Robert Fagles, 74, the Arthur Marks ‘19 Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Princeton University, died March 26 in Princeton of prostate cancer. A renowned translator of Greek classics, he was widely acclaimed for his best-selling translations of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey. He also created English renditions of The Oresteia by Aeschylus and The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles as well as Virgil’s The Aeneid.
“He was a quiet man, diligent and decorous, yet one who was unexpectedly equal to the swagger and savagery of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in a way no one had managed before him,” said Prof. Paul Muldoon, chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. Added Robert Hollander, professor of European literature and French and Italian emeritus and a colleague for some 40 years, “No translator of major writers in the Western literary tradition has ever met with the kind of success that Robert Fagles enjoyed. His ‘trilogy’ — both epics of Homer and that of Virgil — has brought these texts to life for over a million readers. It was a joy to share some of his joy in that success with him.”
Born in Philadelphia, Prof. Fagles earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in English literature from Amherst College in 1955. He completed his Ph.D. in English literature at Yale University in 1959 and taught there as an instructor for a year. He joined the Princeton faculty in the Department of English in 1960.
Starting in 1966, he directed Princeton’s Program in Comparative Literature, which attained department status in 1975. He served as founding chair of the department from 1975 to 1994.
Prof. Fagles’s teaching and research specialties were the classical tradition in English and European literature; the theory and practice of translation; interrelationships between the arts; and forms of poetry: lyric, tragic, and epic. He received numerous awards over the years, including the National Humanities Medal, the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Princeton’s Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Prof. Fagles retired from the faculty in 2002. This past June, Princeton awarded him an honorary doctor of humane letters for “four decades of feats on behalf of Princeton, as the founding father of comparative literature, as a gracious and wise colleague and as an inspiring mentor and teacher.”
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lynne; two daughters, Katya Fagles of Randolph, N.J. and Nina Hartley of Hampden, Maine; and three grandchildren.
Burial will be private. A memorial service in the University Chapel is being planned in late May.
Bertha G. Baunach, 99, of Princeton, died March 30 in University Medical Center at Princeton.
Born Bertha Hedgepeth in Warren County, N.C., she was raised in Virginia and came to Princeton as a young bride in 1932.
She was a member of Kingston Presbyterian Church, having served over the years on its many committees and events. She was secretary of Charles F. Baunach and Sons, Inc. She was an avid baker, sewer, and gardener.
Wife of the late Charles Sr. and mother of the late Virginia L. Baunach, she is survived by two sons, Charles of Princeton and Gerald of Pennington; a daughter, Carolyn of Ewing; a brother, Julian of Hopewell, Va.; and four grandchildren.
The funeral service will be today, April 2 at 11 a.m. at Kingston Presbyterian Church, 4561 State Highway 27, Kingston. Burial will follow in Kingston Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
Friends may call from 10:30 a.m. until time of service at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 529, Princeton 08542; or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
Annette S. Broderick Weinrich of Princeton died March 30 at Merwick in Princeton.
The widow of J. Lawrence Broderick and Carl C. Weinrich, she was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and attended Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and Falls Business College.
She retired in 1973 from Princeton University as administrative aide to the Dean of the University Chapel.
A volunteer for many activities in Princeton, she was member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a 40-year member of the Altar Guild of Trinity Church, and an active member of Trinity Church, Rocky Hill.
She is survived by two daughters, Diane Hamilton of Ashland, Ore. and Linda Miller of Hopewell; eight grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held today, April 2 at All Saints’ Cemetery at 11:30 a.m.
Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
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