Michèle Lowrie

Biography and Interests: 

Michèle Lowrie

Title: Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Classics and the College
Education: B.A. Yale 1984; Ph.D. Harvard 1990
Office: Wieboldt 105B
Areas of Specialization: Roman literature, culture, and political thought; Roman reception

My research focuses on the intersection of ideology and literary form, particularly in Roman literature and its reception. Trained as a literary scholar, I have become more interested in politics over time. Current projects include: the exemplum and exceptional politics from Cicero to Augustus; shifts in Roman political thinking about safety and security at the transition from Republic to Empire; the reception of Roman civil war tropes in nineteenth century French literature in collaboration with Barbara Vinken; a volume on exemplarity and singularity, co-edited with Susanne Luedemann; thinking through tropes, a faculty seminar funded by the Neubauer Collegium (http://neubauercollegium.uchicago.edu/faculty/thinking_through_tropes/); transformations in the public sphere between Cicero and Horace.

Published work ranges over Arendt, Austin, Agamben, Augustus, Baudelaire, Blanchot, Hermann Broch, Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Caesar, Catullus, Cicero, Derrida, Horace, Livy, Machiavelli, Mérimée, Ovid, Propertius, and Vergil. At New York University, I co-founded the graduate certificate program in Poetics and Theory, which collaborated closely with the Viadrina University at Frankfurt/Oder for a decade.

Interdisciplinary conferences organized in recent years have focused on republicanism, security, the reception of Rome as a political model, conceptions of political violence, and exemplarity. Honors include: Burkhardt Fellowship from the ACLS and membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2000-01); visiting research professorship at the Warburg-Haus in Hamburg (2005); fellowship from the Research Center for Cultural Theory and Theory of the Political Imaginary at the University of  Konstanz (2010-11); fellowships from the Center for Advanced Studies at Ludwig-Maximilian’s University in Munich (2012-13, 2014, 2015, 2018); Dirk Ippen Berlin Prize, American Academy in Berlin, 2016; Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship, 2015-16; Gray Lectures, Cambridge 2018; National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship (2018-19); Visiting fellow, Durham University (2019).

Recent Publications: 


  • Writing, Performance, and Authority in Augustan Rome (Oxford University Press 2009).
  • Oxford Readings in Classical Studies:  Horace’s Odes and Epodes (Oxford University Press 2009).
  • Horace’s Narrative Odes (Oxford University Press 1997).


  • “Correcting Rome with Rome: Victor Hugo’s Quatrevingt-treize,” co-authored with Barbara Vinken, in Roman Error: Classical Reception and the Problem of Rome’s Flaws, ed. Basil Dufallo. Oxford 2018: 179-90
  • “Roman Law and Latin Literature,” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Law and Society, eds. C. Ando, P. du Plessis, and K. Tuori, Oxford University Press (2016) 70-82
  • “Embodiment and Security: Roman Tropes in Hermann Broch’s Der Tod des Vergil,” in E. Agazzi and P. M. Lutzeler (eds), Hermann Brochs Vergil-Roman: Literarischer Intertext und kulturelle Konstellation. Stauffenberg (2016) 39-58
  • “The Soul, Civil War, and the Cosmos at Seneca, Thyestes 547-622: A Tropology,” Phillip Mitsis and Ioannis Ziogas (eds.), Wordplay and Powerplay in Latin Poetry, a Festschrift for Frederick Ahl, De Gruyter, Trends in Classics Series (2016) 333-54
  • “Le corps du chef: transformations dans la sphère publique à l’époque d’Horace,” conference volume edited by B. Delignon, N. Le Meur, O. Thevenaz, Le poète lyrique dans la cité antique: Les Odes d’Horace au miroir de la lyrique grecque archaïque , Paris (2016) 71-86
  • The Egyptian Within: A Roman Trope for Civil War,” Barbara Vinken (ed.), Translatio Babylonis: Unsere Orientale Moderne, Fink (2015) 13-28 - http://www.literaturkritik.de/public/rezension.php?rez_id=21236
  • “Rege incolumi: Orientalism and Security at Georgics 4.212,” in Virgilian Studies: A Miscellany Dedicated to the Memory of Mario Geymonat (26.1.1941 – 17.2.2012), ed. Paolo Fedeli and Hans-Christian Günther. Nordhausen: Verlag Traugott Bautz (2015): 322-44
  • “Politics by Other Means: Horace's Ars Poetica, ” in A. Ferenczi and P. Hardie, eds. New Approaches to Horace’s Ars PoeticaMateriali e Discussioni 72.1 (2014) 121-42.
  • “Foundation and Closure,” in The Door Ajar: False Closure in Classical Antiquity, ed. Farouk Grewing and Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Winter Verlag, Heidelberg (2013) 83-102.
  • “Spurius Maelius: Homo Sacer and Dictatorship,” in Brian Breed, Cynthia Damon, Andreola Rossi (eds.) Citizens of Discord: Rome and its Civil Wars, Oxford University Press 2010: 171-86.


  • Augustan Culture
  • Civil War in Lucan and  Flaubert (with Barbara Vinken)
  • Caesar and his Reception
  • Mythical History/Paradigmatic Figures: Alexander, Caesar, Augustus, Charlemagne, Napoleon (with Robert Morrissey)