PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — David Konstan, the John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and the Humanistic Tradition and professor of comparative literature at Brown University, was honored today by the American Philological Association (APA) for the best book in the field of classical studies published in the last three years by association members. The APA named Konstan the recipient of the 2008 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit for his book, The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks, published by the University of Toronto Press. The award was announced at the APA’s 140th annual meeting, held this year in Philadelphia.
The premise for Konstan’s book is that the emotions of the ancient Greeks — anger, shame, fear, love, hatred, pity, jealousy, and grief — were in some significant respects different from modern conceptions, and that recognizing these differences is important to understanding ancient Greek literature and culture. The selection committee called the publication “a splendid achievement and a new benchmark in the study of philosophy and the emotions.”
“I am deeply honored to have received this award from my colleagues in the American Philological Association,” said Konstan. “I feel above all a sense of gratitude, which the ancient Greeks were wise enough to consider one of the basic emotions. We still, I believe, have much to learn from them about human sentiments, both from the differences between them and us, and from the similarities.”
Konstan, who has been teaching at Brown since 1987, focuses his work on ancient Greek and Latin literature and on classical and Hellenistic philosophy. In addition to his book on the emotions of the ancient Greeks, Konstan has written books on friendship in the classical world and the notion of pity in both pagan and Christian thought. He has also worked on ancient Greek physics and atomic theory and on ancient literary theory.
The Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, named in honor of a long-time member and benefactor, is the APA’s single honor for scholarly achievement. Awarded annually, it recognizes an outstanding contribution to classical scholarship published during the previous three years.
The American Philological Association, founded in 1869, is the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures and civilizations.