North American Scholar

SULLIVAN, John Patrick

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1930-07-13
  • Born City: Liverpool
  • Born State/Country: England
  • Parents: Daniel, a stevedore, & Alice Long S.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1993-04-09
  • Death City: Santa Barbara
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Mary Frances Rock, 16 July 1954; Judith Patrice Eldridge, 7 Apr. 1967; Judith Lee Godfrey, 21 Apr. 1973.
  • Education:

    B.A. Cambridge (St. John's Coll.), 1955; M.A., 1957; B.A. Oxford, 1954; M.A., 1957.

  • Professional Experience:

    Jr. res. fell. Queen's Coll., Oxford, 1954; fell., tutor class. Lincoln Coll., 1955-62; dean, 1960-1; vis. prof, class. U. Texas, 1961-2; asso. prof. 1961-3; prof. class., 1963-9; chair dept., 1963-5; sr. fell. NEH, 1967-8; prof, arts & letts. SUNY Buffalo, 1969-78; provost arts & letts., 1972-5; prof, class. U. California, Santa Barbara, 1978-93; vis. fell. Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1975-6; vis. prof. U. Hawaii, 1977; Martin lctr. Oberlin Coll., 1976; Grey lctr. Cambridge, 1978; vis. fell. Wolfson Coll., Oxford, 1981; vis. prof, class. U. Minnesota, 1982; Guggenheim fell., 1984; ed. Arethusa, 1971-5.

  • Publications:

    "The Hedonism in Plato's Protagoras," Phronesis 6 (1961) 10-28; "Propertius 11,29,38," CQ 11 (1961) 1-2; "Castas odisse puellas. A Reconsideration of Propertius 1,1," WS 74 (1961) 96-112; "Two Problems in Roman Love-Elegy," TAPA 92 (1961) 522-36; "Petronius 114,3," with S. Humphreys, Latomus 21 (1962) 372-3; "Pound's Homage to Propertius," Essays in Criticism 10 (1960) 239-49; "The Poet as Translator. Ezra Pound and Sextus Propertius," Kenyon Review 23 (1961) 462-81; Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Elegy and Lyric (ed.) (London, 1962); "Lord Macaulay on Classics and Classicists," Arion 1,4 (1962) 4-16; "Cynthia prima fuit: A Causerie," Arion 2,3 (1962) 34-44; Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Satire (London, 1963 & Bloomington, 1968); "The Leading Classic of his Generation," with K. A. Rockwell, Arion 2,4 (1963) 113-22; Ezra Pound and Sextus Propertius: A Study in Creative Translation (Austin, TX, 1964); "Ezra Pound on Classics and Classicists," Arion 3,1 (1964) 9-22; "Ezra Pound as a Latin Translator," Arion 3,3 (1964) 100-111; The Satyricon of Petronius (trans.) (Harmondsworth, 1965; rev. ed. with Seneca, Apocolocyntosis [orig. publ. Arion 5 (1966) 378-99], 1977); "Sydney Smith on Classics and Classicists," Arion 4 (1965) 167-79; "A Theory of Classical Education," Didaskalos 2 (1966) 3-14; "Propertius: A Preliminary Essay," Arion 5 (1966) 5-22; "Alexander Pope on Classics and Classicists," ibid., 235-53; "Sir Richard Fanshawe's Bellum Civile," (ed.) ibid., 359-77; "Petronius: Artist or Moralist?," Arion 6 (1967) 71-88; The Satyricon of Petronius: A Literary Study (Bloomington, 1968; Ital. trans, by I. Labriola [Florence, 1977]); "Trimalchio's Zodiac Dish: Petronius Sat. 35.1-5," with K. F. C. Rose, CQ 18 (1968) 180-4; "Petronius, Seneca and Lucan: A Neronian Literary Feud?," TAPA 99 (1968) 453-67; Ezra Pound: A Critical Anthology (ed.) (Harmondsworth, 1970); "Textual Notes on Petronius," CQ 20 (1970) 188-90; "Petronius and His Modern Critics," BR 19 (1971) 107-24; "In Defense of Persius," Ramus 1 (1972) 48-62; "The Politics of Elegy," Arethusa 5 (1972) 17-34; "Interpolations in Petronius," PCPS 22 (1976) 90-122; Propertius: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge, 1976); "Ass's Ears and Attises: Persius and Nero," AJP 99 (1978) 159-70; "Petron in der neueren Forschung," Helikon 17 (1977) 137-54; "Horace and Propertius: Another Literary Feud?," StudClas 18 (1978) 81-92; "Martial's Sexual Attitudes," Philologus 123 (1979) 288-302; "Lady Chatterley in Rome," Pacific Coast Philology 15 (1980) 53-62; "Synchronic and Diachronic Aspects of Some Related Poems of Martial," in Contemporary Literary Hermeneutics and Interpretation of Classical Texts, ed. S. Kresic (Ottawa, 1981), 215-25; "Petronius' Bellum Civile and Lucan's Pharsalia: A Political Reconsideration," in Neronia 1977, ed. J. M. Croiselle & P. M. Fauchdre (Clermont, 1980), 151-4; "Die antike Satire," in Propyl&en-Geschichte der Litteratur, ed. E. Wischer (Berlin, 1981), 389-408; "Propertius Book IV: Themes and Structure," ICS 9 (1984) 30-4; Women in the Ancient World. The Arethusa Papers, ed. with J. Peradotto (Albany, 1984); "Petronius' Satyricon and Its Neronian Context," ANRW 11,32,3 (1985) 1666-86; Literature and Politics in the Age of Nero (Ithaca, 1985); "Literature, Patronage and Politics: Nero to Nerva," Studies in Memory of Karl K. Hulley, ed. H. D. Evjen (Chico, CA, 1984), 151-80; Epigrams of Martial Englished by Various Hands, ed. with P. Whigham (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1987); "Martial," Ramus 16 (1987) 177-91; "Martial's Apologia pro opere suo," in Filologia e forme let-terarie. Studi offerti a Francesco della Corte (Urbino, 1987), 4:31-42; "Martial's 'Witty Conceits': Some Technical Observations," ICS 14 (1989) 185-99; "Martial's Satiric Epigrams," in Homo Viator. Classical Essays for John Bramble, ed. M. Whitney et al. (Bristol, 1987), 259-65; "Recent Structural and Post-Structural Studies on Propertius," AugAge 9 (1989) 37-41; Martial: The Unexpected Classic: A Literary and Historical Study (Cambridge, 1992); Roman Poets of the Early Empire, trans, with A. J. Boyle (New York, 1992); Martial (ed.) (New York & London, 1993).

  • Notes:

    J. P. Sullivan was a leading critic of Latin literature during the period when modern literary criticism of ancient Latin texts came into its own. Born in Liverpool, of which he remained intensely proud, Sullivan was the first member of his family to attend university. He studied at Cambridge, where he studied Greek philosophy under Renford Bambrough and made a double first in the Tripos, and Oxford, where his interest turned to Latin literature, specifically Propertius, Propertius, and martial. He was fellow of Queen's College and Lincoln College, Oxford, before he moved to the United States. During the 1960s at the University of Texas he participated in founding and editing Arion, an influential, iconoclastic "journal of imaginative criticism of the classics," and also assembled two important collections of critical writing on Latin literature (Critical Essays on Roman Literature: Elegy and Lyric; Satire) which stimulated much fresh inquiry in the field thanks to Sullivan's use of methods used by anthropologists. At SUNY-Buffalo in the next decade he similarly fostered newer approaches to the classics in the periodical Arethusa; under his editorship the journal inaugurated its longstanding practice of publishing special issues with the numbers "Politics and Art in Augustan Literature," followed by "Women in Antiquity" and "Psychoanalysis and the Classics." Sullivan's editorial labors continued throughout his career, including from the later period at UC-Santa Barbara anthologies of criticism on and translations of Martial. Sullivan's own major studies are his books on Petronius, Propertius, and Martial. Each aims to serve as an overview or general introduction to the ancient author and is written for scholar and non-specialist reader alike. T.S. Eliot suggested he write Ezra Pound and Sextus Propertius and published (through Faber and faber) Sullivan's The Satyricon of Petronius: A Literary Study, which marked the turning point in literary analysis of the work, not least because of its provocative Freudian approach to the sexual themes. Martial: The Unexpected Classic, Sullivan's synoptic treatment of a neglected poet, will perhaps be his most enduring scholarly achievement. Sullivan was also an accomplished translator of Latin literature, a poet, and a lifelong student of the reception of classical authors in modern literature. His writings always reflect the relationship of the classics to the broader literary culture at the same time that they seek to expand the range of questions that serious readers ask (or should ask) about classical culture.

  • Sources:

    A. J. Boyle, APA Newsletter (June 1993) 10; G. Schmeling, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; The Independent (14 April 1993); The Times (London) (17 April 1993); A.J. Boyle, "John Patrick Sullivan," in Roman Literature snd Ideology, ed. A.J. Boyle (1995) 6-23;  WhWh 1986-7:2720.

    Image: Courtesy, University Archives, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

  • Author: John F. Miller