North American Scholar
WRIGHT, Emily Wilmer Cave France
Girton Coll. Cambridge, 1888-92; study at Bryn Mawr, 1892-3; Ph.D. U. Chicago, 1895.
- Professional Experience:
Reader class. Bryn Mawr, 1897-8; asso. prof. Gk., 1899-1903; writing & tutoring, 1903-5; asso. prof, to prof. Gk., 1905-33.
"The Emperor Julian's Relation to the New Sophistic and Neo-Platonism: With a Study of His Style" (Chicago, 1895); printed (London, 1896).
A Short History of Greek Literature from Homer to Julian (New York, 1907); Julian (trans.), LCL, 3 vols. (Cambridge & London, vols. 1 & 2, 1913; vol. 3, 1923); Philostratus and Eunapius: the Lives of the Sophists (trans.), LCL (Cambridge & London, 1922); Hieronymi Fracastorii de contagione et contagiosis morbis et eorum curatione, libri Hi with translation & notes (New York, 1930); De morbis artificum Bernardini Ramazini diatriba. Latin text of 1913 revised, with translation and notes (Chicago, 1940); Lancisi, Giovanni Maria: de aneurysmatibus, opus posthumum. Latin text of Rome, 1745, revised with translation & notes (New York, 1952); Bernardino Ramazzini, De Morbis Typographorum, (trans.), intro. by Malcolm Harrington (Birmingham, Eng., 1989).
Wilmer Cave Wright, teacher and translator of late Greek philosophy and Latin medical treatises, came to Bryn Mawr College to study with Paul Shorey. When he left for Chicago a year later, she followed him and took her Ph.D. there. Miss France, as she was then, returned to Bryn Mawr College and it was during her early years there that she wrote and published her first book, A Short History of Greek Literature from Homer to Julian. It was in connection with this that Gilbert Murray wrote her in 1909 to commend what he termed her "intimate knowledge of all the fourth-century literature" (meaning, of course, not the fourth century B.C. of Demosthenes and Plato, but the Christian fourth century of Julian and the neo-Platonists) and added, "I devoutly wish I knew it as well!"During the decade from 1913 to 1923 the now Wilmer Cave Wright (after her marriage to a fellow faculty member, J. Edmund Wright) translated for the Loeb Library three volumes of the works of Julian. Equally impressive is the translation of Philostratus and Eunapius, The Lives of the Sophists. Even before her retirement from Bryn Mawr in 1933 she had begun to work with Latin medical texts, publishing a translation of Fracastoro's Contagious Diseases in 1930. After her retirement she continued that work right up to her death. As one junior colleague, Rhys Carpenter, wrote: "Although she loved the recondite, she never admired mere erudition." Her personal style was also the subject of admiration. A biographical note in De Morbis Typographorum reads: "She maintained a staunchly English air throughout her life coupled with a love of heavy jewellery. Even in her eighties her students and colleagues likened her to 'Pallas Athena herself, walking the earth with a proud look and a clank of silver'."
Girton Coll. Register 1896-1946 (Cambridge, Eng., 1948) 50; Isis 43 (1952) 368; NYTimes (17 Nov. 1951) 17; Sch. & Soc. 74 (24 Nov. 1951) 335; Wilson Lib. Bull. (26 Jan. 1952) 360.
- Author: Mabel L. Lang