October 17, 2005
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Brown University professor Michael Putnam will speak on “Virgil and History” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Babbott Room of the Octagon at Amherst College. Putnam will discuss the relationship between history and epic, in particular the Aeneid. Sponsored by the Department of Classics and the Eastman Fund, this lecture is free and open to the public.
Putnam joined the Brown faculty in 1960 after teaching for a year at Smith College. He was Acting Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies 1961-62 and served as one of its Senior Fellows from 1971 to 1986. In 1963-64 he held a Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome where he was later a Resident and Mellon Professor in Charge of the Classical School (1989-91) and is now Trustee. He was elected a director of the American Philological Association in 1972 and has since served the Association as President (1982) and Financial Trustee (1997-2004). He received the Association's Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit in 1971. In 1985 he was Townsend Professor at Cornell University and inaugurated the Townsend Lectures. For 1987-88 he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study and for 1994-95 a Visiting Scholar for Phi Beta Kappa. During the spring of 2004 he gave the Martin Classical Lectures at Oberlin College. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of the American Philosophical Society.
Putnam's primary interest is in Latin literature and its influence, with a specialty in the poetry of Republican and Augustan Rome. His books include The Poetry of the Aeneid (1965); Virgil's Pastoral Art: Studies in the Eclogues (1970); Tibullus: A Commentary (1973); Virgil's Poem of the Earth (1979); Essays on Latin Lyric, Elegy, and Epic (1982); Artifices of Eternity: Horace's Fourth Book of Odes (1986); Virgil's Aeneid: Interpretation and Influence (1995); Virgil's Epic Designs: Ekphrasis in the Aeneid (1998); and Horace's Carmen Saeculare: Ritual Magic and the Poet's Art (2000). He has recently edited and translated Maffeo Vegio: Short Epics (2004). He has also edited several volumes and is the author of numerous articles and reviews.
At Brown, as well as chairing the Department of Classics for several periods, he is also a member of the Comparative Literature faculty as well as of the Committee on Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.