Classical Philology remains a prestigious scholarly journal. Homeric unitarianism is widely accepted in English-speaking countries. Latin survived and prospered in American high schools for a generation after Shorey's death. Among Shorey's many graduate students, one, George Norlin, was a decisive influence in the development of the University of Colorado; another, Harold Cherniss, won the international reputation Shorey never enjoyed, often defending Shorey's views. Many of Shorey's writings are still in print: What Plato Said, his Loeb translation of Plato's Republic, his dissertation, his minor writings, and his essay on "The Unity of Plato's Thought.'' Although obsessively convinced of his own unpopularity and lack of influence, Paul Shorey is still a presence in contemporary American classical studies and classical philology.

  • Sources:

    R. J. Bonner, CJ 29 (1933-4) 641-3; CJ 31 (1935-6) 2; CP 29 (1935) 185-8; A. Dies, "Un platonisant d'Am6rique: Paul Shorey," BAGB 24 (1929) 1-21; E. Christian Kopff, "Wilamowitz and Classical Philology in the USA: An Interpretation," in Wilamowitz Nach 50 Jahren, ed. H. Flashar et al. (Darmstadt 1985), 558-80, esp. 569-76; idem, "Paul Shorey," Classical Scholarship: A Biographical Encyclopedia, ed. Ward W. Briggs & William M. Calder III (New York, 1990), 447-53; Gordon J. Laing, "Paul Shorey," DAB 9 (1935-1936), 125-6; John Francis Latimer, "Paul Shorey: A Bibliography of his Classical Publications," CP 81 (1986) 1-31 (Latimer numbers Shorey's total publications at 833); George Norlin, "Paul Shorey—The Teacher," ibid., 188-91; Emily James Putnam, Atlantic Monthly 161 (June 1938) 795-804; see also Atlantic Monthly 142 (Oct. 1928) 475-6.

  • Author: E. Christian Kopff