B.A. U. Manitoba, 1940; A.M. Harvard, 1942; Ph.D., 1944.
Lctr. to prof, class. University Coll. U. Toronto, 1945-84; head dept. class., 1958-66; fell. RSC, 1975; pres. Soc. Anc. Gk. Phil., 1965-6; pres. CAC, 1974-6.
"Quomodo risu ridiculoque Graeci usi sint" (Harvard, 1944).
"The Seal of Theognis," Studies Norwood, 20-41; "Simonides on dperij," TAPA 84 (1953) 135-63; "Parmenides on Names," HSCP 63 (1958) (= Studies Jaeger) 145-60; "The Date and Atheism of Diagoras of Melos," Phoenix 19 (1965) 178-211; "Equinox at Acragas: Pindar, Ol. 2.61-62," TAPA 97 (1966) 597-616; "Helen and the Palinode," Phoenix 21 (1967) 157-76; "Apollo's First Love: Pindar Pyth 9.26ff.," TAPA 103 (1972) 561-73; "Socrates and the Daughters of Aristides," Phoenix 27 (1973) 7-25; "Neoptolemus at Delphi: Pindar, Nem. 7.30ff.," Phoenix 33 (1979) 95-133; "Gold Hair and Grey, or The Game of Love: Anacreon Fr. 13 358 PMG, 13 Gentili," TAPA 109 (1979) 277-87; "Strepsiades' Understanding: Five Notes on the Clouds,'' Phoenix 34 (1980) 108-27; "Anaxagoras and Athens," Phoenix 35 (1981) 295-315; "The Victor's Virtues: Pindar, Isthm. 1.32ff.," TAPA 111 (1981) 237-56; "Cyrene and the τελευτά of Marriage in Pindar's Ninth Pythian Ode," TAPA 112 (1982) 245-58; "Ibycus and Polycrates," Phoenix 39 (1985) 193-220; "Parmenides on Naming by Mortal Men: 25 B 8.53-56 VS," Ancient Philosophy 6 (1986) 1-13; "The Judgment of Dionysus: Books, Taste, and Teaching in the Frogs," Studies Conacher, 241-57; "The Poetry of Tongue and of Phren in the Frogs," Language and the Tragic Hero: Essays on Greek Tragedy in Honor of Gordon M. Kirkwood, ed. Pietro Pucci (Atlanta, 1988), 175-85; further articles and reviews on Greek poetry and philosophy, all reprinted in Leonard E. Woodbury: Collected Writings, ed. C. G. Brown, R. L. Fowler, E. I. Robbins, P. M. Wallace Matheson (Atlanta, 1991).
Woodbury's life as scholar, critic, and teacher was deeply influential, above all in Canada. From Werner Jaeger at Harvard he early acquired an interest in Geistesgeschichte which became the dominant thread in his studies of early Greek poetry and philosophy. Special interests included the pre-Socratic philosophers, and above all Pindar (of whom his work is of primary importance). Striving to articulate the meaning of key terms in Greek thought, he sought conceptual links between literature and history, and again between philosophy and literature, in the Archaic and early Classical periods. On his retirement in 1984 he was presented with Greek Poetry and Philosophy: Studies in Honour of Leonard Woodbury, edited by his former pupil D. E. Gerber (1984). The effectiveness of his teaching was also marked by the endowment, in University College, of a research fellowship for graduate students in classics, and the establishment of a collection of books and research material (based initially on his own) at the Department of Classics, University of Toronto. His qualities as a director of students' research were outstanding. He had in a high degree the gift of imparting enthusiasm for his chosen topics of study, and of communicating in the process his own rigorous standards of exactitude in thought and expression.
CanWW 1985:1333; DAS 1982:574; family reminiscence; R. L. Fowler, Ontario Classical Assn. Newsletter (Oct. 1986) 4; minutes, dept. class. U. Toronto (26 Mar. 1986); PRSC 5 (1986) 355-7; WhAm 9:387.
AUTHORD. F. S. Thomson