All Scholars

MANKIN, David Phillip

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  • Date of Birth: June 16, 1957
  • Born City: Queens
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: Henry Jay, chief of orthopedics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School & Carole Jane Pinkney M.
  • Date of Death: April 24, 2019
  • Death City: Ithaca
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1979; Ph.D. Virginia, 1985.

  • Dissertation:

    “The Epodes of Horace and Archilochean Iambus. A Preliminary Study” (Virginia, 1985).

  • Professional Experience:

    Postdoctoral fell., Cornell, 1985-8; asst. prof. classics, 1988-1994; asso. Prof.1994-2018; Paramount Professor Award, Cornell, 1993; Clark Distinguished Teaching Award, 1993.

  • Publications:

    “Lucilius and Archilochus. Fragment 698 (Marx),” AJP 108 (1987) 405-8; “The Addressee of Virgil's Eighth Eclogue. A Reconsideration,” Hermes 116 (1988) 63-76; “Achilles in Horace's 13th Epode,” WS 102 (1989) 133-40; “C. 3.14: How private is Horace's Party?” RhM 135 (1992) 378-81; Horace Epodes (ed.) (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge U. Press, 1995). REVS.: BMCR 7:6 (1996) 544-8 Bannon | Gnomon, 71:4 (1999) 370 Barchiesi | Latomus, 56:3 (1997) 630-1 Bradshaw | RPh 69:1 (1995) 169-185 Liberman |  LEC  64:3 (1996) 305 Maleuvre |  CJ 92:1 (1997) 86-8 Putnam | LAC 66 (1997) 444-5 Tordeur | CR N. S., 48:2 (1998) 305-7 Woodman; Cicero De oratore. Book 3 (ed.) (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge U. Press, 2011). REVS: BMCR 10 (2011) n.p. Dyck | Mnemosyne Ser. 4, 65:4-5 (2012) 828-831 Fantham | JRS 102 (2012) 376-378 Tempesta | Gnomon, 87:8 (2015) 706-11 Wisse; Horace Satires, ed. John Svarlien, notes by Mankin (Hackett, 2012).

  • Notes:

    David Mankin was born in Queens, grew up in Pittsburgh, Scarsdale, NY, and Boston He attended the Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge MA. At Virginia he worked with Jenny Strauss Clay who remained a confidante and influence for the rest of his life.  At a time when views of Archilochus and ancient iambus were undergoing crucial changes, Mankin’s dissertation on Horace’s Epodes demonstrated Horace’s recuperation and reinvigoration of the archaic Greek genre for a Roman audience in particularly turbulent times. Mankin further developed his engagement with the Epodes in his “Green and Yellow” commentary, which bore flashes of his sense of humor. His love of Horace led to several articles on the Odes, most notably on 3.14 and its abrupt transitions.  Mankin’s second commentary for the same Cambridge series on Cicero’s De Oratore 3 made this sophisticated and difficult philosophical and rhetorical work accessible to students while contributing to the philological study of Latin prose rhythm and style, but leavened by sprinklings of jokes, puns, and references to popular culture. These qualities were also the hallmark of his legendary Mythology course (Classics 2064), which he taught for almost thirty years, to which students flocked; the lucky ones got in. He was able to illustrate points from antiquity with allusions to his vast knowledge of popular culture from movies to comic books to poetry. His classes were filled with laughter because he loved teaching, particularly undergraduates.  and believed that learning as well as teaching  should be fun.  His devotion to teaching, his warmth, and generosity was reciprocated by his students. He won Cornell’s highest teaching award in 1991.  As  Cornell’s President Hunter Rawlings IV summed up: “Dave Mankin’s knowledge of Latin authors and scholarship was superb, and he was strongly committed to undergraduate teaching; students took his classes in droves, and recommended them to their friends. In this era of declining enrollments in humanities courses, Dave Mankin countered the trend with remarkable success.”

    With his Boston accent, dark glasses, high top sneakers, and baseball cap, he was a recognizable presence on the Cornell campus and best remembered as an engaging teacher and mentor, freely giving his time directing independent studies and advising theses and dissertations. He treasured his connection with the University of Virginia, establishing a prize in memory of his Harvard mentor, J.P. Elder, for outstanding undergraduate majors; his parents, Carole and Henry Mankin, generously founded the Hyman Mankin Fund to support graduate students.  He was a devoted follower of Fiona the baby hippo from the Cleveland zoo and showered affection on his cats, Marmalade and Luna.  At the time of his sudden and premature death, Mankin was preparing a commentary on the hexameter Cynegetica of the Augustan poet Grattius; it remains two thirds completed, and one hopes that someone will take up the torch and bring the work to completion.

  • Sources:

    Cornell Chronicle, 29 August 1991, p. 7; 30 April 2019

    Photo credit: Cornell University

  • Author: Jenny Strauss Clay