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(January 10, 2002, Gazette)

Classical studies at Memorial
Book launch

Among the writers in In Altum (Back, L-R) Bernard Kavanagh, Queen’s University; Iain Bruce, Jim Butrica, Adrian Tronson. (Front, L-R) Christopher Marshall and Mark Joyal.Photo by Chris Hammond

Among the writers in In Altum (Back, L-R) Bernard Kavanagh, Queen’s University; Iain Bruce, Jim Butrica, Adrian Tronson. (Front, L-R) Christopher Marshall and Mark Joyal.


An idea to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of Memorial College has turned into a celebration of the Department of Classics, and an example of its scholarship.

Memorial’s classics department decided to celebrate the 75th by compiling a book of scholarly essays by current and former members of the department. The result is In Altum, a 379-page collection of 19 essays which includes a history of the department, one of the founding disciplines at Memorial College in 1925.

Former classics head Dr. Mark Joyal said the idea came about three years ago when then Dean of Arts Terry Murphy asked department heads to think about ways to celebrate the Festival of Anniversaries.

“I thought ‘why don’t we put our scholarship on display,’” Dr. Joyal said. “I thought this is what distinguishes our department outside the university on the national and international scene.”

After getting the thumbs up from the current members of the department for the idea, Dr. Joyal wrote to former members of classics to ask if they would be interested. The response was “pretty much overwhelming,” he said.

The result is a collection of original scholarship on topics from Socrates to Cyclops.

The one writer not a current former member of the classics department is Herbert Huxley who contributed an essay on J. L. Paton, Memorial’s first president.

None of the articles have appeared in outside publications, making this book a valuable contribution to classical studies, said Dr. Joyal.

“This was part of the purpose: to produce a piece of scholarship that would be valuable to other classical scholars,” he said. “There are many articles in the book that would be of interest to classical scholars in all parts of the world.”

Dr. Joyal said one of the distinguishing features of the book is the degree to which it is an in-house project.

“This is a project done by and for the Memorial community.”

He cited the help of University Relations and its Publications and Photographic Services divisions, and Printing Services for technical support, and funding support from the Smallwood Foundation and the Office of Research, along with the dean of arts and Department of Classics.

In Altum is on sale at the MUN Bookstore

The history of Memorial’s Department of Classics can be seen online at www.mun.ca/classics/briefhistory.html