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.


Recent Books:

  • Persius:  A Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural.  Forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.  2015. 
  • Cambridge Companion to Seneca, ed. with A. Schiesaro.  Forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.   2015.
  • The Mirror of the Self:  Sexuality, Self-Knowledge, and the Gaze in the Early Roman Empire.  The University of Chicago Press.  2006.

Recent Articles:

  • “Mirrors of the Tyrant.”  Review essay of D. Grau, Néron en Occcident:  Une figure de l’histoire. Forthcoming in Critique. 
  • “Aeneas the Actor, or a Tale in Tales.”  Forthcoming in Qui Parle (2017).
  • “傻瓜的智慧: 基督教和古典传统.” (“The Wisdom of Fools:  Christianity and the Classical Tradition.”)  Forthcoming in 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.  Forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.  2017.
  • “Introduction: Formations of Knowledge.” KNOW 1.1 2017.
  • “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 and Fan Xin.  Brill.  2017.
  • “The Senecan Self,” in The Cambridge Companion to Seneca, ed. S. Bartsch and A. Schiesaro.  Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  • “Roman Rhetoric and Stoic Philosophy,” in the Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies, ed. M. MacDonald. Oxford University Press. 2013.


  • 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