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Ab omni parte beatus: Classical Essays in Honor of James M. May

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Product Code: 8431
ISBN: 978-0-86516-843-5
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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.

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by Dr Clifford Cunningham
on 8/22/2017
A Classical Tribute to James May
Dr. James May just retired from a long and distinguished career at St Olaf College in Minnesota. I recently had the privilege of hearing his final Latin oration at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the MidWest and South, which was held in Kitchener, Ontario.

The 18 essays in this tribute volume cover a vast array of topics from the most technical to pop culture. For example, one deals with the role of satire in refuting Christian heretics in the Byzantine period; while another surveys movies and TV shows that include Cicero as a character. We learn he was in 15 of the 22 episodes of the HBO series Rome, and the chapter even gives us his dialogue!

Closer to what one might look for in a classical book is a close reading of Lucan's depiction of Caesar as a lightning bolt personified, and his battle as said bolt against nature. 
(This is an excerpt from a review that can be read at www.sunnewsmiami.com)
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