Richmond Alexander Lattimore (May 6, 1906 – February 26, 1984) was an American poet and translator known for his translations of the Greek classics, especially his versions of the Iliad and Odyssey, which are generally considered as among the best English translations available.
Early life and career
Born to David and Margaret Barnes Lattimore in Paotingfu, China, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1926. His brother Owen Lattimore was a Sinologist who was blacklisted for his association with China during the McCarthy era, but subsequently rehabilitated when none of the charges against him proved to be true. Richmond was a Rhodes Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, and received his B.A. in 1932, then received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1934. He joined the Department of Greek at Bryn Mawr College the following year, and married Alice Bockstahler, with whom he later had two sons, Steven and Alexander; Steven also became a classical scholar and professor at UCLA. From 1943 to 1946, Lattimore was absent from his professorial post to serve in the United States Navy, but returned after the war to remain at Bryn Mawr College, with periodic visiting positions at other universities, until his retirement in 1971. He continued to publish poems and translations for the remainder of his life, with two poems appearing in print posthumously.
He translated the Revelation of John in 1962. A 1979 edition by McGraw-Hill Ryerson included the four Gospels. Lattimore completed translating the New Testament, which was published posthumously in 1996 with the title The New Testament.
Lattimore was a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Philological Association, and the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy at Rome and an Honorary Student at Christ Church, Oxford.
References and sources
- S. Lattimore's translation of Thucydides was published in 1998 by Hackett.
- Deborah E. Kamen. "Lattimore". Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies. Bryn Mawr College. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2009.