In this Festschrift colleagues and former students of James M. May, Professor of Classics at Saint Olaf College, join forces to honor him on the occasion of his retirement. The book’s Latin title, Ab omni parte beatus, “blessed from every perspective” (a recast of Horace, Odes 2.16.27–28), suggests the wide sweep of Jim May's accomplishments and the far-flung success he has enjoyed in his forty-year career as teacher, scholar, and administrator; it also alludes to the excellence he displays in every aspect of his life. While it is not unprecedented for a college professor to add to a busy teaching schedule a steady stream of publications, awards, and offices held, what makes May remarkable is his ability to go beyond that and somehow find time for a host of hobbies and other personal passions: to build his own house, restore antique cars and trucks, sing Gregorian chant and deliver orations in Latin, compete in handball, travel to Greece thirty-five times, serve on the crew of the reconstructed trireme Olympias, grow grapes to make his own wine, and, most recently, teach himself to play the bouzouki.
The eighteen essays in this volume, arranged in chronological order, range in topic from the Homeric poems of the eighth century bce to classical allusions in a present-day winner of the Man Booker Prize. Together they give a sample of the honoree’s interests and influence. Five essays are focused on Marcus Tullius Cicero, Jim May’s own classical role model and subject of the cover image. The poem that concludes the collection, written by Anne H. Groton, May’s long-time colleague at Saint Olaf and the editor of this Festschrift, describes the happiness of visiting Greece, a country dear to them both.
The full list of contributors includes Dean M. Apel, Marquis Berrey, Hilary Bouxsein, Christopher M. Brunelle, Gwendolyn Compton-Engle, Christopher P. Craig, Jane W. Crawford, Robert N. Gaines, Anne H. Groton, Jon Hall, John F. Miller, Sarah A. Nix, Terry L. Papillon, Steve Reece, Jon Solomon, Jennifer Starkey, M. C. Steenberg, Ann Vasaly, and Jakob Wisse. This Festschrift is their labor of love for a friend, colleague, and mentor whose kindness and generosity, exuberant good nature, wise counsel, and inspirational work ethic have touched not only their own lives but the lives of so many others as well.
Profits will go to the CAMWS: Ladislaus J. Bolchazy Pedagogy Book Award.