Early life and education
Douglas Maitland Knight was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He attended Yale University in 1938 and earned all three of his degrees in English there: his B.A. in 1942, his M.A. in 1944, and finally his Ph.D. in 1946.
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 After completing his doctoral studies, Knight remained at Yale undertaking research and would eventually make tenure. Knight was particularly interested in Alexander Pope, the great 18th-century poet and translator of Homer. Knight studied Pope’s use of the heroic couplet and his translations of Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey. In one work, Knight compared Pope to Homer and found that Pope was more a student of Homer’s than he was a mere translator. Dr. Knight also received 12 honorary degrees from colleges and universities throughout the country, including degrees from both of his former homes, Lawrence College and Duke University, as well as institutions such as Knox College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.