Wesley Trimpi ’50, professor emeritus of English, died March 6 of pneumonia. He was 85.
Trimpi, who returned to Stanford in 1957 after receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard, taught poetry in the Department of English until his retirement in 1992.
At the beginning of his career, Trimpi published work on 17th-century lyric poetry. As his career proceeded, he developed an interest in ancient poetic theory.
One of his most well-known books is “Muses of One Mind: The Literary Analysis of Experience and Its Continuity,” which explores the history of the field of literary criticism and how ancient writing on literature used terms from other fields like mathematics and philosophy.
Trimpi continued this work with analysis of Plato, Aristotle and Horace.
Kathy Eden Ph.D. ’80, a current Columbia professor who had been a graduate student under Trimpi, spoke about Trimpi to the Stanford News Service.
“The questions that preoccupied him in and out of the classroom proved fundamental to understanding the deep investment of the ancients, their admirers and even their detractors, throughout the centuries in what we call ‘literature’ today,” she said.