The Classical Legacy of Gilbert Highet: An In-depth Retrospect


Robert J. Ball


Gilbert Highet (1906-1978) was one of Columbia University's greatest teachers and in his day the most celebrated classical scholar in America. One may regard his life and career as both extraordinary and controversial. Now, over forty years after his death, a fresh retrospect seems appropriate, as a way of presenting new information about him and evaluating his enduring classical legacy for the twenty-first century reader. This fully documented biographical appreciation of Highet's life and work, capped by fully updated bibliographies of publications by him and about him, offers a long-overdue "official life" of this unique and towering figure.


"Ball's reviews of Highet's labors on Juvenal, satire and Vergil are annotated heavily. Ball is impartial in presenting the critical observations of those classicists who disapproved of or questioned Highet's biographical approach to Juvenal.… As a classicist and as the biographer, Ball's judgments are authoritative.… Errors in fact are corrected throughout by Ball. He is up to date on all aspects of material on or by Highet. He does not fail to notice the remarks of critics of Highet's scholarly works.… This assessment of him is a helpful contribution to the history of classical scholarship in America."—Darrell Sutton in The Quarterly Review (2021)



Cover for The Classical Legacy of Gilbert Highet


July 26, 2021


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