University of Minnesota
Center for Medieval Studies

Center for Medieval Studies

Prof Emeritus Robert P Sonkowsky


In December 2003 I was promoted to Professor Emeritus. I am doing what I have always enjoyed -- pursuing Classical studies, theater, chronobiology. I am relieved only of administration, having had a sufficiency (e.g., 13 years, 1965-78, as chairman of my department). My initial appointment at Minnesota was tenured in Classics and in Speech and Theatre Arts, and I worked also with the Medical School’s Franz Halberg in Chronobiology. I have published on ancient and later rhetoric, especially delivery, and oral performance; published cassette albums and CD’s of Classical literature in the restored pronunciation and in translation; acted professionally in many plays; published chronobiologic studies. What may seem to some scholars an odd triangle of interests to continue beyond undergraduate years into a research university makes perfect sense to me. How it does so may be hinted in the writings of the great 4th- and 3rd- century Greek physician Herophilus of Cos, who compared the dilatation, or diastolic movement, of the pulse to the arsis, or upbeat, of a musical/metrical foot, and the contraction, or systolic movement, to the thesis, or downbeat. In so-called retirement I will not have a desk in Classical and Near Eastern Studies unless I am invited to free-lance-teach there, but as of January 2004 I will have one as Honorary Member of the Center for Chronobiology in the Mayo Building, Medical School. I am planning to work there on the history of the concept of time. I shall also no doubt appear in various Twin Cities theaters.


  • acting on stage and screen
  • classical and medieval Latin literature
  • oral performance
  • theater


  • Johannes Trithemius, De Origine Gentis Francorum Compendium: An Abridged History of the Franks. Sonkowsky, Robert, M. Kuelbs, Bibliotheca Germanica, vol. 4, AQ-Verlag, 1987.
  • A Fifteenth-Century Rhetorical Opusculum. Sonkowsky, Robert, Classical Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Honor of B. L. Ullman, pp. 259-281, 1964.
  • Critical Edition of the Latin Rhetorical Treatise De Compositione by Gasparino Barizizza of Bergamo. Sonkowsky, Robert, Year Book of the American Philosophical Society, 629, 1962.
  • Delivery in Ancient Rhetorical Theory. Sonkowsky, Robert, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 90, pp. 256-274, 1959.
  • Scholarship and Showmanship. Sonkowsky, Robert, Arion 1, 1, pp. 102-107, 1992.
  • "Interplanetary and their transdisciplineary signatures resolved by aligning gliding with global spectral windows." Proceedings, 1st International Workshop, Physiology of adaptation and quality of life: problems of traditional medicine and innovation. People“˜s Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia, May 14-16, 2008. p. 396-397. With Katinas GS, CornelissenG, Halberg F, Schwartzkopff O.
  • "Transyears, about 17-month cycles in opinion polls about US president." Proceedings, 1st International Workshop, Physiology of adaptation and quality of life: problems of traditional medicine and innovation. People's Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia, May 14-16, 2008. p. 387-390. With Cornelissen G, Halberg F. et al.
  • Several mini-reviews in the Key Reporter, Spring 2001, including: "The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark" (Dennis R. MacDonald, Yale, 2000), "The Image of Christ" (Gabriele Finaldi, Susanna Avery-Quash, Xavier Bray, Erika Langmuir, Neil MacGregor, and Alexander Sturgis, National Gallery Co. Ltd., London, distributed by Yale, 2000), "The Science of Man in Ancient Greece" (Maria Michela Sassi. Trans. by Paul Tucker. Chicago Univ., 2001), and "Cicero, Catullus, and the Language of Social Performance" (Brian A. Krostenko. Chicago Univ., 2001).
  • "The Uses of Imprecision: `The Clytemnestra Project' at the Guthrie," from The Chorus in Greek Tragedy and Culture, Vol. Two, in Arion Third Series 4.1 Spring 1996, pp. 225-34.
  • "The semantics of heterochrony, if not homeochrony, in chronomes?" Proc. International Workshop, Sun, Moon and Living Matter, Bratislava, Slovakia, June 29-July 1, 1994, pp. 89-99.
  • "Tranio in Plautus' Mostellaria: Building the Character," Text and Presentation, Journal of the Comparative Drama Conference 12 (Gainesville, FL: Maupin House Publishing, 1992)
  • Performance of Literature in Historical Perspective ed. D. Thompson et al. (Univ. Press of America 1983) Chapters 1 and 2 (pp. 1-65): "Oral Performance and Ancient Greek Lit." and "Oral Interpretation of Classical Latin Literature."
  • "Euphantastik Memory and Delivery in the Classical Rhetorical Tradition," Rhetoric 78 ed Brown and Steinmann, 1979, pp. 375-3
  • "Autorhythmometry, Time and the Humanities," International Society for Chronobiology XII International Conference Proceedings, 1977, pp. 167-179.
  • "Individual Differences in Timing of Circadian Rhythms in Psycho-physiologic Performance, Including Results of a Newly Designed Latin Test, " Chronobiologia, Supplement 1 (1975), 65-66.
  • "Aristotle: The Classical Heritage of Rhetoric" (Scarecrow Press, 1974) Chapter 15 "Delivery in Ancient Rhetorical Theory."
  • "Classical Theater and the Burgess-Langham Production of Oedipus the King," Miscellaneous Papers of the Bell Museum of Pathobiology, 1973, pp. 27-33.
  • "Guthrie's Oresteia," Arion, 1968, pp. 154-158, and Drama Survey, 1969, pp. 158-163.
  • "Magister Gasparinus," The Speech Teacher, 12 (1963), 200-203.
  • "Teaching Latin by Interactive Television", published in the Madison conference proceedings as part of "Breaking Through Distance Learning Barriers with Faculty Development Training" Sonkowsky R.P., Conrélissen G. , Halberg F.

Courses Taught

  • Latin 3450 - Advanced Undergraduate Latin: Classical Authors: Horace "Odes and Epodes"
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