Gilbert Highet


Biography of Gilbert Highet

Gilbert Arthur Highet (June 22, 1906 – January 20, 1978) was a Scottish-American classicist, academic, writer, intellectual, critic and literary historian.

Born in Scotland, Gilbert Highet is best known as a mid-20th-century teacher of the humanities in the United States. He attended Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford, becoming a fellow of St John's College, Oxford in 1932, where he remained for six years. He had met his wife, the well-known novelist Helen MacInnes, while they were fellow-students at Glasgow, and they married in 1932. In 1938 he was appointed to the chair of Latin & Greek at Columbia University. He stayed at Columbia until 1971 (except for British Army service during World War II). He became an American citizen in 1951, following his appointment as Anthon Professor of Latin Language and Literature in 1950. See his obituary in The Times, January 26, 1978.

Highet devoted most of his energy to teaching, but he also aspired to raise the level of mass culture and achieved broader influence by publishing essays and books, hosting his own radio program, acting as a judge for the Book-of-the-Month Club, and serving on the editorial board of Horizon magazine.

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