Doctor of Philosophy in Classics (PhD)
Disability Theatre and Roman Comedy
I am interested in Greek and Roman poetry and its receptions, and most of my scholarship has focused on ancient theatre. I look at how genre and structure (including metre and other formal elements) can shape a literary work and how it is perceived and understood by its original audience, and by subsequent audiences. My research falls into four broad categories: Greek and Roman Theatre and Stagecraft; Ancient Performance Traditions; Performance, Translation, and Adaptation; Popular Culture and the Reception of Classical Literature. All of these areas can provide material for intelligent and interested graduate students in Classics and related fields. Current and previous students have worked on fragmentary Greek comedy, literary representations of slavery, and medical terminology in poetry (at the doctoral level), and Alciphron, Heliodorus, and Old Norse translations of Roman History (at the MA level).
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Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
This dissertation examines the lasting impact of Apollodorus of Carystus in the tradition of New Comedy. Apollodorus was the most renowned Greek playwright to follow Menander, but he has been conspicuously overlooked in discussions on the fragmentary poets. Taking an integrative approach, this dissertation introduces his fragments into the wider discussion of New Comedy and considers his enduring contribution to the genre through the Latin adaptations of his work: Terence’s Hecyra and Phormio. After contextualizing Apollodorus in modern scholarship, his sources, and the Hellenistic world (Chapter 1), I address the thirty-two surviving fragments. My approach to the fragments (Chapter 2) is an exercise in conjectural criticism that informs a focused, interpretative commentary presented in a discursive format. This analysis builds towards a composite poetic identity of Apollodorus which proves that previous assumptions about Apollodorus as a slavish adherent to the style of Menander must be revisited and that traditional narratives about third-century comedy be re-examined. The following chapters examine Terence’s Hecyra and Phormio as sites of reception for Apollodorus in Rome. Chapter 3 provides a more complete understanding of how Hecyra, in conjunction with Terence’s Adelphoe, functioned at the funeral games of L. Aemilius Paullus in 160 BCE. A systematic comparative analysis of the two plays not only provides new insight into how the tandem production was meant to honor the deceased, but also shows that political and financial motivations were at work as well. Chapter 4 refocuses modern interpretations of the complex characterization of the title character of Phormio by applying a reception-studies approach to character analysis using ninth-century Carolingian miniatures as the guiding reception event. This analysis validates the modern understanding of Phormio as an amalgamation of several stock characters and introduces previously undetected elements of his character drawing. This study represents the first discursive commentary on this overlooked playwright to consider all the extant fragments. It offers an important response to the Menandrocentric model of Greek New Comedy and provides crucial insight into the afterlife of Apollodorus in Roman contexts, addressing critical gaps in the scholarship by applying new approaches to old evidence.
This dissertation examines (1) the contributions that classical Greek medical writers made to preexisting anatomical vocabulary; and (2) how, why, and to what extent these terms were appropriated by non-medical authors. The project’s broad scope, including investigations into anatomical terms in the Homeric epics and in classical drama and prose, is intended to build upon previous studies of Greek medical vocabulary and its dissemination in the classical period. This approach authorizes a better sense of medical influences upon classical Greek thought and, more specifically, of how physicians’ novel notions about the body were received by other intellectual elites. Therefore, this dissertation also contributes to our understanding of the conceptual negotiations that occur when a society is exposed to the new ideas of a specific intellectual group. The study begins with a contextualization of its aims and methodology within broader investigations into cultural and medical constructions of the body. Chapter 2 examines anatomical terminology in the Homeric epics to provide a baseline for the state of later Greek anatomical vocabulary. Chapter 3 provides an analysis of classical Greek medical approaches to the body through a study of medical treatises contained within the Hippocratic Corpus. This chapter further identifies specific terms apparently created by physicians to record and relate their detailed observations of the body. Following a discussion of the general public’s interests in medical thought in Athens (chapter 4), the remaining chapters examine evidence for the broader dissemination of medical anatomical terms. Emphasis is placed on the plays of Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes (chapters 5 and 6), and on the prose writings of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Plato (chapter 7) as representative authors who are educated but not medical professionals. The dissertation concludes with a list of anatomical terms used in archaic and classical Greek writings (Appendix 1). From this study, it emerges that medical anatomical vocabulary, and more generally medical models of the body, were received with a blend of fascination, anxiety, and suspicion. The appropriation of medical terms by lay-writers suggests the educated elite’s increasing familiarity with medical ideas during the late 5th and early 4th centuries BCE.
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
No abstract available.
Rómverja saga (‘The Saga of the Romans’) is an Old Icelandic translation of three Latin works by Sallust and Lucan on historical themes from the classical period. In this thesis, I provide the first English translation of this little-known text in the hope that it might prove a tool for scholars interested in the reception of Latin literature in the medieval period. The saga is a free rendition of its models, and as such it gives us a glimpse into what elements a culture removed in both time and place valued and appropriated from Classical Rome. In the introduction, I will start by placing Rómverja saga in its literary context. I will then review the modern scholarship on the saga, focusing on its two different versions. Following that, I will list features and key terms that show how the redactor has adapted the text to his native context. The introduction ends with an overview of my translation choices. The translation of the second version of Rómverja saga follows
No abstract available.
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