North American Scholar

WINSPEAR, Alban Dewes

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1899-01-14
  • Born City: Birmingham
  • Born State/Country: England
  • Parents: William Willan & Ann Jane Dewes W.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1973-10-30
  • Death City: Calgary
  • Death State/Country: AB
  • Married: Frances Mary Bullock, 16 Sept. 1926.
  • Education:

    B.A. Queen's U. (Kingston, ON), 1923; B.A. Oxford (Corpus Christi Coll.) (Rhodes Scholar), 1926; M.A., 1930.

  • Professional Experience:

    Lctr. class. Queen's U., 1926-7; asst. prof, to prof. U. Wisconsin, 1927-42; vis. prof, class. Swarthmore, 1936-7; djr. Abraham Lincoln Sch. (Chicago), 1942-5; hdmstr., North Shore Coll. (Vancouver, BC), 1949-56; lctr. to prof, class. & philos. U. Calgary, 1957-70; res. asso. 1971-3; sr. fell. Canadian Council, 1967-8.

  • Publications:

    Augustus and the Reconstruction of Roman Government and Society, with L. K. Geweke (Madison, 1931); Who Was Socrates?, with T. Silverberg (New York, 1939); The Genesis of Plato's Thought (New York, 1940); "Selections from Titus Lucretius Carus On the Nature of Things" in Classics in Translation, 2:60-84; The Poet of Roman Science: Titus Lucretius Carus: De Rerum Natura (New York, 1956); Lucretius and Scientific Thought (Montreal, 1963); Realtà di Socrate, with T. Silverberg (Urbino, 1965); "The Computer and Plato's Seventh Letter," with A. Q. Morton, CHum 1 (1966-7) 72-3; "The Seventh Letter of Plato," with A. Q. Morton & M. Levison, Mind 11 (1968) 309-25; It's Greek to the Computer, with A. Q. Morton (Montreal, 1971).

  • Notes:

    Alban Winspear is perhaps best remembered for his lively interpretations of Socrates and Plato in terms of the political values prevailing in the 1930s. Late in his career he also developed a pioneering enthusiasm for the stylometric applications of computers.At Wisconsin he developed a highly successful course in classical humanities, and among his doctoral candidates numbered Norman O. Brown. The left-wing political values evident in his work on Socrates and Plato were reflected in his resignation from Wisconsin in 1944 to head the Abraham Lincoln School for Workers in Chicago, an institute supported by labor organizations. He subsequently ran a private school in Vancouver before returning to university life in 1957 as the founding head of the Department of Classics at the University of Calgary, where he taught until 1970. In the last decade of his life he conducted tours of the Aegean aboard the motor yacht Lysistrata.

  • Sources:

    ConAu 45:647; DAS 74:507; biog. material in Division of Archives, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and in University Archives, MacKimmie Library, University of Calgary.

  • Author: Robert B. Todd