North American Scholar

WHITMAN, Cedric Hubbell

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1916-12-01
  • Born City: Providence
  • Born State/Country: RI
  • Parents: George Alfred & Muriel Hubbell W.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1979-06-05
  • Death City: Cambridge
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Ruth A. Bashein, 13 Oct. 1941; Anne Miller, 7 June 1959.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1943 (class of 1938); Ph.D., 1947; Robert Frost Fell. Breadloaf School of English, summer 1941.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. to prof, class. Harvard, 1947-66; F. R. Jones prof. Gk. lit., 1966-74; Eliot prof. Gk. lit., 1974-9; chair class, dept., 1960-6; ed. HSCP, 1957-64; adv. ed. Clio 1970-9; Goodwin Award, 1952; Christian Gauss Award (Phi Beta Kappa), 1958; Guggenheim fell., 1976-7; mem. AAAS, 1960-79; NEH grant, summ. 1969; APhS grant, 1970; mem. Acad. Lit. Stud., 1974-9.

  • Dissertation:

    "The Religious Humanism of Sophocles" (Harvard, 1947).

  • Publications:

    Orpheus and the Moon Craters (poems) (Middlebury, VT, 1941); “The Religious Humanism of Sophocles,” HSCP 58-59 (1948) 228-231; Sophocles. A Study of Heroic Humanism (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press; Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1951) REVS: Gnomon XXIV 1952 109-110 Lucas | CW XLVI 1952 38-39 Getty | Traditio VIII 1952 435-441 Callahan | CP XLVIII 1953 56-58 Else | CB XXIX 1953 35 Finch | AJP LXXIV 1953 168-174 Norwood | Phoenix VII 1953 40-42 Kirkwood | CR n.s. III 1953 150-152 Fitton Brown | JHS LXXIII 1953 150-151 Hartley | CW XLVII 1954 118 & 123 Helmbold; Homer and the Heroic Tradition (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1958). REVS: CW LII 1958 15 Duckworth | JCS VII 1959 166-169 Kubo [in Japanese] | AJP LXXX 1959 440-445 McKay | CB XXXV 1959 57 Rexine | CJ LIV 1959 232-234 Armstrong | CP LIV 1959 276-277 Blaiklock | SicGymn XII 1959 106-109 Cataudella | CR IX 1959 229-231 Davison | JHS LXXX 1960 200-202 Stanford | CompLit XII 1960 159-160 Combellack | Erasmus XIV 1961 687-691 Leumann; Aristophanes and the Comic Hero, Martin Class. Lect. XIX (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1964). REVS: CW LVIII 1964 120 Osmun | AC XXXIV 1965 225 Schwartz | Gnomon XXXVII 1965 618-620 Austin | Hermathena CI 1965 66-67 Stanford | Phoenix XIX 1965 314-323 Herington | CB XLII 1965 13 Hinton | CR XVI 1966 159-161 Dover | AJP LXXXVII 1966 111-113 Stow | JHS LXXXVI 1966 182-183 Dunbar | Arion V 1966 99-119 Stewart | REA LXVIII 1966 141-143 Orsini | RP XL 1966 124-125 Weil | CP LXII 1967 66-67 Lever | Eos LV 1965 386 Komornicka | CB XLIII 1967 63-64 Rexine | AAHG XXIV 1971 167-169 Kraus; “Two Passages in the Ion of Euripides,” CP 59 (1964) 257-59; Abelard (narrative poem) (Cambridge, 1965); “ΛΗΚΥΘΙΟΝ ΑΠΩΛΕΣΕΝ,” HSCP 73 (1969) 109-12; “Hera's Anvils,” HSCP 74 (1970) 37-42; “Existentialism and the Classic Hero” in Das Altertum und jedes neue Gute. Festschrift für Wolfgang Schadewaldt zum 15.3.1970, ed. K. Gaiser (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1970) 99-115; “Sophocles, Ajax 815-824,” HSCP 78 (1974) 67-69; Euripides and the Full Circle of Myth (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1974) REVS: TLS LXXIV 1975 919 Taplin | CW LXIX 1976 464-465 Schein | G&R XXIII 1976 84 Bulloch | Arion III 96-113 Burian; “Sequence and Simultaneity in Iliad N, Ξ, and O,” with R. Scodel, HSCP 75 (1981) 1-15; Callimachus, Aetia, Iambi, Lyric Poems, Hecale, Minor Epic and Elegiac Poems, and Other Fragments; Musaeus, Hero and Leander / Hecale ed., transl. & notes by C.A. Trypanis, Musaeus transl. by Whitman; ed. & notes by T. Gelzer (Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1975) REVS: G&R XXIII 1976 84-85 Bulloch | AC XLV 1976 252-254 Nachtergael ; CW LXXI 1977 142-144 Tarán | Maia XXVIII 1976 152-160 Livrea ; AAHG XXXIII 1980 162-165 Herter; Fifteen Odes of Horace (trans.) (Lunenburg, VT: privately published, 1980) REVS: AJP CIII 1982 224 Luck; The Heroic Paradox. Essays on Homer, Sophocles, and Aristophanes, ed. with an introd. & comm. by C. Segal (Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 1982) REVS: TLS LXXXII 1983 628 Lloyd-Jones | CB LX 1984 19-20 Rexine | CO LXII 1984-1985 70 Fredericks | CompLit XXXVII 1985 269-276 Barnes; Chocorua and Other Poems (Dublin, NH, 1982).

  • Notes:

    Cedric H. Whitman's higher education and professional life were all spent at Harvard. He was very selective in the very few professional organizations to which he belonged and through which he also exercised a profound influence on the interpretation of key Greek authors. His love of Greece and Greek literature was deep and continuing. The fact that Whitman's scholarly contributions were quickly and nationally recognized early in his career is a clear indication of his genius. The Goodwin Award for Sophocles: A Study of Heroic Humanism and the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Prize in Literary Criticism in 1958 for Homer and the Heroic Tradition are ample evidence. He received grants for study of the Modern Greek Shadow Theater from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society.Whitman was a quiet, unassuming, gentle person, who taught without ostentation at his alma mater till his untimely death. He had thorough grounding in traditional classical philology but he was also conversant with modern literary criticism and was familiar with the discoveries of classical archaeology. He applied new critical ideas to the interpretation of major authors like Homer, Sophocles, and Euripides in a way that "made it possible for American classicists to approach formula and simile with a new sensitivity to imagery, symbolism, and formal design" and "the depth, elegance, and wealth of detail with which he studied the authors gave his work a definitiveness and an authority unattainable by more narrowly focused studies or individual articles" (Charles P. Segal). Whitman was repeatedly concerned with the theme of alienation and the concern for the problem of living the authentic life—always focusing on the individual's humanity and how this relates to society, including knowledge of human suffering and human nobility in overcoming the tragedy inherent in that suffering. Whitman was a classical humanist of the first order, ail* practicing poet, and a superb human being.

  • Sources:

    DAS 82:563; John H. Finley, Emily D. T. Vermeule, Robert S. Fitzgerald, A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Cedric Hubbell Whitman (Cambridge, 1979); The Heroic Paradox: Essays on Homer, Sophocles, and Aristophanes, ed. Charles Segal (Ithaca, NY, 1982) and H. Lloyd-Jones' rev., TLS (17 June 1983) 628.

  • Author: John E. Rexine