Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer

Biography and Interests: 

Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer

Title: Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics and the Program in Gender Studies
Education: B.A. Princeton, Ph.D. UC Berkeley
Office: Classics 26
Areas of Specialization: Neronian literature; Seneca the Younger; History of Classical Rhetoric; the Ancient Novel; the Classics in Modern China

My research focuses on two areas. The first is the literature and philosophy of the Neronian period. I have published on the four major authors of the mid-first century (Lucan, Seneca, Persius and Petronius) and remain particularly invested in questions of authorial personae, ethical stances, and elite and marginalized voices. In addition, I am interested in the meeting-point of poetic and philosophical genres. My most recent work has been on the governing metaphors of Persius’ satires, and on his manipulation of quasi-Rabelaisian alimentary, digestive, and sexual images to convey philosophical content matter. 

The second area in which I work is the reception of the Western classical corpus in modern China. As members of the very culture which the Greco-Roman canon helped to create, most of us are more embedded in our Western heritage than we realize. This inevitably affects our interpretation of these texts. But what would it be like if we came to Plato, Vergil, Augustine as complete strangers? The opening up of China and the interest of its scholars in the Western literary, philosophical and political tradition offers us a unique chance to sketch out potential answers to that question.

I am also currently the Director of the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, a university-wide initiative to explore the historical and social contexts in which knowledge is created, legitimized, and circulated.

Recent Publications: 


  • Vergil's Aeneid: a close translation of Vergil's Aeneid in blank verse. In progress and under contract with Farrar, Straus, Giroux.
  • Cambridge Companion to the Age of Nero, ed. with K. Freudenburg and C. Littlewood. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Cambridge Companion to Seneca, ed. with A. Schiesaro. Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  • Persius: A Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural. The University of Chicago Press. 2015. (Winner of the 2016 Goodwin Award of Merit)
  • The Mirror of the Self:  Sexuality, Self-Knowledge, and the Gaze in the Early Roman Empire.  The University of Chicago Press.  2006.


  • “Persius.” The Encyclopedia of Ancient History.  Wiley-Blackwell.  Forthcoming in 2018.
  • “We Damn Your Memory,” an article on the complex issue of tearing down historical statues. Forthcoming in Encyclopedia Britannica special issue with Madeleine Albright, Paul Krugman, Shirin Ebadi, et al.
  • “Mind the Gap: The Aeneid and the Poetics of Narrative.” Qui Parle 26 (2017), forthcoming.
  • “Les facettes d’un tyran.” Review essay of D. Grau, Néron en Occcident:  Une figure de l’histoire. Critique (2017): 919-31.
  • “Introduction: Formations of Knowledge.” KNOW 1.1 and 1.2 (2017).
  • “傻瓜的智慧”: 基督教和古典传统.” (“The Wisdom of Fools: Christianity and the Classical Tradition.”) China Scholarship, 2017.
  • “Philosophers and the State in the Age of Nero,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Nero, ed. S. Bartsch, K. Freudenburg, and C. Littlewood. Cambridge University Press.  2017.
  • “Angles on an Emperor” with C. Littlewood and K. Freudenburg, in The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Nero, ed. S. Bartsch, K. Freudenburg, and C. Littlewood. Cambridge University Press. 2017.
  • “Saving the Aeneid: Fulgentius’ Radical Hermeneutics,” in Complex Inferiorities: The Poetics of the Weaker Voice in Latin Literature. Oxford University Press. 2017.
  • “Naturalizing Amicitia in Roman Politics,” in Eros, Family, and Community, ed. Yoav Rinon, 41-56. Georg Olms Verlag. 2016.
  • “Roman Literature: Translation, Metaphor, and Empire.” Daedalus 145 (2016): 30-39.
  • “Philosophers in Politics.” Review essay on J. Romm, Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, and Emily Wilson, Seneca, in the London Review of Books, vol. 37 no. 12, 33-35. June 16, 2015.
  • “Philosophy, Physicians, and Persianic Satire,” in On the Psyche: Studies in Ancient Literature, Psychology and Health, ed. John Wilkins.  Oxford University Press. 2016.
  • “The Ancient Greeks in Modern China: Interpretation and Metamorphosis” in The Reception of Greek and Roman Culture in East Asia: Texts & Artefacts, Institutions & Practices, ed. A-B. Renger. Forthcoming from Brill. 2016.
  • “Introduction: Senecan Studies Today,” with A. Schiesaro, in The Cambridge Companion to Seneca, ed. S. Bartsch and A. Schiesaro. Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  • “The Senecan Self,” in The Cambridge Companion to Seneca, ed. S. Bartsch and A. Schiesaro. Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  • “古希腊理性的批判在中国文化.” (“The Critique of Ancient Greek Rationality in Chinese Culture.” Special edition of 中國學術 (Zhongguo Xueshu). 2015.
  • “Rhetoric and Philosophy at Rome,” in The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies, ed. M. MacDonald. Oxford University Press. 2014.
  • “Persius’ Socrates and the Failure of Pedagogy,” in The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry, eds. D. Konstan and M. Garani, 303-16. Cambridge University Press. 2014


  • Human Being and Citizen: Aristotle, Augustine, Dante
  • The Reception of Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Persius and Roman Satire
  • Reason and Religion in the West
  • Lucan’s Bellum Civile