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Ted Kenney

last modified Jan 02, 2020 04:51 PM
The Faculty is very sorry to have to report the death, aged 95, of Ted Kenney, Kennedy Professor of Latin (from 1974 to 1982), on December 23rd 2019.

Ted Kenney’s death on December 23rd 2019 at the age of 95 deprives Cambridge’s Faculty of Classics of one of its longest serving members and the wider classical world of one of its finest scholars. After a year as Assistant Lecturer in Leeds (1951–2), Ted spent the whole of his career in Cambridge, first as Research Fellow of Trinity (1952–3) and then as Fellow of Peterhouse (1953–91); in the Faculty of Classics he was successively Assistant Lecturer, Lecturer, Reader, and Kennedy Professor of Latin, holding that chair from 1974 until his retirement in 1982. Ted was one of those whose pioneering insistence that classical literature should be analysed and appreciated and not merely translated played a major part in the transformation of the syllabuses of British classical departments in the 1960s and 1970s. Equally influential has been The Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics, which Ted founded with Pat Easterling in the 1960s and with which he continued to be involved until 2014; now running to over 110 volumes, the series has provided many of the texts read by undergraduates with exegesis that is literary as well as grammatical and factual. At the heart of Ted’s own scholarly work was his lucid and sure-footed editing of, and commentating on, classical Latin texts. He edited Ovid’s amatory poetry and some of the Appendix Vergiliana for the Oxford Classical Texts, and he published commentaries (with accompanying freshly edited texts) on Ovid’s ‘double’ Heroides and Metamorphoses books 7–9, the pseudo-Virgilian Moretum, the tale of Cupid & Psyche in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, and Lucretius book III. The Classical Text, the published version of his Sather lectures, is a history of editing from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. No one did more than Ted to foster the renewed scholarly interest in Ovid that began in the second half of the twentieth century. Ted’s impeccable knowledge of Latin and his wide learning in both the Classics and more generally in humane culture inspired awe and some trepidation in many of those who met him for the first time, but (as scores of contributors to the Greek and Latin Classics testify) he was extremely generous with his time in helping young and old alike, and to all a correspondent with a ready wit. Friend to many, retired for longer than he was in post but still publishing after his ninetieth birthday, and a marvellous source of anecdote about Cambridge and Classics in his long lifetime, Ted represented an ideal of a classical uiridis senectus. The Faculty sends its sincerest condolences and best wishes to Anne and to all those close to him.

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