• Date of Birth: September 16, 1927
  • Born City: Brookline
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: Edgar Weston & Katrina Brewster A.
  • Date of Death: March 22, 2022
  • Death City: Berkeley
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Married: Lorna Candee Bassette, June 12, 1954 (deceased); Deirdre Burt, May 28, 1983.
  • Education:

    B.A., Yale, 1950; Ph.D., 1954; A.B., Cambridge U., 1952; M.A., 1955; Prix de Rome fell. AAR, 1954-5. 

  • Dissertation:

    "The Rhetoric of Juvenal" (Yale, 1954).

  • Professional Experience:

    U.S. Army,1946-8; Instr. Classics, Yale, 1955-9; resident in Rome, Morse Fellow, 1959-60; asso. prof. classics, U. of California, Berkeley, 1960-6; prof. Latin & comp. lit., 1966-94; chair, Classics, 1970-3; vice chair, comp.lit., 1990-3; prof.-in-chge., ICCS, 1967-8; NEH sr. fellow, 1973-4; res. prof., U. Melbourne, 1984; Robson lectr., Victoria Coll., Toronto, 1987; Blegen res. prof., Vassar, 1989-90; Berkeley Citation, 1994; vis. disting. prof., Florida State U., spring 1995; Gail Burnett lectr., San Diego State U., 2001; vis. prof., Ohio State U., 2003; vis. Case Prof., Indiana U., 2005; pres. APA, 1977; ed. board, Vergilius, 1963-2009.

  • Publications:

    “Poetic Fiction. Horace, Serm. I,5,” CW 49 (1955) 57-9; “Juvenal. Evidence on the Years A.D. 117-128,” CP 50 (1955) 255-7; “Horace the Unwilling Warrior, Satire I,9,” AJP 77 (1956) 148-66; “Juvenal VI. A Problem in Structure,” CP 51 (1956) 73-94; “Recent Work in Roman Satire (1937-1955),” CW 50 (1956) 33-40; “Studies in Book I of Juvenal,” YCS 15 (1957) 31-90; “The Marston Manuscript of Juvenal,” in Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought and Religion 13 (1957) 407-14; “Vergil's Second Iliad,” TAPA 88 (1957) 17-30; “Calypso and Elysium,” CJ 54 (1958) 2-11; “Livy and Machiavelli,” CJ 53 (1958) 232-5; “Persius I, 107-110,” CQ 8 (1958) 195-7; “Discontinuity in Lucretian symbolism,” TAPA 91 (1960) 1-29; “Imagery in the Satires of Horace and Juvenal,” AJP 81 (1960) 225-60; “Part versus Whole in Persius' Fifth Satire,” PhilQ 39 (1960) 66-81; “Horace's Siren (Serm. II, 3, 14),” CP 56(1961) 105-8; “Juvenal and Quintilian,” YCS 17 (1961) 1-93; “Venusina lucerna. The Horatian Model for Juvenal,” TAPA 92 (1961) 1-12; “The Programme of Juvenal's Later Books,” CP 57 (1962) 145-60; “Multiple Change in the Metamorphoses,” TAPA 94 (1963) 1-27; “On Vergil's Use of the Odyssey,” Vergilius 9 (1963) 1-8; Pompey, His Friends, and the Literature of the First Century B. C. (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1963); “Second Thoughts on Highet's Juvenal the SatiristProceedings of the African Classical Association 6 (1963) 45-9; “The Roman Socrates. Horace and His Satires,” in Critical Essays on Roman Literature. II, Satire, ed. J.P. Sullivan (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963); “Recent Work in Roman Satire (1955-1962),” CW 57 (1964) 293-301; “Roman Satirists and Literary Criticism,” Bucknell Review 12 (1964) 106-13; Anger in Juvenal and Seneca (Berkeley & Los Angeles: U. of California Press, 1964); “Hercules exclusus. Propertius IV,9,” AJP 85 (1964) 1-12; “Valla, Juvenal, and Probus,” Traditio 21 (1965) 383-424; “Horace Carm. I.,14. What Kind of Ship?,” CP 61 (1966) 84-98; “Persius and the Rejection of Society,” Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Wilhelm-Pieck-Universität Rostock 15 (1966) 409-16; “Talaria and Ovid Met. X.591,” TAPA 97 (1966) 1-13; “Two Odes of Horace’s Book Two,” CSCA (1968) 35-61; “Pastor Aeneas. On Pastoral Themes in the Aeneid,” TAPA 99 (1968) 1-17; The Art of the Aeneid (Englewood, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1969; repr. Bristol Classical Press, 1990); “A New Menandrian Prototype for the servus currens of Roman Comedy,” Phoenix 24 (1970) 229-36; “Lascivia vs. ira: Martial and Juvenal,” CSCA 3 (1970) 1-34; “Recent Work in Roman Satire (1962-68),” CW 63 (1970) 181-94; “Two Passages from Book Twelve of the Aeneid,” CSCA 4 (1971) 49-65; Metamorphoses: Books 6-10 (Norman, OK: U. of Oklahoma Press, 1972); “The Ending of the Samia and Other Menandrian Comedies, II,” Studi classici in onore di Quintino Cataudella (Catania: Fac. Di Lett. E Filos., 1972) 155-79; “The Form, Purpose, and Position of Horace Satire I.8,” AJP 93 (1972) 6-13; “A New Pseudo-Ovidian Passage,” CSCA 8 (1975) 7-16; “Identification of Another Heinsian Manuscript,” CQ 26 (1976) 113-14; Metamorphoses, (ed.) Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Leipzig: Teubner, 1977); Satires and Epistles ed. with J. Fuchs (New York: Norton, 1977); “Studies on the Naples Ms. IV F 3 of Ovid's Metamorphoses,” ICS 2 (1977) 255-88; “On the Tegernsee Ms. of Ovid's Metamorphoses (Munich Clm 29007),” CSCA 11 (1978) 1-19; “Plautus' Trinummus. The Absurdity of Officious Morality,” Traditio 35 (1979) 333-45; “Vergil, the Best in the World for the Tragical-Comical-Historical-Pastoral,” Vergilius 26 (1980) 10-17; The Satires of Persius, ed. with W.S. Merwin (London: Anvil Press, 1981); Essays on Roman Satire (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1982); “From Reality to Image and from Image to Reality. Georgics and Aeneid, I,” Atti del Convegno mondiale scientifico di studi su Virgilio. Mantova, Roma, Napoli 19-24 settembre 1981, I (Milan: Mondadori, 1984) 417-30; “Love Plots in Menander and His Roman Adaptors,” Ramus 13 (1984) 123-34; “Rustic Urbanity. Satirists in and out of Rome,” CO 61 (1984) 111-17; “Gripus and Stratonicus. Plautus, Rudens 930-936,” AJP 107 (1986) 560-3; “Corinth and Comedy,” in Corinthiaca. Studies in Honor of Darrell A. Amyx, ed. Mario Del Chiaro (Columbia: U. of Missouri Press, 1986) 44-9; “Juvenal Satire 15. Cannibals and Culture,” Ramus 16 (1987) 203-14; “Lycaon: Ovid's Deceptive Paradigm in Metamorphoses 1,” ICS 14 (1989) 91-101; “The Artist's Limits in Ovid. Orpheus, Pygmalion, and Daedalus,” SyllClass 1 (1989) 1-11; “The Example of Procris in the Ars Amatoria, in Cabinet of the Muses: Essays on Classical and Comparative Literature in Honor of Thomas G. Rosenmeyer, ed. Mark Griffith & Donald John Mastronarde (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990) 131-45; Joseph A. Farrell, “Virgilian Scholarship in the Nineties: a Panel Sponsored by the Virgilian Society of America: Which Aeneid in Whose Nineties?” response by Anderson, Vergilius 36 (1990) 74-81; Metamorphoses, (ed.) Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Leipzig & Stuttgart: Teubner, 1991); “The Limits of Genre: Response to Francis Cairns,” in The Interpretation of Roman Poetry: Empiricism or Hermeneutics?, ed. G. Karl Galinsky (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1992) 96-103; “Horace's Different Recommenders of carpe diem in C. 1.4, 7, 9, 11,” CJ 88 (1992-3) 115-22; P. Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoses, (ed.), Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Leipzig & Stuttgart: Teubner, 1993); “The Suppliant's Voice and Gesture in Vergil and Ovid's Metamorphoses,” ICS 18 (1993) 165-77; Barbarian Play: Plautus's Roman Comedy (Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 1993); “From Changed: Ovid's Metamorphoses” in Roman Epic,” in Roman Epic, ed. Anthony James Boyle (London & New York: Routledge, 1993) 108-24; “Aspects of Love in Ovid's Metamorphoses,” CJ 90 (1994-5) 265-9; “The Roman Transformation of Greek Domestic Comedy,” CW 88 (1994-5) 171-80; Latin Lyric and Elegiac Poetry: An Anthology of New Translations, ed. with Diane Jill Rayor, & William W. Batstone (New York: Garland, 1995); “Horatius liber, Child and Freedman's Free Son,” Arethusa 28 (1995) 151-64; Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Books 1-5 (ed.) (Norman: U. of Oklahoma Press, 1997);Why Horace? A Collection of Interpretations (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carduci, 1999); “The Secret of Lydia's Aging: Horace, Odes 1.25,” in Why Horace? A Collection of Interpretations (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carduci, 1999); “Trojan, Dardanian, Roman: the Power of Epithets in the Aeneid,” Approaches to Teaching Vergil’s Aeneid, ed. with Lorina N. Quartarone (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2002) 53-9; “Resistance to Recognition and “Privileged Recognition” in Terence,” CJ 98 (2002-3) 1-8; “Terence and the Roman Rhetorical Use of the Andria,” LICS3 (2003-4) 9; “The Invention of Sosia for Terence's First Comedy, the Andria,” Ramus 33 (2004) 10-19. 

  • Notes:

    William Scovil Anderson (“Bill,” and sometimes “W. S.” to his students) was an acute and prolific critic of Latin literature, whose scholarly and professional accomplishments were recognized with honors and positions of responsibility. 

    Anderson was a leader of a generation of scholars who came to ally the traditional resources of philology to the styles of criticism being practiced in the study of literatures in English and other modern languages, with extraordinarily influential effects. It is perhaps no accident that he was drawn first to satire, and particularly to Juvenal. He revolutionized the study of Juvenal’s poetry, declaring its blisteringly aggressive and apparently artless speaker to be instead the product of careful rhetorical construction by a cool-headed poet. In a series of articles published in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s—collected in his 1982 volume Essays on Roman Satire—he articulated for readers of the genre the concept of the persona This powerful concept opened the genre up to interpretations that not only resisted simple autobiographical readings, but recognized its literary complexity; for example, his 1960 essay in the American Journal of Philology, “Imagery in the Satires of Horace and Juvenal,” offers incisive analysis of the satirists’ differing approaches to imagery, and does so in part by comparing each one to a contemporary epic poet, thereby illuminating Vergil and Statius, as well as Horace and Juvenal.

    As this example makes clear, this groundbreaking work on satire was made possible by Anderson’s wide knowledge of and curiosity about Latin (and Greek) literature and his engagement with literary criticism as practiced in other fields. By the mid-1960s he had already published influential articles on Vergil, Lucretius, and Propertius and, while maintaining his varied interests, from the late 1960s on, he published a series of works on Vergil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses that further enhanced his reputation as one of the most authoritative and wide-ranging scholars of Latin poetry.  His 1967 volume, The Art of the Aeneid, used his expertise in fine-grained literary analysis to illuminate both the techniques and themes of the poem in ways that enriched the reading experience of both experts and newcomers. His Teubner edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses (1977) and his pair of student commentaries covering the first ten books of the poem (1972, 1997) have left a lasting imprint on generations of readers. Unlike many commentaries aimed at beginners, those Anderson produced engage gladly with interpretative questions and expect even new readers of Latin to become attuned to its expressive possibilities. Greek and Roman New Comedy formed yet another field to which he contributed his unique perspective, through many articles and his 1993 book Barbarian Play: Plautus’s Roman Comedy, based on his Robson Lectures. This book, too, made good use of his trademark gift for explaining the basics to those unfamiliar with the genre while offering insights that affected current scholarly debates.

    At the beginning of The Art of the Aeneid (p. 2), Anderson announced that it was “the purpose of [that] volume to assist the modern reader of the Aeneid to find underneath the dead form the living poetry of Vergil.” He leaves behind him a scholarly legacy impressive not only for its scale, its range, and the interpretative skill it displays, but for this very determination to find the animating pulse within ancient literature and share that discovery with students, scholars, and interested readers of every kind.

    His contributions to the study of Latin literature constitute one sort of legacy, but his activity as a teacher and as a mentor of research represents another. Over his decades at Berkeley, he was a central figure in the education of generations of undergraduate and graduate students, and he advised the PhD theses of many who have gone on to flourish, inside and outside the academy.

    Colleagues and students at Berkeley remember Bill Anderson not only as a scholar but as a dedicated and gifted athlete. Having competed in wrestling while at Yale, he was a spirited player of squash and tennis for many years, and frequented the swimming pools on the Berkeley campus; the same spirit of competition animated his enthusiasm for bridge, which he continued to play with colleagues and students after his retirement.

  • Sources:

    WhAm 63 (2009) 119.

  • Author: Kathleen McCarthy with Dylan Sailor