• Date of Birth: June 21, 1944
  • Born City: Austin
  • Born State/Country: TX
  • Parents: Arnold John, professor of English and founding member of California State U., Northridge, & Louise Orr Stafford B.
  • Date of Death: November 7, 2023
  • Death City: Minneapolis
  • Death State/Country: MN
  • Married: Peter Belfiore, 1966.
  • Education:

    B.A. Barnard, 1966; M.A., UCLA, 1972; Ph.D., 1974.

  • Dissertation:

    “Imitation and Book X of Plato's Republic” (UCLA, 1978).

  • Professional Experience:

    Asst. prof., Scripps College, 1979-80; asst. prof. to full prof., U. of Minnesota, 1980-    ; fellow, ACLS, 1987-8; NEH, 1988.

  • Publications:

    “Elenchus, Epode and Magic. Socrates as Silenus,” Phoenix 34 (1980) 128-37; “Ovid's Encomium of Helen,” CJ 76 (1980-1) 136-48; “The Eagles' Feast and the Trojan Horse. Corrupted Fertility in the Agamemnon,” Maia35 (1983) 3-12; “Plato's Greatest Accusation against Poetry,” in New Essays on Plato, ed. Francis J. Pelletier & J. King-Farlow (Guelph. ON: U. of Calgary Press, 1983) 39-62; “Aristotle's Concept of praxis in the Poetics,”CJ 79 (1983) 110-24; “Ter frustra comprensa. Embraces in the Aeneid,” Phoenix 38 (1984) 19-30; “Pleasure, Tragedy and Aristotelian Psychology,” CQ 35 (1985) 349-61; “Lies Unlike the truth. Plato on Hesiod, Theogony27,” TAPA 115 (1985) 47-57; “Wine and Catharsis of the Emotions in Plato's Laws,” CQ 36 (1986) 421-37; “Περιπέτεια as Discontinuous Action. Aristotle Poetics 11.1452a22-29,” CP 83 (1988) 183-94; Tragic Pleasures: Aristotle on Plot and Emotion (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1992; Ital trans. Il piacere del tragico: Aristotele e la poetica. (Jouvence, 2003).); “Aristotle and Iphigenia,” in Essays on Aristotle’s Poetics, ed. Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (Princeton: Princeton U. Press. 1992) 359-77; “Xenia in Sophocles' Philoctetes,” CJ89 (1993-4) 113-29; “Harming Friends: Problematic Reciprocity in Greek Tragedy,” in Reciprocity in Ancient Greece, ed. Christopher Gill & Norman Postlethwaite & Richard A.S. Seaford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998) 139-58; “Narratological Plots and Aristotle's mythos,” Arethusa 33 (2000) 37-70; Murder among Friends: Violation of philia in Greek Tragedy (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2000); “Family Friendship in Aristotle's Ethics,” AncPhil 21 (2001) 113-32; “Dramatic and Epic Time: “Magnitude” and “Length” in Aristotle's Poetics,” in Making Sense of Aristotle: Essays in Poetics ed. Øivind Andersen & Jon Haarberg (London: Duckworth, 2001) 25-49; “Tragédie, thumos, et plaisir esthétique,” EPh 4 (2003) 451-63; “Dancing with the Gods: The Myth of the Chariot in Plato's Phaedrus,” AJP 127 (2006) 185-217; “Poets at the Symposium,” in Plato and the Poets, ed. Pierre Destrée & Fritz Gregor Herrmann (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2011) 155-76; Socrates' Daimonic Art: Love for Wisdom in Four Platonic Dialogues (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2012); “The Image of Achilles in Plato’s Symposium,” in Plato and the Power of Images ed. Pierre Destrée & Radcliffe G. Edmunds (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2017) 29-46.

  • Notes:

    Betty Belfiore taught the Greek language at all levels, from beginning Greek to graduate seminars, as well as courses in Greek culture, literature in translation, and ancient philosophy. She was also much in demand as a graduate advisor, serving on a total of more than 100 M.A. and Ph.D. committees. Her two main research interests were ancient philosophy and Greek tragedy, and her many publications generally focused on the intellectual intersection between these two traditions. 

    Betty’s earliest book, Tragic Pleasures: Aristotle on Plot and Emotion offered an entirely new interpretation of the famously controversial notion of tragic catharsis in Aristotle’s Poetics. She illuminated the term’s aesthetic usage by reference to Aristotle’s discussion of allopathic physical agents in his biological writings. Eight years later she published Murder Among Friends: Violation of Philia in Greek Tragedy, a study that implicates the theme of social pathology, specifically the violation of “friendship” obligations as an underlying dynamic in tragic plots. In Socrates' Daimonic Art: Love for Wisdom in Four Platonic Dialogues she proposed a broadened conception of Plato’s Socratic eros. Taking the theme of eros as more than just a metaphor of philosophical inquiry she demonstrates that it also adumbrates the fulfillment of that quest. 

    In addition to her books Betty published over thirty articles, some of which were reprinted in other collections, and over thirty reviews. She presented over forty invited papers at prestigious universities in this country and England, France, Norway, the Netherlands, and Brazil. She was indefatigably generous in her professional service to her home department, to other institutions, and to the profession. 

  • Sources:

    DAS 9 (1989).

  • Author: George A. Sheets