Peter Thornton

Peter was born in Key West, Florida, during World War II, and moved to New York City with his parents shortly after the war. He was a greatly accomplished attorney, professor, poet, translator, and scholar.
Throughout his life, Peter was a voracious reader and a serious scholar. He spoke and read, to varying degrees, eight languages: In addition to his native English, Peter knew Italian, French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, German, and Arabic. He went to Regis High School, a Jesuit high school for gifted students, in Manhattan, followed by a full scholarship to Boston College. Peter received a Ph.D. in English literature from Stanford, doing his dissertation on Milton’s Paradise Lost under the intense director of arguable the age’s leading Milton scholar, Yvor Winters. . Finally, Peter received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review, followed by a clerkship with the Illinois Supreme Court.
In his academic career, Peter was a very popular English professor at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. In his legal career, he practised for thirty-six years, specializing in utilities law. Peter represented Exelon, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, for most of his career, both in-house as an assistant general counsel, and as outside counsel at several prominent law firms: Eimer Stahl, Sidley Austin, and Isham, Lincoln, and Beale.
While he practised law, Peter never lost his love for great poetry. He spent nearly twenty years translating Dante’s Inferno from the medieval Italian to modern English with a depp range of informative footnotes that showed him at the cutting edge of renaissance scholarship. Similar decades were spent in his modern rhymed translations of the works of Petrarch. Peter passed away in December 2019, some weeks after a radiantly satsifying few days at his home near Chicago in the final editorial conference for this new Petrarch translation. It is the sweetest way to have crowned his life.