R. S. Fitzgerald, Harvard Classicist, Dies

From Times Wire Services

Robert S. Fitzgerald, a Harvard University professor emeritus, poet and Greek classics scholar whose translations have become accepted standards, died Wednesday at age 74.

Fitzgerald died at his home in Hamden, Conn., after a long illness, a Harvard spokesman said.

He succeeded poet Archibald MacLeish in 1965 as professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard, where he graduated in 1933. His translations of Homer's "The Odyssey" and "Iliad" and Sophocles' "Oedipus at Colonus" were "widely known and admired," the university said in a statement.

Because he was a poet himself he avoided literal translations. His translation of "The Odyssey" was particularly revered, winning awards when it was published in 1961 after 10 years of work.

Fitzgerald grew up in Springfield, Ill. He published two collections of poems in the 1930s and '40s in between reporting careers with the New York Herald Tribune and Time magazine.

After World War II, he was poetry editor for the New Republic and then began his college teaching career.

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