W. Ralph Johnson

Biography and Interests: 

W. Ralph Johnson is the author of, among others, Lucretius and the Modern WorldMomentary Monsters: Lucan and His HeroesLuxuriance and Economy: Cicero and the Alien StyleDarkness Visible: A Study of Vergil’s AeneidThe Idea of Lyric: Lyric Modes in Ancient and Modern Poetry; and Horace and the Dialectic of Freedom: Readings in Epistles 1. He has also written articles and reviews on Vergil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid, and Terence. His teaching has been devoted to Latin poetry of all periods and to Greek and Latin rhetoric.

Recent Publications: 


  • A Latin Lover in Ancient Rome: Readings in Propertius and his Genre, Ohio State University Press, 2009.
  • Lucretius and the Modern World, Duckworth, 2000.
  • Horace and the Dialectics of Freedom, Cornell, 1993.
  • Momentary Monsters: Lucan and his Heroes, Cornell, 1987.
  • The Idea of Lyric (UC Press, 1982);
  • Darkness Visible: A Study of Vergil’s Aeneid, University of California Press, 1976.
  • Luxuriance and Economy: Cicero and the Alien Style, University of California Press, 1971.

Recent Publications:

  • "In the Birdcage of the Muses," reprinted from The Idea of the Lyric, in The Lyric Theory Reader, ed. Jackson and Prins, Johns Hopkins, 2014.
  • "Propertius," in Blackwell's Latin Love Elegy, ed. B. Gold, 2012.
  • "The Epistles," in Blackwell's Horace, ed. G. Davis, 2010.
  • "Epic," in The Classical Tradition, ed. G. Most and A. Grafton, Harvard, 2010.
  • Introduction to Ovid's Metamorphoses, trans. S. Lombardo, Hackett, 2010.
  • "The Neoterics," in Blackwell's Companion to Catullus, ed. M. Skinner, 2009.
  • Introduction to the Aeneid, trans. S. Lombardo, Hackett, 2005.


  • Juvenal
  • Greek Thought and Literature
  • Propertius
  • Ovid’s Metamorphoses