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Published: Jun 4, 2013 10:23:34 AM

Miriam Leonard


Professor of Greek Literature and its Reception


Miriam small



On Research Leave in 2013-14.

Departmental Tutor Office Hour:  Monday 11-12 to be arranged in advance by e-mail (m.leonard@ucl.ac.uk)


Email: m.leonard@ucl.ac.uk

Research interests: Greek literature and philosophy; reception; history of modern European thought; critical theory

IRIS research profile


After completing my PhD (Cambridge, 2002) I taught for six years in the Bristol Classics department. I joined the UCL department in September 2007. I have been a visiting scholar at Duke and Stanford and am currently the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

My research explores the intellectual history of classics in modern European thought from the eighteenth century to the present. I examine how an engagement with the classical past has given rise to a particular understanding of modernity. I am currently working on two projects: an exploration of the role of tragedy in the modern history of thought and a study of antiquity in the Enlightenment and French Revolution. 

I have taught a wide range of options in Latin and Greek language and literature as well as courses in Reception, Philosophy and Critical Theory.


Major Publications:

  • Tragic Modernities (under contract, Harvard University Press)
  • Tragedy and the Idea of Modernity; co-edited with Josh Billings (forthcoming, Oxford University Press)
  • Socrates and the Jews: Hellenism and Hebraism from Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
  • Derrida and Antiquity; editor (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Classical Reception and the Political; edited with Yopie Prins (special issue of thejournal Cultural Critique, 2010)
  • How to Read Ancient Philosophy (Granta, 2008)
  • Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought; co-edited with Vanda Zajko (Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • Athens in Paris: Ancient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Selected Articles and Chapters:

  • 'Freud and Tragedy: Oedipus and the Gender of the Universal', Classical Receptions Journal, 5.1 2013, 63-83
  • 'Tragedy and the Seductions of Philosophy', Cambridge Classical Journal, 2012, 145-164
  • ‘Prometheus and the Pentateuch: Feuerbach, Marx and the Genesis of Secular Anti-Semitism’, thesis eleven, 2010, 55-75
  • ‘Greeks, Jews and the Enlightenment: Moses Mendelssohn’s Socrates’, Cultural Critique, 2010
  • 'Derrida between "Greek" and "Jew"', in M.Leonard (ed.) Derrida and Antiquity (OUP, 2010), 135-158
  • 'Reception' in G. Boys-Stone, B.Graziosi and P. Vasunia (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies, (OUP, 2009), 835-846
  • Oedipus in the Accusative: Derrida and Levinas’, Comparative Literature Studies, 2008, 224-251
  • ‘History and Theory: Moses and Monotheism and the Historiography of the Repressed’ in Lorna Hardwick and Christopher Stray (eds) A Companion to Classical Reception, (Blackwell, 2008), 207-218
  • ‘The Uses of Reception: Derrida and the Historical Imperative’ in Charles Martindale/Richard Thomas (eds) Classics and The Uses of Reception (Blackwell 2006), 116-126
  • ‘Tragic Will and the Subject of Politics’, Phoenix 2005, 133-42
  • ‘Antigone, the political and the ethics of psychoanalysis’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 2003, 130-154
  • ‘Politiques de l’amitié: Derrida’s Greeks and a National Politics of Classical Scholarship’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 2000, 45-78
  • ‘Creating a Dawn: Writing through Antiquity in the Works of Hélène Cixous’ in Arethusa 2000, 121-148
  • ‘Irigaray’s Cave: Feminist Theory and the Politics of French Classicism’, Ramus 1999, 152-168

Ongoing and Future Projects:


  • editor with Tim Whitmarsh of OUP series Classics in Theory
  • member of Postclassicisms Network
  • collaborative project on the theory of the tragic in modern thought
  • long-term collaborative project on Classics and the Enlightenment

Page last modified on 05 jun 14 23:10