Roman Comedy; silver Latin literature
My main interest is Latin Literature, and I have been fortunate enough to be able to devote my time almost exclusively to Latin authors in teaching and research. When I joined the department in 1968 I was most interested in Propertius, but at this point I think I would most accurately be called a generalist, with articles done on Plautus, Terence, Vergil, Lucan, Pliny, Horace, Lucretius, and Petronius. If there is any concentration in this group, it is Roman Comedy and Lucan. A lot of my essays have to do with the significance of landscape within books or poems, but the work does not follow any particular line or school of interpretation. I have taught every course in translation and almost all the courses in Latin in the department at least once. I have been able to offer a number of times in recent years what is to me the most rewarding course I have done, a course of my own design in mythology as treated by master painters.
I recently returned corrected proofs for an essay on the modern film Trading Places as a modern model of Roman comedy. The modern film story has a pair of scheming old men as main characters, a world of fun vs. a business world, dual composition and a number of other features that are characteristic of Roman comedy. I have recently had accepted for publication an extensive study of inclusion and exclusion of main characters in the new comic societies formed at the conclusion of the plays of Plautus and Terence. The essay is an attempt to describe where inclusion and exclusion occur, the kinds of characters involved, and where the feature appears as an expression of the main idea in the play. I am presently reviewing some possible projects, some thematic features in some stories narrated by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, or a study of the different ways of presenting one or two mythical heroines in art by master painters.
I had the pleasure of giving last August at the national convention of the Junior Classical League on campus a talk on myths presented by master painters. I was one of three faculty members whose remarks made up an interview article, "Contemplating Comedy" in the summer 2006 issue of the MU Alumni magazine, Mizzou. The highlight of my teaching assignments this year was being able to offer a course for majors on expressivity in Latin authors, study of medium as message, or how structure, kind of vocabulary, sound and other techniques are used to express main ideas in a piece of literature.