How anyone could be fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology puzzled me. I had always found the myths too improbable, violent and difficult to follow with all the complex, consonant-filled names of characters. In the summer of 1970, I was squeezing my class load into the busy schedule of a mother of four young children and a commuter from east of Lake Washington. I worked as an elementary school librarian and was in the midst of earning my master's degree in librarianship. I had enrolled in Paul Pascal's class, Greek and Roman Mythology, because of the many references to the mythical characters and incidents in stories and paintings.
Dr. Pascal was the consummate storyteller: knowledgeable, articulate, funny, dramatic, and possessed of an impressive vocabulary. The large class sat silently so as to catch every nuance and every aside. He made those Greek and Roman gods come alive for us. We came to know all their conflicted personalities. We learned principles of mythology that we could see played out in our own lives. For instance, who has not noticed that Cupid shoots his arrows into the most unlikely combinations of lovers! Dr. Pascal also inspired a strong interest in etymology by weaving in Greek and Latin words with explanations of their original meanings.
The following spring I traveled to Greece and was able to apply my learning to geography, exhibits, statuary, and architecture. I have never been so prepared to visit a foreign land, and I still enjoy connecting the myths to art, literature, and psychology.
The class notes sit on my bookshelf and I refer to them now and then. My life is richer thanks to Dr. Pascal.
Jill A. B. Andrews, '71, '93
When we read the "My Favorite Teacher" issue, I had one response: no one wrote about Paul Pascal??!! Allow me to correct that oversight.
I entered the U as an art major, but a savvy advisor suggested I "look into" Classics 210 (27 years ago and I still remember the course title). Paul Pascal had me from day one. Over the course of my undergraduate career I took every course that had his name next to it in the Time Schedule. The "Classics" were "hep" to Paul Pascal (he delighted in using the word "hep" as a sort of "in" joke). His sense of narrative and drama kept me mesmerized. Lucretius became my favorite poet and I knew the Aeschylus plays by heart. His passion became my passion. But he was no pushover. Even SPELLING counted in the grueling (you MUST remember this!) essay exams.
As recently as two years ago, I visited the Peloponnesian peninsula and, soaking up the local history I thought, so FONDLY, (and so VIVIDLY) of those early years in Pascal's classes. Who knew at 18 what lifelong appreciations and understandings were being awakened by a passionate, articulate, FUNNY, walking Classics encyclopedia? Paul Pascal was a treasure.
Pat Rampp, '76, '84
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