Anne Pippin Burnett, renowned scholar of Greek poetry, 1925–2017

Andrew Bauld
News Officer for Arts and HumanitiesNews Office

Prof. Anne Pippin Burnett, a renowned scholar of Greek poetry and a UChicago faculty member for more than three decades, passed away April 26 at her home in Kingston, Ontario. She was 91. 

Burnett focused her research on Greek tragedies and lyrical poetry. She wrote extensively on the archaic and early classical periods, including three books on the ancient Greek poet, Pindar.

Burnett, professor emerita in the Department of Classics, first joined the UChicago faculty in 1961 as an assistant professor, becoming a professor in 1970. She served as chairman of the Department of Classical Languages and Literatures from 1969 thru 1973. She retired in 1992.

Longtime colleague Peter White, the Herman C. Bernick Family Professor in Classics and the College, remembered Burnett as a true star of the department.

“Anne chose to study poets like Euripides and Pindar who were challenging intellectually and brilliant verbally, which was just what her own writing was like,” said White, who joined the UChicago faculty in 1968. “Although she was a celebrity in our field, she did not seem to chase celebrity. She just wrote and wrote one interesting, original study after another, and her audience grew.”

Prior to her time at UChicago, Burnett taught at Vassar College and worked as an editor and translator at the Hachette publishing house.

Among her many honors during a distinguished academic career, Burnett was selected as a Guggenheim fellow in 1981 and delivered the Classics Department’s inaugural George B. Walsh Memorial Lecture in 1989.

She is survived by daughters Maud Burnett McInerney and Melissa Gromoff and three grandchildren. 

A memorial service is planned for the fall.