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

Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer works on Roman imperial literature, the history of rhetoric and philosophy, and on the reception of the western classical tradition in contemporary China.  She is the author of 5 books on the ancient novel, Neronian literature, political theatricality, and Stoic philosophy, the most recent of which is Persius: A Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural (Winner of the 2016 Goodwin Award of Merit).  She has also edited or co-edited 7 wide-ranging essay collections (two of them Cambridge Companions) and the “Seneca in Translation” series from the University of Chicago. Bartsch’s new translation of Vergil’s Aeneid is forthcoming from Random House in 2020; in the following year, she is publishing a new monograph on the contemporary Chinese reception of ancient Greek political philosophy.  Bartsch has been a Guggenheim fellow, edits the journal KNOW, and has held visiting scholar positions in St. Andrews, Taipei, and Rome. Starting in academic year 2015, she has led a university-wide initiative to explore the historical and social contexts in which knowledge is created, legitimized, and circulated.

Recent Publications: 


  • Decoding the Ancient Novel: The Reader and the Role of Description in Heliodorus and Achilles Tatius. Princeton University Press. 1989.
  • Actors in the Audience: Theatricality and Doublespeak from Nero to Hadrian. Harvard University Press. 1994.
  • Ideology in Cold Blood: A Reading of Lucan’s Civil War. Harvard University Press. 1998.
  • The Mirror of the Self: Sexuality, Self-Knowledge, and the Gaze in the Early Roman Empire. The University of Chicago Press. 2006.
  • Persius: A Study in Food, Philosophy, and the Figural. The University of Chicago Press. 2015. (Winner of the 2016 Goodwin Award of Merit)
  • Revolutionary Rereadings: The Ancient Greeks in Modern China. In draft and under contract with Princeton University Press.

Edited Volumes

  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Rhetoric. With Thomas Sloane (editor-in-chief), Heinrich Plett, and Thomas Farrell. Oxford University Press. 2001. (Translated into Arabic. National Translation Centre, Cairo. 2015.)
  • Erotikon: Essays on Eros, Ancient and Modern. With Thomas Bartscherer. University of Chicago Press. 2005.
  • Ekphrasis. With Jaś Elsner. Special Issue of Classical Philology, vol. 102.1 2007.
  • Seneca and the Self. With David Wray. Cambridge University Press. 2009.
  • Cambridge Companion to Seneca, ed. with A. Schiesaro. Cambridge University Press. 2015.
  • Cambridge Companion to the Age of Nero, ed. with K. Freudenburg and C. Littlewood. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Reflections on Disciplinary Knowledge. Special Issues of KNOW, volume 1.1 and 1.2, April and November 2017. (460 pp.)
  • The Complexities of Inheritance: Contemporary Chinese Readings of the Western Classics, ed. with Hou Jue. Forthcoming 2019. University of Chicago Press.

A New Translation of Vergil’s Aeneid. Forthcoming from Random House 2020.


  • “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