Former Shows & Episodes

Word Patriots

Mark Seinfelt

Word Patriots – The multifaceted Eugene O’Connor

Word patriots often wear different hats and serve the word in multiple ways. This week’s guest Eugene O’Connor is a perfect example of such a comprehensive and versatile word patriot. A poet and translator, Eugene is also the managing editor and acquiring editor in classics at The Ohio State University Press. His research interests include Greek and Roman elegy and epigram and the reception of the classics. Eugene received his Ph.D. in classics at the University of California. In 1993 he translated “The Essential Epicurus: Letters, Principal Doctrines, Vatican Sayings, and Fragments,” which was published by Prometheus Books in its Great Books in Philosophy series. John J. McGraw, author of “Brain and Belief” wrote that “O’Connor’s translations personify the philosopher himself—they are clear and elegant. ‘The Essential Epicurus’ is an insightful, exciting, and pleasant read.” Among Eugene’s recent publications is an English translation, with introduction, notes and commentary, of “Hermaphroditus” by the fifteenth century Italian Renaissance humanist and scholar Antonio Panormita. Eugene’s translation, published in 2001 by Lexington Press, brings to life this little known Renaissance writer’s bawdy masterpiece. O’Connor’s excellent introduction offers a wealth of historical and literary information on Panormita’s often profane poetry, which is presented in both English and the Latin original. Although Eugene claims he came rather late to poetry, he has published poems and translations in many journals and anthologies, including “The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature.” His most recently published collection of poetry is a chapbook of original poems titled “Derelict Mansions” (2011, Puddinghouse Press). On a personal note, Eugene was my editor at Prometheus Books, where he aided me in preparing and polishing the manuscript of “Final Drafts.” This week Eugene and I discuss what an author should expect from his or her editor, the difficulties of translation, how Epicurus’ philosophy has been maligned and misunderstood over the centuries, and Eugene’s current research project with Kenneth W. Goings, of the African American and African Studies Department at The Ohio State University, on the subject of African Americans and the classics from the 1870s to the 1940s, particularly the teaching of the Greek and Latin classics at black colleges in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: Be sure also to visit Amazon page for “The Essential Epicurus”: