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Stephanie Nelson

Associate Professor of Classical Studies

  • Title Associate Professor of Classical Studies
  • Office STH 403
  • Phone 617-358-0840
  • Education Ph.D University of Chicago (Committee on Social Thought)
    M.A. University of Chicago (Committee on Social Thought)
    B.A. St. John‘s College

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 a look at T. E. Lawrence’s translation of the Odyssey, to pieces on Aristophanes, Joyce’s Ulysses, Shelley’s translation of the Symposium, and translation generally, in a piece on the role of translation in the 20th c. written for The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 5. My most recent book is entitled Aristophanes’ Tragic Muse: tragedy, comedy, and the polis in Classical Athens. 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 to it. So, I think, Virgil to Hesiod, Greek comedy to tragedy, and James Joyce to Homer. My recent work has been primarily on the relation of Ulysses to the Odyssey, which is, surprisingly, very little studied, perhaps due to an unfortunate comment of Ezra Pound’s that the Odyssey is merely “scaffolding” for Joyce. Pound was a great poet, but there were other things he was wrong about, and I think he’s wrong about this too. If I ever get a sabbatical I hope to write a book about it.

I now spell “Virgil” with an “i”.

Research Interests

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

Positions Held

Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Boston University, 2013-2019
Director, Core Curriculum, Boston University, 2013-2019
Associate Professor, Boston University, 2008-present
Chair of Classical Studies, Boston University, 2012-2013
Associate Chair of Classical Studies, Boston University, 2010-2012
Assistant Professor, Boston University, 1999-2007
Instructor, Boston University, 1995 – 1999
lnstructor, Saint Xavier University (Chicago) 1991 – 1995
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Valparaiso University, 1992 – 1994
Lecturer, University of Chicago, 1986 – 1995

Works In Progress

Aristophanes’ Tragic Muse: Tragedy, Comedy, and the Polis in Classial Athens. Under contract with University of Michigan Press.

Hesiod: Theogony and Works and Days. Oxford Greek and Latin College Commentaries, gen. eds. Stephen Esposito, Mary Lefkowitz, Barbara Weiden Boyd. Under review with Oxford University Press.


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

Review of Charles Platter, Aristophanes and the Carnival of Genres, Arion, 3.15.3, 2008, 157-64.

Review of Glenn Most, Hesiod, Loeb Classical Library, New England Classical Journal, 35.2, 2008.

Review of Richard Hunter, The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Constructions and Reconstructions, The Classical Outlook, 85.2, 2008.

“Shelley and Plato’s Symposium: The Poet’s Revenge,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 14.1/2, 2007, 100-29.

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

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

Review of Anthony Edwards, Hesiod’s Ascra, New England Classical Journal, Feb., 2005.

Review of Jenny Strauss Clay, Hesiod’s Cosmos, Hermathena, 2005.

Review of Maria Marsilio, Farming and Poetry in Hesiod’s Works and Days, Journal of the Institute for the Classical Tradition, Fall, 2003.

“Lawrence’s Prose 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).

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

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

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

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

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

Lectures (selected)

“Comedy, Tragedy, and the Polis in Aristophanes’ Frogs,” May, 2013, New England Political Science Association, Portland, ME.

“England, Ireland, Rome and Greece in Joyce’s “Aeolus”. ” February, 2013, Miami James Joyce Birthday Conference.

“Odysseus and Leopold Bloom, Tellers of Tales,” August, 2012 Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

“Translation in the Twentieth Century,” July, 2012, Conference on Classical Reception, Bristol, England.

“Gendered Space in Dublin and Ithaca: Ulysses and the Odyssey,” June, 2012, James Joyce International Symposium, Dublin.

“You Can Never Go Home Again: Nostos in the Odyssey and Ulysses,” Nostos conference, University of South Carolina, March 24-27, 2011.

“Dublin Meets Ithaca,” November 17, 2010, College of William and Mary.

“Eat or Be Eaten: dogs and gods in Ulysses and the Odyssey,” August, 2010, Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

“A Real ‘Ulysses,” June 2010, James Joyce International Symposium, Prague.

“Louis Dumont’s Homo Hierarchichus,” April, 2010, Associationn for Core Texts and Courses, Yale.

“Child-Eating, Ancient and Modern,” 2009, Jonathan Swift Conference, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

La Ci Warum: Don Giovanni in Joyce’s Ulysses”, 2009, Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

“Hesiod and the Gods,” 2008, European College of Liberal Arts, Berlin.

“Leopold Bloom and his Night Errant,” 2008, Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

“Hesiod and the Place of Farming,” 2007, European College of Liberal Arts, Berlin.

“Joyce’s ‘Wandering Rocks’ and Montage,” 2006, Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

“Aeschylus and Homer,” 2006, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ulysses and the Odyssey: Polyphemus,” 2005, Zurich James Joyce Foundation.

“The Problem with Cleon: Aristophanes on Democracy,” 2004, Association for Core Texts and Courses conference, Dallas.

“Aristophanes’ Clouds and Tragedy,” 2005, St. John’s College, Annapolis.

“Telemachus and Stephen: The Case of the Displaced Son,” 2004, Miami Joyce Conference.

“Shelley’s Neoplatonic Plato: Translating the Symposium,” 2003, American Philological Association conference, San Fransisco.

“Aristophanes and Thucydides on War and Democracy,” 2003, Hampton-Sydney College.

“Inverting Epic: Vergil’s Use of Homer,” 2001, St. John’s College, Santa Fe.

“Women and Men in Aristophanes and the Symposium,” 2000, American Political Science Association, Chicago.

“Narration in Joyce’s Ulysses,” 1999, Basic Program Weekend, University of Chicago.

“Blood on the Ground: The Changing Role of the Furies in the Oresteia,” 1997, NEH Seminar, Boston University.

“The Death of Turnus,” 1996, NEH Seminar, Boston University.

“The Role of the Narrator in Dickens’ Bleak House,” 1995, First Friday Lectures, University of Chicago.

“Plato’s Parable: Being and Becoming in Yeats’ Among School Children,” 1995, Basic Program Weekend, University of Chicago.

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