Larry Dean Benson, 86

first_imgAt a Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Oct. 4, 2016, the following Minute was placed upon the records. In 1966, on the eve of his tenure review, Larry Dean Benson published “The Literary Character of Anglo-Saxon Formulaic Poetry.” Its timing and subject matter set this article apart, because it pointedly targeted the scholarship of a senior colleague who was about to pass judgment on Larry’s promotion. According to departmental lore, his case went forward despite certain voices in opposition. Such boldness is not surprising in someone who, fresh out of high school, enlisted in the Marines for a five-year tour that took him to Korea, where his unit saw action in the invasion of 1950. His wartime experience puts Larry’s fierce sense of academic freedom into perspective. If he was going to receive tenure, it would be on his own terms.One of the most accomplished American medievalists of the twentieth century, Larry Benson retired in 1999 as the Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English, Emeritus. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California–Berkeley in 1959, Larry began a long, illustrious career at Harvard, which included several years as Senior Tutor of Quincy House and two stints as chair of the Department of English. He wrote and edited many books, the most important of which were “Art and Tradition in ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’” (1965); Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur” (1976); “King Arthur’s Death: The Middle English ‘Stanzaic Morte Arthur,’ and ‘Alliterative Morte Arthure’ (1974); and, most famously, “The Riverside Chaucer” (1987), for which, as general editor, he orchestrated a complex network of collaboration. Stephen Barney, one of the many editors, writes, “Larry did a fantastic job of editing: unfussy, practically always right, capable like truly accomplished people of stepping out of the way when it was appropriate, his eye steadily on the main thing.” Among Larry’s many other publications, a selection of his essays are reprinted in Contradictions: From Beowulf to Chaucer (1995).Larry was a pioneer in the digital humanities long before anyone thought of calling it that. After “The Riverside Chaucer” was completed, he seized the computer tapes from the publisher and, realizing the potential in machine-readable texts, taught himself to code Unix. One result was A Glossarial Concordance to “The Riverside Chaucer” (1993); another was his Chaucer website, which went up in the 1990s and since 2004 has tallied over 83 million visits from students across the world.Larry was a brilliant lecturer whose Core course on The Canterbury Tales enrolled as many as 300 students. One of his teaching fellows, Susanna Fein, recalls his style of lecturing:He characteristically taught with nervous energy, pacing a bit, jingling coins in his pockets, conveying through his own penetrating intelligence the brilliance, humor, and humanity of Chaucer. I learned much by watching him teach—each term was better than the last—never, for me, a repetition. He would enter the room brimming with new ideas born of his editorial attention to Chaucer. Even though I was there to aid the undergraduates, I came to feel like this was a master seminar just for me.He taught a variety of other courses, from surveys to specialized seminars. From 1995 to 2009 he brought his course on The Canterbury Tales to Harvard’s Extension School.What graduate students remember most vividly about Larry are Thursdays. In the late 1970s he started the Medieval Doctoral Conference, during which graduate students and professors gathered to discuss a paper. It was Larry’s way of fostering a scholarly community. The weekly ritual would begin with lunch at a local seafood restaurant, as Christopher Cannon, a former graduate student, recalls:[We would] all get together and enjoy each other’s company, irrespective of what the topic for the seminar was later. The speaker was always invited. And sometimes we did talk about something serious. But it was usually pretty raucous. . . . It really bonded us as a cohort of medievalists (it was so good for our confidence) but he did it all by force of his own happiness.At these lunches Larry’s vigorous, irreverent sense of humor was at its best in exposing the pretensions of those who should know better. He took special delight in celebrity scandals. Later in the afternoon on Thursdays the group would reconvene for the talk, still in a buoyant mood from lunch. No one bothered to think too hard about what kind of professionalization they were inflicting on the graduate students, but it worked. Now over thirty-five years old, the Medieval Doctoral Conference continues to be a centerpiece of the community of medievalists in the English Department.Larry’s self-deprecating manner deflected attention from his enormous accomplishments, but his longtime colleague Derek Pearsall was not fooled:Larry was a master of deceit. He deceived everyone into thinking that he was an idle, irresponsible, philistine son of the Arizona soil, whose main pleasure was in drinking and smoking and telling stories of a generally incorrect nature, and whose greatest delight and cause of self-congratulation was to have put one over on the eastern academic establishment. None of this was true, or nearly none of it. Larry was a scholar of great range and depth of learning whose judgment was meticulous and expressed only on those subjects that he knew about (a rare form of restraint).His distinctive gifts as a scholar included a capacious memory, a philologist’s attention to detail, and a literary critic’s perceptiveness. The voice that emerges from his writing is clear and compelling, always attuned to the literature he loved.His many honors include admission to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982. In 1974 he was made a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, an organization he cared about deeply. He also served on the editorial boards of numerous journals and publishing projects.Larry Benson died on Feb. 16, 2015, at the age of 86. Deeply devoted to his family, he was predeceased by his wife, Margaret, and his son Gavin. He is survived by three children—Cassandra, Amanda, and Geoffrey—and by ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.Respectfully submitted,Joseph C. HarrisW. James SimpsonNicholas WatsonDaniel G. Donoghue, Chairlast_img read more

Penn looks for road win vs Brown

first_img February 29, 2020 VETERAN PRESENCE: Each of these teams has relied heavily on their seniors this year. Brandon Anderson, Zach Hunsaker and Joshua Howard have collectively scored 50 percent of Brown’s points this season and 55 percent of the team’s points over its last five games. For Penn, AJ Brodeur, Devon Goodman and Ryan Betley have collectively accounted for 55 percent of the team’s total scoring.DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Quakers have allowed only 67.8 points per game across 11 conference games, an improvement from the 75.5 per game they allowed over 12 non-conference games.OFFENSIVE THREAT: Brodeur has directly created 47 percent of all Penn field goals over the last five games. The senior forward has 33 field goals and 23 assists in those games.SCORING THRESHOLDS: Brown is 0-10 when its offense scores 63 points or fewer. Penn is a perfect 6-0 when it holds opponents to 62 or fewer points.STREAK STATS: Penn has scored 65.7 points per game and allowed 70.3 over its three-game road losing streak. Associated Press Penn looks for road win vs Browncenter_img DID YOU KNOW: Brown has attempted the second-most free throws among all Ivy League teams. The Bears have averaged 18.9 foul shots per game this season.___For more AP college basketball coverage: and was generated by Automated Insights,, using data from STATS LLC, Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditPenn (13-11, 5-6) vs. Brown (13-11, 6-5)Paul Bailey Pizzitola Sports Center, Providence, Rhode Island; Saturday, 6 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: Penn looks for its third straight win over Brown at Paul Bailey Pizzitola Sports Center. Brown’s last win at home against the Quakers came on Jan. 30, 2016.last_img read more


first_imgMORE THAN 400 people took part in the Caolan Melaugh 5k on Friday evening.The charity event is to raise money for the local lad who is battling a rare form of cancer.All the results from the event are below:  129315.10Gallagher, GerardSMFV AC256216.05CRAWFORD GAVINSM24/7 TRIATHLON CLUB361716.09COLLINS CIARANSMPROJECT AFRICA ATHLETICS455116.22MCFADDEN JAMESSMIND558316.37MCELHINNEY KIERANSMFV AC634816.45McElhill, JohnSMFV AC763417.02COX DAMIENM40OMAGH HARRIERS855717.11O’DONNELL SEAMUSM40CONVOY AC926117.15Callaghan, DerekSMFV AC1051617.38GALLAGHER SHANESMFV AC1126417.45Carlin, JonathonSMFV AC1263717.45ELLIOTT NIALLJMLIFFORD AC1372517.56WHORSKIEY JOHNSMRAMELTON1462917.58STEVENSON JAMESSMLIFFORD AC1551318.14DONAGHEY JAMESM40CONVOY AC1657918.24TAYLOR JOHNM50CONVOY AC1749718.33BROWNE DAMIENSMRED HUGHS1861018.38CONNOLLY PAULSMLIFFORD AC1954018.49MATTHEWSON CIARANSMIND2070018.49ROWAN DENIMSMRED HUGHS2129718.54Gallagher, MichaelM40FV AC2264418.58ODONNELL 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ElaineW40Donaghamore41334149.03McCafferty, BernadetteW50DonaghamoreNO FINISHERS413RESULTS: WHERE DID YOU COME IN THE CAOLAN MELAUGH 5K was last modified: July 26th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:5kBaby Caolan MelaughResultslast_img read more

Why Everyone is Talking About Death

first_imgby, Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.orgTweetShare6ShareEmail6 SharesNext week on February 10 Frontline will air a feature following writer and physician Atal Gawande as he explores relationships with patients nearing the end of life. It’s one of many examples of the extraordinary impact his new book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End has had on the national conversation around death.This new conversation about death has been dominating headlines and casting light on the failure of health care and medicine to help people navigate the final stage of life. From my perspective it feels like a genuine shift in public attitude is underway and I’d like to know if our readers agree.Ironically, this conversation kicked off in September with a horribly ageist essay by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel about why he didn’t think life was worth living past age 75. He argued that all medical interventions and efforts to prolong life should be abandoned after age 75 because older people have little to offer society and increasing frailty and illness reduces their quality of life.His essay only lacked the suggestion we recycle old people into Soylent Green to make it perfect satire. Fortunately, greater minds than Emanuel’s quickly weighed in on the subject.The real game-changer on death came the following month when Gawande’s book entered the conversation. It became an instant bestseller and elevated the topic of aging and death to the highest level of media attention I’ve seen.Being Mortal touches on similar theme’s to Emanuel’s pessimistic rant. But this passage by Gawande perfectly captures what Emanuel was probably feeling but totally failed to grasp:Medical professionals concentrate on repair of the health, not sustenance of the soul. Yet- and this is the painful paradox- we have decided that they should be the ones who largely define how we live in our waning days. For more than half a century now, we have treated the trials of sickness, aging, and mortality as medical concerns. It’s been an experiment in social engineering, putting our fates in the hands of people valued more for their technical prowess than for their understanding of human needs.That experiment has failed. If safety and protection were all we sought in life, perhaps we could conclude differently. But because we seek a life of worth and purpose, and yet are routinely denied the conditions that might make it possible, there is no other way to see what modern society has done.There’s an assumption that our society’s dysfunctional approach to aging and dying is a consequence of our fear and reluctance to talk about death. I’ve often made that argument. But our feelings about death and how it relates to the health care system are much more complex. As health care report Sarah Kliff posits in a brilliant essay for Vox, Gawande’s book makes it clear the debate is more about autonomy than death. Kliff writes:This conversation is really about autonomy. It is about what makes life worth living, and if, in keeping people alive for so long, we are consigning them to a fate worse than death.Autonomy is at the heart of every decision we, and our loved ones, have to make when it comes to living with frailty or facing death. As we lose functional independence, it is our autonomy that is quickly sacrificed in exchange for “safety” and in favor of the routines of medicalized, institutional care.And when we lose track of what makes life worth living (often in desperate pursuit of life itself), we truly see the limitations of highly medicalized system of care. There are genuine reasons to fear a highly medicalized death in America today. As Dr. Ira Byock points out in the recent New York Times op-ed Dying Shouldn’t Be So Brutal:Since 1997, the Institute of Medicine has produced a shelf of scholarly reports detailing the systemic dysfunctions, deficiencies and cultural blinders that make dying in America treacherous. Most people want to drift gently from life, optimally at home, surrounded by people they love. Epidemiological and health service studies paint an alarmingly different picture.Byock is a pioneer of palliative care and hospice and literally wrote the book the Best Care Possible at the end of life. He argues in his op-ed that better approaches to end-of-life care are both feasible and affordable, if only consumers would demand it.Those of us who have been on a quest to transform care have been standing on a two-legged stool. We’ve demonstrated higher quality and lower costs. Missing is the visible, vocal citizen-consumer demand. Without it, large-scale change will not happen.This argument will sound familiar to fans of Dr. Bill Thomas and our readers active in the culture change movement in long term care. It can be different. The models to improve both long term care and end-of-life care have been developed, tested and proven. What will it take to get them enacted on a larger scale?The answer to that question is going to be a major focus for ChangingAging in 2015. It ties directly to the theme of Dr. Thomas’ upcoming national #DisruptAging Tour (details to be released soon). I would love to know if our readers are seeing similar changes — ESPECIALLY readers who are currently facing end-of-life decisions, either for themselves or loved ones.Related PostsTweetShare6ShareEmail6 SharesTags: Being Mortal deathlast_img read more