Stephanie Nelson

Professor of Classical Studies

Curriculum Vitae


I received my BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, the only school in the country, I tell my students, where Ancient Greek is required. That may not be strictly accurate, but I’m sure it’s the only school where Ptolemy’s Almagest is required reading. I then received my MA and PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, branding me forever as a “Great Books” sort of person and destining me for the Core. My first book, God and the Land: the Metaphysics of Farming in Hesiod and Vergil was published by Oxford University Press and my various articles range from a study of Hesiod’s treatment of farming, to an interest in the relation of poetry and philosophy in Plato, to studies of narrative time, to a look at T. E. Lawrence’s translation of the Odyssey, Shelley’s translation of the Symposium, and translation generally, considering the role of translation in the 20th c. in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 5. In Aristophanes’ Tragic Muse: tragedy, comedy, and the polis in Classical Athens I looked at the relation of comedy and tragedy in Athens and my most recent work, “Or am I now I?”: Time and Identity in Ulysses and the Odyssey is on the relation of Joyce and Homer, which is, surprisingly, very little studied, beginning with an unfortunate comment of Ezra Pound’s that the Odyssey is merely “scaffolding” for Ulysses. Pound was a great poet, but he could be wrong about things.

What draws all these together, I suppose, is my interest in the way one author, culture, genre – or translator – appropriates another, transforming, distorting, and in a way repudiating the original, but also acknowledging a deep and even formative debt. So, I think, Virgil to Hesiod, Greek comedy to tragedy, and James Joyce to Homer. I have also become very interested in time and change generally and am now working on the relation of sight and sound, eye and ear, the simultaneous and that which exists only over time as we see the two in oral literature, in print and in the open and fluid new media developing around us constantly. I guess my belief is that having been forced to master Zoom, I can now master anything.

Research Interests

Greek and Roman epic, Hesiod, Greek comedy and tragedy, intertextuality, translation, and Classical reception, particularly Joyce

Academic Positions

Affiliated Faculty, MFA in Literary Translation, Boston University, 2019-present
Assistant Dean and Director, Core Curriculum, Boston University, 2012-2019
Associate Professor, Boston University, 2008-present
Assistant Professor, Boston University, 1999-2008
Instructor, Core Curriculum, Boston University, 1995 – 1999
lnstructor, Department of Philosophy, Saint Xavier University (Chicago) 1991 – 1995
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Valparaiso University, 1992 – 1994



“Or am I now I?”: Time and Identity in Ulysses and the Odyssey (under consideration by University of Florida)

Aristophanes’ Tragic Muse: Tragedy, Comedy, and the Polis in Classical Athens (Brill, 2016)

Hesiod’s Works and Days, translation with commentary (Focus Press, 2008)

God and the Land: The Metaphysics of Farming in Hesiod and Vergil (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)

Book Chapters and Articles

“The Voice of the Shuttle: the Tereus Myth in Aristophanes’ Birds” in Tereus through the Ages. Reassembling the Myth of Tereus from Archaic Epic to Ovid, eds. Giacomo Savani, Alessandra Abbattista, Chiara Blanco and Maria Haley (De Gruyter, in progress)

“Pursuing the Forms in Plato’s Symposium and Republic” in Equality and Excellence in Ancient and Modern Political Philosophy, eds. Steven Frankel and John Ray (Penn State University Press, in progress)

Acharnians: Tragedy and Other Literary Genres” in Blackwell Companion to Aristophanes, eds. Matthew Farmer and Jeremy Lefkowitz (Wiley-Blackwell, in progress)

“The Essay Topics of FW 2.2” in Finnegans Wake II.II: Nightlessons, eds. Vicki Mahaffey, Yaeli Greenblatt, and Shinjini Chattopadhyay (Brill, in progress)

“Bullockbefriending Bards: the ambivalent role of cattle in the Odyssey and Ulysses” in Joyce and the Non-Human, eds. Michelle Witen and Katherine Ebury (James Joyce Quarterly special edition, forthcoming Fall/Winter 2020-21)

“Narrative Time” with Barry Spence in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literary Theory, ed. Ian Richards-Karamarkovich (Oxford University Press, online, 2020

“Classics in Translation” in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, Vol. 5: 1880–2000, ed. Kenneth Haynes (Oxford University Press, 2019)

“Between Being and Becoming: Comedy, Tragedy and the Symposium,” in Thinking the Greeks: A Volume in Honor of James M. Redfield, eds. Lillian Doherty and Bruce M. King (Routledge, 2018)

“Hesiod and the Georgic Tradition,” in The Oxford Handbook of Hesiod, eds. Alexander Loney and Stephen Scully (Oxford University Press, 2018)

“Telling Time: Techniques of Narrative Time in Ulysses and the Odyssey,” in Reading Joycean Temporalities, ed. Jolanta Wawrzycka, (Brill, 2018)

“Time and Memory in the Odyssey and Ulysses,” in Time and Trace, eds. Steven Ostovich and Sabine Gross (Brill, 2016)

“Aristophanes and the Polis,” in The Political Theory of Aristophanes: Rethinking the Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy, eds. Jeremy Mhire and Brian-Paul Frost (SUNY, 2014)

Various Entries: The Virgil Encyclopedia, eds. Richard Thomas, Jan Ziolkowski (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

“Shelley and Plato’s Symposium: the poet’s revenge,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 14 (2007) 100-29

“Cinematographic Joyce:” Joyce Workshop, 2006,” James Joyce Literary Supplement, 21.1, May 2007

“Hesiod” in A Companion to Ancient Epic, ed. John Miles Foley (Blackwell, 2005)

“Lawrence’s Odyssey: A “Prosaic” Approach to Greatness” with Maren Cohn, in The Waking Dream of T. E. Lawrence: Essays on His Life, Literature, and Legacy ed. Charles Stang (New York: Palgrave, 2002)

“Full Circle: The Inherent Tension in Ethics from Plato to Plato” in Instilling Ethics, ed. Norma Thompson (Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000)

“Calypso’s Choice: Immortality and Heroic Striving in the Odyssey and Ulysses” in Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern, ed. Todd Breyfogle (University of Chicago Press, 1999)

“Justice and Farming in the Works and Days” in The Greeks and Us: Essays in Honor of Arthur Adkins, eds. Robert B. Louden and Paul Schollmeier (University of Chicago Press, 1996)

“The Justice of Zeus in Hesiod’s Fable of the Hawk and the Nightingale.” The Classical Journal 92 (1997) 235-247

“The Drama of Hesiod’s Farm” Classical Philology 91 (1996) 45-53