Reception Studies

Classics and Reception Studies

Students at the University of Chicago can study the reception of ancient thought and literature in a wide range of historical and geographical contexts. Classics faculty publish widely in the field of reception studies and work closely with faculty in other departments on the reception of ancient poetry, drama, and political theory.

Courses and Workshops

  • Constructing Oedipus: Performance and Adaptation
  • Tragedy in Athens and Africa
  • Civil War in Lucan and Flaubert: Literature, History, Theology
  • Mythical History, Paradigmatic Figures: Caesar, Augustus, Charlemagne, Napoleon
  • Philosophy and the Poetics of Presence in Postwar France
  • Hölderlin and the Greeks
  • The History of Metaphor
  • Aeneids in Translation
  • Justin Steinberg (Romance Languages and Literatures, Chicago), “Virgil’s anacoluthon in Inferno IX.8: On messianic time, narrative suspense, and the interregnum,” Rhetoric and Poetics Workshop (Winter 2013)
  • Richard Strier (English, Chicago), “What’s a ‘Deep’ Metaphor?: The Case of George Herbert’s ‘Love’ (3),” Metaphor Workshop co-sponsored with the Renaissance Workshop (Winter 2013)
  • Kathy Eden (Columbia University, Classics and English), “Cicero Redivivus, Style, and the Old Historicism,” Rhetoric and Poetics Workshop co-sponsored with the Renaissance Workshop (Fall 2012)
  • Exemplarity/Singularity, a conference at the Franke Institute, co-organized by Michèle Lowrie and Susanne Luedemann (Germanic Studies) (Winter 2012)
  • Leonard Barkan (Princeton University, Comparative Literature), “Selections from Unswept Floor: Food Culture and High Culture, Antiquity and Renaissance,” Rhetoric and Poetics Workshop co-sponsored with the Renaissance Workshop (Fall 2011)


  • Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer  is the author, most recently, of The Mirror of the Self (2006), and has a forthcoming volume on the Roman satirist Persius. Her interests include Roman imperial literature and the contemporary Chinese reception of the western ethico-political tradition.
  • Michèle Lowrie is the author of Horace's Narrative Odes (1997) and Writing, Performance, and Authority in Augustan Rome (2009) and is interested in Roman literature, political thought, and their reception, particularly in France and Germany. 
  • Sarah Nooter  is the author of When Heroes Sing: Sophocles and the Shifting Soundscape of Tragedy (2012) and is interested in the reception of Greek drama in twentieth- and twenty-first century performance, particularly in postcolonial African theater and modern American literature. She has also performed in and produced performances of Greek tragedy in Chicago, New York and Italy.
  • Mark Payne  is the author of Theocritus and the Invention of Fiction (2007) and The Animal Part: Human and Other Animals in the Poetic Imagination (2010). He is interested in the reception of Greek poetry and philosophy in nineteenth century Germany and post-World War II France.
  • David Wray  is the author of Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood (2001) and of a forthcoming edition of Louis Zukofsky’s translation of Plautus’ Rudens. His research and teaching interests include the theory and practice of literary translation, and the reception of Greco-Roman thought and literature, from Shakespeare and Corneille to Pound and Zukofsky.

Faculty with longstanding interests in the reception of antiquity beyond the Classics department include: Andreas Glaeser (Sociology), Boris Maslov (Comparative Literature), John McCormick (Political Science), Robert Morrissey (Romance Languages and Literatures), Glenn Most (Committee on Social Thought), Larry Norman (Romance Languages and Literatures), Haun Saussy (Comparative Literature), Joshua Scodel (English), Justin Steinberg (Romance Languages and Literatures), Nathan Tarcov (Political Science), David Wellbery (Germanic Studies), Christopher Wild (Germanic Studies).