Bernstein Latin Declamation Competition
Natalia Alvarez, Max Goldman, Mike Halper, William Bernstein
On April 11, 2013, our Department held its 30th annual Morris H. Bernstein, Jr. Competition in Latin Declamation. Endowed by alum William Bernstein, the contest has every year brought together oral athletes from across the Department, who are asked to memorize an assigned passage of Latin poetry and recite another of Latin prose with as much as gusto and precision as they can muster. Our judges this year were Barbara Bowen (Emerita Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Vanderbilt University), Mark Anderson (Professor of Philosophy, Belmont University), and our own Max Goldman ex officio as organizer of the competition.
This year Professor Goldman selected passages on the theme of "Rivals in Love." From the tragedy of Catullus #8, steeling himself to be tough after rejection by Lesbia, to the histrionic prose of Petronius' Encolpius, after his own Giton has left him for Ascyltos (Satyricon, 84.2-6), the passages allowed students to deploy all the resources of their rhetorical handbooks to elicit tears from an enraptured audience.
The final certamen came down to Natalia Alvarez and Mike Halper. Both students poured their guts out, but in the end the judges decided that Mike's rendition had been most heartrending, and the prize for his labors was a $300 gift token to the University Barnes & Noble and (a more lasting kleos) his name inscribed on the commemorative plaque with previous winners.
Max Goldman announces this year's winner upon the staircase of Cohen Memorial Hall
Mike Halper receives his award, a $300 gift certificate to the Vanderbilt Book Store
reception in Cohen Memorial Hall afterwards