A translation and commentary by Walter Englert, Omar and Althea Hoskins Professor of Classical Studies and Humanities, has just been published by Focus Publishing. The publisher notes on the website (www.pullins.com) that Lucretius: On the Nature of Things (De Rarum Natura) is “an outstanding translation of the complete poem which adheres faithfully to the text, with poetic force, accuracy, and humanitas. This text includes introduction, notes, outline and a glossary of philosophical terms cross-referenced to use throughout the poem.” Englert is also the author of Epicurus on the Swerve and Voluntary Action (Scholars Press, 1987) and numerous articles for The Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy, D. Zeyl, editor (Greenwood Press, 1997), in addition to journal articles.
This winter commentaries by two faculty members were excerpted in the Oregonian and presented in full on its website (www.oregonlive.com). An op-ed piece by Charlene Makley, assistant professor of Asian studies, appeared on January 27. Makley wrote about the depiction of women in advertising, which is also the topic of an image archive on her website which she uses in her classes.
A commentary by Lois Leveen, visiting assistant professor of English and humanities, was printed on February 10. In “The Joy of Talking Books” Leveen wrote about the value of the Multnomah County “Everybody Reads” program and why the book that everybody read, Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying, was an especially important choice.
A piece by composer David Schiff, R.P. Wollenberg Professor of Music, has been scheduled for next season by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, led by the German conductor and violinist Christoph Poppen. Concerto for Jazz Violin and Orchestra, “4 Sisters,” will be played by Regina Carter on violin on January 29, 30, 31 and February 1, 2004.
Schiff’s acclaimed opera Gimpel the Fool, with a libretto by Nobel Prize–winning author I. B. Singer, will receive its first performance in concert form on May 31 and June 1 in Reed’s Kaul Auditorium. Kenneth Kiesler will conduct the players of Portland’s Third Angle New Music Ensemble and a cast led by Metropolitan Opera baritone Richard Zeller and mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato. The opera will be recorded for Koch records.
Schiff’s opera, based on Singer’s famous parable of a much-deceived baker, had previously been seen only in workshop performances. The opera’s musical idiom blends klezmer music and cantorial improvisation with echoes of Stravinsky, Mahler, Kurt Weill, and jazz. Reviewing Gimpel the Fool in the New Yorker Andrew Porter praised "Schiff’s lively musical imagination, his wit, his sharp, clean sense of form and a command of dramatic gestures — vocal and instrumental; melodic, harmonic, and of timbre — which seems to proclaim him a natural theater composer.”
Steven Wasserstrom, Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies and Humanities, has edited, introduced, and annotated a new collection of poetry by Gershom Scholem, The Fullness of Time: Poems by Gershom Scholem (Ibis Editions, 2003). One of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century, Scholem virtually created the subject of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism as a serious area of study. Wasserstrom has selected the poems — nineteen from the German and one late composition from the Hebrew — and places them in the context of Scholem’s scholarly work, in the process giving readers a sense of the intellectual and social atmosphere surrounding these poems in Scholem’s charged Jerusalem circles of scholarship. Several poems from the book were printed in the New Republic this spring.