Thursday, January 8, 2009

Professor Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Historian.

First and foremost, this blog aims to provide the cyberspace with high resolution photographs of Peter Brown. Most of his readers, admirers, and prize-givers feel dismayed by the lack of personal images on the web of a man of such a relevance. Then, here they are.
You may use it free of charges, in the proper way. It’s up to you to decide if and when is it necessary to quote authorship.

Hereby, you can find also some useful references and sources about Peter Brown’s life and works. I would recommend especially reading his honorific lectures, which offer to the reader the rich opportunity to follow such a magnificent and creative mind in his historic and genetic intimacy, truth and self commitment.

Peter Brown is one of the greatest humanists ever, and one of the best historians since the times of Herodotus and Thucydides. Although he applies a large amount of imagination, intuition, and literary aesthetics to his works, these are always the result of deep and extensive research, covering with wisdom a vast array of languages, academic fields, theories, literatures, arts, geographic areas, and historical times. It means, of course, constant and voluminous work; sun, rain, and even angels may fall from heaven, but not true erudition.

Peter Brown received some very important prizes, such as the Arts Council of Great Britain Award (1967), the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award (1989), the Vursell Award (1990), the Heineken Prize, Amsterdam (1994), the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Lettres et des Arts (1996), and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship (2002), as well as Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2000) and, in 2008, The Kruger Prize of the Library of the Congress. Even so, I hope the counselors of the Nobel Committees in Stockholm can realize that the last and only historian to win the Nobel prize was Theodor Mommsen (1902), more than a century ago. Now, they have the opportunity to chancel to their worldly audiences the name of the author of one of the most important turning points in the humanities in the last decades: Peter Robert Lamont Brown, the demiourgos of Late Antique studies.

At a more personal level, I must add my testimony of the true human greatness of Peter Brown. I (and probably you, dear reader) know many masters and wonderful persons of different levels and ranks, but no one is comparable to Peter Brown in human greatness. It is not only about humanistic excellence or academic radiance. It is about a true sense of life, beauty, meaning, and friendship. Even being a high-mileage 1935 Irish model, he displays a permanent youthfulness (isn't he, in fact, Peter Pan?), and has a refreshing pleasure in living in a running world of wishes, curiosities, needs, travels, news, cities, and people. So, around him, there’s always an ambiance of intense life and beautiful motivation. It is my opinion that Peter Brown is someone whose life and work has been enhancing humankind, opening new paths of understanding, as well as providing exempla that must be honored. The ancients would praise such a man with heroic honors, others (like some of his students) would try to deify him. It is beautiful to see how he, enveloped by the love and cares of Betsy, much cherished by his many friends, can survive all that and keep being Peter Brown, ever moving forward.

Peter Brown and Rita Lizzi-Testa

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