In Memoriam: Georg Hans Bhawani Luck
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In Memoriam:
Georg Hans Bhawani Luck

On the death of Georg Luck, noted former editor of AJP, our publisher, The Johns Hopkins University Press, asked Professor Richard Macksey, who knew Georg well as a colleague and friend, to write this remembrance.

Colleagues and friends of Georg Luck here are joined by longtime readers of this journal in mourning his passing on 17 February; always sensitive to the magic of numbers, Georg would have noted that this date was also his eighty-seventh birthday. His education and teaching took him from his natal city of Bern to many academic escales on both sides of the Atlantic but the last forty-three years of his life were happily spent in Baltimore. Those who knew him over the years found him either the most American of Swiss classicists or the most Swiss of the Americans.

His scholarly itinerary began in Bern, where, after a humanistic preparation at Gymnasium Kirchenfeld (1944), he served as a volunteer in the Swiss Army, then proceeding to the University. After his baccalaureate, he continued in classical studies at Bern, with a year spent at the Sorbonne (1949–50) and, during his first American tour, further graduate study at Harvard (MA, 1952). Georg completed his doctorate at Bern (1953) with a dissertation on the philosopher Antiochus of Ascalon, a pupil of Philon, the last undisputed head of the Late Academy. This textual and influence study was published the same year as a monograph, Der Akademiker Antiochos.

Georg’s first encounter with the New World included teaching posts at three of the older New England universities: Yale (1952), Brown (1953 and 1954), and Harvard (1955–1958). By far the most important event of the two years spent in Providence was extracurricular: his meeting and later marrying the former Harriet Richards Greenough; their marriage of fifty-six years, supplemented by the arrival of their three children, brought Georg a continuing education in contemporary American culture, a role in which he took much pleasure and proved himself an apt student.

This first transatlantic period was followed by a Guggenheim Fellowship and a return to Europe to teach at the University of Mainz (1958–1962). He then accepted an appointment at Bonn, an institution with a long tradition of philological and philosophic inquiry, which led to an Ordinariat. In 1970 Georg and the family moved for the last time, again across the Atlantic, to Baltimore and Hopkins.

As the new editor of AJP, Georg Luck’s first decision was, characteristically, to establish a link to the journal’s past—to assemble a collection [End Page v] of essays honoring his immediate predecessor, Henry T. Rowell, who had served as editor for twenty-six years, interrupted only by his military duties during World War II. In the introduction to this volume (the January 1972 number and the first under Georg’s guidance), after saluting the qualities of mind and character that Henry Rowell had brought to his task, his successor justly chose to praise a new direction that Henry had lately given to the journal:

Henry Rowell has done a great deal to make literary criticism respectable in the eyes of the classicists. His strong interest in modern currents and his encouragement of younger scholars helped produce important work in the field. There is a particular type of critical essay, both graceful and learned, which has developed in the Journal over the last ten years or so, and even if Henry Rowell did not invent the genus he certainly gave it his full attention.

These are not the opinions of an editor automatically hostile to change within a discipline nor one retreating behind generational barricades. And he generously recognizes the attentive openness in his tough-minded predecessor. (To take but one ad hominem example: we can only speculate on Henry’s initial response to Bernard Knox’s early Sophocles essays submitted to AJP; but Henry gave them his “full attention” and published them.) The decade of Georg Luck’s first term of editorship (1972–1981) was one that saw major changes in the profession, both in the classroom and in the vectors of research. Some of these changes can, grosso modo...


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