Department of Greek & Latin


Research: Greek Literature


Greek literature has been taught and studied at University College London since the founding of the institution in the 1820s. Some of the most distinguished Hellenists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have taught at UCL, including T. B. L. Webster, Eric Handley, Eric Turner, Patricia Easterling, Richard Janko, and Chris Carey.

Our research covers Greek literature of all periods, and the reception of ancient authors in modern Europe and beyond. The Department has research strengths in lyric poetry, drama, historiography, and oratory; and in Greek linguistics, classical philosophy, late antique literature, and papyrology. Our Hellenists have published in such areas as gender studies, reception studies, comparative poetics, postcolonialism, and narratology. We regularly collaborate with colleagues on interdisciplinary projects and have worked closely with UCL staff in ancient history, archaeology, English, film studies, Hebrew and Jewish studies, and modern languages. We also collaborate frequently with colleagues across the University of London (in particular King's College, Royal Holloway, and Birkbeck) to offer the best resources for the study of Hellenic culture.

UCL has excellent research libraries and the major libraries of the Institute of Classical Studies, the Warburg Institute, the Institute of Historical Research, SOAS, and University of London Senate House Library are a few minutes away. The Department is also within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library.

The Department runs a rich programme of conferences and lectures, organized by staff and postgraduate students, including the Housman Lecture (recent speakers include Judith Butler and Victoria Wohl). All members of staff are involved in the weekly Ancient Literature Seminar at the Institute of Classical Studies in the autumn and spring terms. All staff regularly teach BA and MA courses on their research specialisms, and welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students in all  areas of Greek literature and its reception.

Staff with research interests in Greek literature include:

  • Peter Agócs (Greek lyric song, especially Pindar and Bacchylides; genre in ancient literature; narrative in Greek lyric; collective memory)
  • Stephen Colvin (Greek language, dialect and literature; Mycenaean Greek; historical linguistics and sociolinguistics)
  • Nick Gonis (Documentary and literary papyrology; Egypt from Augustus to the Abbasids; later Greek poetry; early Christian literature)
  • Rosie Harman (Greek historiography and ethnography; identity; the politics of representation)
  • Miriam Leonard (Greek literature and philosophy; reception; history of modern European thought; critical theory)
  • Antony Makrinos (Homer; scholarship in Byzantium (esp. reception of the Homeric text with emphasis on allegorical interpretation); modern receptions)
  • Phiroze Vasunia (Greek literature and culture; imperialism and colonialism; the Classical tradition; conceptions of Greek prose; cross-cultural interaction in antiquity).
  • Tom MacKenzie (Greek literature, Presocratic philosophy, Hellenistic literature and philosophy)

For current PhD students whose research includes Greek Literature see the list of PhD research projects

Research projects and networks