Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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WILLIAM AYRES ARROWSMITH
William Ayres Arrowsmith, former professor of classics and University Professor, was born in Orange, New Jersey, on April 13, 1924. He died February 20, 1992, in Boston.
Arrowsmith was brought to The University of Texas at Austin by Harry H. Ransom in 1958. He stayed until 1971. He was chairman of the Department of Classics from 1962 to 1966.
Arrowsmith's work as a scholar, critic, teacher, translator, lecturer, and editor earned him a considerable reputation, both nationally and locally. Contentious by nature, he functioned as a gadfly in several arenas, stirring up national discussion of college teaching at the same time he enlivened the controversy that marked academic discourse here at the University in the 1960s. A founding editor of the literary-critical journals, Chimera and Hudson Review, at UT Austin he established Arion, a journal that set new standards in the literary quality of translation and the criticism of classical literature. His own translations, from Italian lyric poetry and German prose as well as Greek drama and Latin fiction, established a high literary standard not only for translators, but for poets, creative prose writers, and playwrights. He became known as a highly generous, if very strenuous, adviser to all those who needed his aid. He was one of the first literary critics to treat film as a serious literary subject, and his cinematic lectures and essays, especially on Antonioni, won him an international reputation and the Taormina Prize.
With Roger Shattuck and Donald Carne-Ross, Arrowsmith was instrumental in the reanimation of the Program in Comparative Literature at the University, and the establishment here, in 1965, of the National Translation Center. He attracted many distinguished colleagues to the Department of Classics, and is well remembered for his wit, his eloquence, and the dead seriousness of his puckishness. He left Austin for Boston University, taking Arion with him. Later, he taught at Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Emory Universities, returning to Boston in the late 1980s. His impact and influence on The University of Texas was great and deep, and can still be felt.
Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Sidney Monas (chair) and Douglass Parker. Additional biographical sources can be found in the UT Office of Public Affairs.