North American Scholar

MANKIN, David Phillip

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1957-06-16
  • 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 (YYYY-MM-DD): 2019-04-24
  • Death City: Ithaca
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Education:

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

  • Dissertation:

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

  • 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

  • Notes:

    Born in Queens, grew up in Pittsburgh, Scarsdale, NY, and Boston He attended the Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge. At Virginia he worked with Jenny Clay who remained a confidante and influence for the rest of his life.   Mythology course (Classics 2064) was legendary and always filled up with students. He produced two fine commentaries but was best remembered as an engaging and effective teacher and counselor. He was able to illustrate points from antiquity with allusions to his vast knowledge of popular culture from movies to comic books to poetry. Mankin said, “There are always a lot of laughs in the class, so we have fun while we’re learning. We compare Greek mythology to sports and superhero comic books – two things I know something about.” Boston accent, black sunglasses, Boston Braves baseball cap, black high-top Converse All-Stars (like those worn by the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and 1960s.) In 1991 he was quoted as saying “The problem with teachers that don’t teach well is that they don’t like what they’re teaching, or they don’t like their students. I like both. We have fun while we’re learning.”  

    As director of undergraduate studies in the 1990s he gave freely of his time to students for independent studies and thesis advice.  Devoted to animals, particularly his long-lived cat Marmalade. Taught in sunglasses which he wore night and day, 24/7.. Most memorable course for many students. Cornell Chronicle quoted Cornell president Hunter Rawlings: “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.”


  • Sources:

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

    Photo credit: Cornell University

  • Author: Ward Briggs