W. B. Stanford

Life
1910-1984 [William Bedell Stanford]; b. Belfast, 16 Jan., son of Dublin-born clergyman; grew up in Waterford and Tipperary; ed. Bishop Foy Sch., Waterford, and TCD (sizar); Fellow, 1934, and regius prof. 1940; rejected Anglo-Irish defeatism and religious exclusionist in either side of Irish life; contrib. ‘Protestantism Since the Treaty’ to The Bell (June 1944), published with riposte by Sean O’Faolain (‘Toryism in Trinity’); Senator for Dublin Univ., 1948-69, after several attempts; spoke out against the episcopal sectarianism of the Fethard-on-Sea case, against de Valera’s support; visiting Prof. in Classics to Berkeley, McGill Univ., and Wayne Park Univ., lecturing widely in America (52 campuses in 25 states during 1964-83); served as Irish delegate to Council of Europe; lecturer on Hellenic cruises based on a reconstruction of the Odysseyan periplum; MRIA, and General Synod of Church of Ireland; edited Homer (1947-48);with R. B. McDowell, John Pentland Mahaffy (1971); numerous essays; passed up opportunity to succeed Alton as Provost in order to complete The Ulysses Theme (1954); he served as Chancellor of Dublin University [TCD], 1982–1984; d. 30 Dec. 1984; Stanford: Memoirs (2001) was issued posthumously with a tribute by John Luce; taught Classics to Michael Longley, Derek Mahon and other Irish poets - quoting Plato, ‘the beautiful things are difficult’. DIW OCIL

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Works
  • Greek Metaphor (OUP 1936); Ambiguity in Greek Literature (Oxford 1939);
  • ‘Ulyssean Qualities in Joyce’s Leopold Bloom’, in Comparative Literature, 5 (1953), pp.125-30; Aeschylus in his Style (Dublin UP 1942), 147pp., and Do. (NY: Johnson Reprint Corp. 1972), 147pp.;
  • ed. Livy, Book 42 (Dublin UP 1942);
  • A Recognised Church: The Church of Ireland in Éire (Dublin; Belfast: APCK [1944]), 31pp.;
  • ed. The Odyssey of Homer, 2 vols. (London: Macmillan 1947-80; 2nd edn. 1961-62 & 1965);
  • Studies in the Characterization of Ulysses - 3: The Lies of Odysseus. 4. Ulysses in the Post-classical Latin Tradition. 5. Ulysses in the Medieval Troy Tales [offprint] (Dublin UP: Hermathena 75, 77, 78, 1950-1951); The Ulysses Theme (Oxford 1954; 2nd ed. 1963);
  • ed. Aristophanes’ Frogs (London 1957; 2nd ed. 1963);
  • ed. Sophocles’ Ajax (London 1963);
  • The Sound of Greek (Berkeley 1967);
  • Towards a History of Classical Influences in Ireland [RIA Proceedings, Vol. 70, Sect. C, No. 3 (Dublin: RIA 1970), pp.13-91pp;
  • with R. B. D. McDowell, Mahaffy: A Biography of an Anglo-Irishman (London 1971);
  • with J. V. Luce, The Quest for Ulysses (London: Phaidon Press 1974 [i.e. 1975]), 256pp.,facs., gen. tables, maps, plan;
  • with Robert Fagles, The Oresteia of Aeschylus (1976); Enemies of Poetry (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1980), vii, 181pp.;
  • Greek Tragedy and the Emotions (London [?1983]);
  • ‘Classical Scholarship in Trinity College, Dublin’, in Hermathena, lvii (1941), 3-24;
  • The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero (Oxford: Blackwell 1954), x, 292pp;, Do. [2nd. rev. edn.] (Blackwell 1963), 340pp.; Do. [rep. edn.] (Oxford: Blackwell; Michigan UP 1968), x. 340pp., and Do. [rep. edn.] with new foreword by Charles Boer (Dallas: Spring Publications 1992), xxvi, 340pp.;
  • ‘The Mysticism that Pleased Him: A Note on the Primary Source of Joyce’s Ulysses’, in Envoy 5 (April 1951), pp.62-69, and Do., rep. in John Ryan, ed., A Bash in the Tunnel (Brighton: Clifton Books 1970), pp.35-42;
  • ‘Towards a History of Classical Influences in Ireland’, in PRIA, 70 (1970), C 3 pp.13-91;
  • Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; rep. 1984) [infra];
  • Stanford: Memoirs ([Dublin:] Hinds Publ. 2001), 244pp.
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Bibliographical details
W. B[edell] Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; this ed. 1984), 261pp, index. INTRODUCTION, ‘Irishness’, The definition of ‘Irish’ accepted here is ‘born and bred in Ireland or of Irish ancestry and parentage’ This clearly leaves room for disagreement ... [various] can have their Irishness questioned ... [ix]; Chap. 1, The First Thousand Years; Chapter 2, The Schools; Chapter 3, The Universities and Learned Societies; Chapter 4, Literature in Irish; Chapter 5, Anglo-Irish Literature; Chapter 6, Architecture and Art; Chapter 7, Travellers, Antiquarians and Archaologists; Chapter 8, Historians and Controversialists; Chapter 9, Literary Scholars and Classical Humorists; Chapter 10, Science and Philosophy; 11, Patriots and Philhellenes; Chapter 12, Faith and Morals; EPILOGUE. (See infra.)

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Commentary
Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland: Translations, Languages, Cultures, Cork UP 1996): quotes Stanford, ‘As in other manifestations of Irish genius - one thinks of Joyce’s or Beckett’s later work - the conventiona categories are broken down and new modes, sometimes monstrous or barbaric by conventional standards, come to birth.’ (Ireland and the Classical Tradition, 1976, p.87), with comment: ‘Standford does indeed identify the salient contribution of translation to the development of national literatures, the breaking down of barries, the creative interaction between different languages, styles, mentalities. However, this fact is not peculaiarly Irish and is true for most languages where contact with other literatures or coultures has featuers in their development. What he characterises as peculiar to the iriah mind is in fact intrinsic to the translation process in most historical periods, namely that target-culture expectations and values are crucially important but that this does not prevent the source text and soruce culture form having a decisive impact on the cutlures into which they are translated.’ (Cronin, p.38.)

John Dillon, ‘Some Reflections on the Irish classical Tradition’, in The Crane Bag Book of Irish Studies, 1982, pp.448-52, cites his own review of Stanford’s Ireland and the Classical Tradition, in Universoty Review, 1977, pp.133-36, commencing: ‘His greatest difficulty, perhaps, is to forego a connexion between eighth-century Gaelic monks and eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish gentlemen … Stanford is inclined to discern in all these a common Hibernican attitude to reality and to language and I am tempted to agree with him. Both Eriugena and Berkeley were anti-matieralists, taking a very curious view of the world around them. The Hisperica Famina and Joyce exhibit a common commitment to stretching language to its limits. [… &c.]’ (Crane Bag, p.448.)

Brian Fallon, review of William Bedell Stanford, Stanford: Memoirs (Hinds Publ.), 244pp.; n.p.; b. Belfast, son of Dublin-born clergyman; brought up in Waterford and Tipperary; sizarship to Trinity; opponent of Anglo-Irish defeatism and religious exclusionist in either side of Irish life; Fellow at 24; became Senator, 1948, after several attempts; objected to the sectarianism of the Fethard-on-Sea scandal; recalls that Ernest Blythe showed no regrets at the execution of Republicans in the Civil War and spoke of the ‘Troubles’ as if he were discussing the Peloponnese War; turned done successorship to Alton as Provost; served as delegate to Council of Europe; embarked on his Hellenic cruises; lectured widely in America (52 campuses in 25 states between 1964 and 1983); incls. a tribute by John Luce. (Reviewed by in The Irish Times, Weekend, 8 Sept. 2001.)

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Quotations
Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1976): ‘The classical tradition provided common ground between judge and advocate, and [...] classical precedents could be used on behalf of personal and political freedom. [...] While the parliamentarians and politicians of the eighteenth century were making their memorable speeches, another stream of the classical tradition was helping to keep the spirit of freedom alive among Catholics in the rural parts of Ireland. The masters of the hedge schools expounded the Greek and Roman ideals of civil liberty quite as vigorously as the dons of the University and with more reason for strong feelings.’ (p.114; quoted in Loredana Salis, ‘“So Greek with Consequence”: Classical Tragedy in Contemporary Irish Drama’, PhD Diss., UUC, 2005.) [For extensive quotations and summary, see under “Archives/Criticism”, infra.)

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Notes
Protestantism Since the Treaty’, a pamphlet, addressing ‘symptoms of pressure based on [Catholic] ecclesiastical policy’; it was reprinted in The Bell (June 1944), where it was answered by Sean O’Faolain in ‘Toryism and Trinity’. (Cited in Edna Longley, The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, 1994, p.13.)

Dona ferentes: Stanford distinguishes the English and Irish associations of ‘Greek’, the OED giving ‘cheat, sharper, merry fellow, person of loose habits, ... Irishman’; Dinneen giving ‘bright, grand, splendid, cheerful, gaudy’, as well as serving as an epithet for the Fitzgeralds. And where English genealogists trace to the Trojans, Irish genealogies commonly attach to the Greek lineage. (See W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984, p.79]

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