William Arrowsmith

William Arrowsmith

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William Ayres Arrowsmith (April 13, 1924 – February 21, 1992) was an American classicist, academic, and translator.


Born in Orange, New Jersey
Orange, New Jersey
The City of Orange is a city and township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 30,134...

, the son of Walter Weed Arrowsmith and Dorothy (Ayres) Arrowsmith, William grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of Greater Boston. The population was 27,982 at the time of the 2010 census.It is best known as the home of Wellesley College and Babson College...

. He went to schools in Massachusetts and Florida, received an undergraduate degree and a doctorate from Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, and also earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Oxford University. Arrowsmith was a Rhodes Scholar while at Oxford and later received Wilson, Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships. He was awarded ten honorary degrees.

Arrowsmith is remembered for his translations of Petronius
Gaius Petronius Arbiter was a Roman courtier during the reign of Nero. He is generally believed to be the author of the Satyricon, a satirical novel believed to have been written during the Neronian age.-Life:...

’s Satyricon
Satyricon is a Latin work of fiction in a mixture of prose and poetry. It is believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as a certain Titus Petronius...

(1959) and Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

’ plays The Birds (1961) and The Clouds (1962), as well as Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

Alcestis, Cyclops, Heracles, Orestes, Hecuba, and The Bacchae, as well as other classical and contemporary works. He was the general editor of the 33-volume The Greek Tragedy in New Translations (Oxford, 1973) and of Nietzsche's Unmodern Observations (Yale, 1989). Arrowsmith translated other modern works, including The Storm and Other Things (Norton, 1985) by Eugenio Montale, the Nobel laureate Italian poet, Hard Labor (Grossman, 1976) by Cesare Pavese, and Six Modern Italian Novellas (Pocket Books, 1964). He is also known for his writings on Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian modernist film director, screenwriter, editor and short story writer.- Personal life :...

. A prolific writer and editor, he also founded and edited The Hudson Review and served on the editorial board of Delos, Mosaic, American Poetry Review and Pequod.

An academic for most of his life, Arrowsmith served as chairman of the Classics Department at the University of Texas as well as a professor at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

, Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, MIT, Yale
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

, Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins was a wealthy American entrepreneur, philanthropist and abolitionist of 19th-century Baltimore, Maryland, now most noted for his philanthropic creation of the institutions that bear his name, namely the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the Johns Hopkins University and its associated...

, NYU, and Emory University
Emory University
Emory University is a private research university in metropolitan Atlanta, located in the Druid Hills section of unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. The university was founded as Emory College in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by a small group of Methodists and was named in honor of...

. He gained notoriety with his attacks on graduate education in the humanities in the 1960s. He blamed "the hideous jungle of academic bureaucracy" for making the humanities irrelevant to modern life and sacrificing education to trivial research, "the cult of the fact" and career training. Later he served on a National Endowment for the Humanities panel that issued a report in 1984 voicing similar views. He was also on the board of the American Association for Higher Education and the International Council on the Future of the University.

Arrowsmith died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts at age 67. There are tributes to Arrowsmith in Arion
Arion was a kitharode in ancient Greece, a Dionysiac poet credited with inventing the dithyramb: "As a literary composition for chorus dithyramb was the creation of Arion of Corinth," The islanders of Lesbos claimed him as their native son, but Arion found a patron in Periander, tyrant of Corinth...


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