Paolo Vivante, 1921-2004

Paolo Vivante, 1921-2004 McGill University

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McGill Reporter
September 9, 2004 - Volume 37 Number 01
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 37: 2004-2005 > September 9, 2004 > Paolo Vivante, 1921-2004

Obituary: Paolo Vivante, 1921 — 2004

Paolo Vivante, John MacNaughton Emeritus Professor of Classics, died peacefully in his 82nd year on Saturday morning, July 17, at the Montreal General Hospital, of respiratory complications.

Paolo Vivante

Born in Rome, Italy on September 30, 1921, he and his family was forced to flee the fascist tyranny in Italy when the anti-Semitic laws were imposed. He pursued his studies at Oxford University in England and then joined the Pioneer Corps of the British Army. With his knowledge of languages, Paolo became an interpreter during the Allied invasion in France. After the war, he returned to Oxford University, Pembroke College, to complete his studies and then went to the University of Florence in Italy. A Homeric scholar, Professor Vivante taught in the Classics Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1959 to 1962, the University of Texas at Austin from 1963 to 1966 and McGill University from 1966 to 1987. He continued his scholarly work throughout his life.

Professor Vivante was a renowned classics scholar who published five books on Homer: The Homeric Imagination (1970), The Epithets in Homer (1982), Homer (1985), The Iliad: Action as Poetry (1990) and Homeric Rhythm: A Philosophical Study (1997). He was a champion of truth, beauty and the poetic imagination. His articles appeared in Classical World, Arion and many other journals.

As a strong advocate of justice, political freedom and human rights, Professor Vivante kept a keen eye on global politics and continuously wrote letters expressing his outrage and concerns to newspapers and politicians around the world. This noble, warm, compassionate man, whose charm and wisdom touched so many, is sadly missed by his wife of 37 years, Vera Vivante; his brothers, Arturo and Cesare, and his sister, Charis, and their families; as well as his stepchildren and many devoted students and friends.

Donations may be sent to Partners of Conscience at Amnesty International, World Jewish Congress or the Southern Poverty Law Center (c/o Morris Dees).

Vera Vivante (widow) and Rosalind Boyd, Centre for Developing-Area Studies director, McGill (friend and colleague)

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