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Dr Emmanuela Bakola

Emmanuela BakolaLeverhulme Early Career Fellow

Tel  TBC
Address Room B5, Department of Classics
King's College London
London, WC2R 2LS 


I am originally Greek and I have been living in London for the last 13 years. In 2006 I completed my doctorate at the Department of Greek and Latin, UCL, and subsequently held a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the same department until 2012 (interrupted by two periods of maternity leave). For two years I also taught at the Open University of Cyprus, and discovered the wonderful merits of e-teaching and e-learning, which have ever since become a passion of mine. I joined the Classics department here at King’s in April 2013.

Research interests
  • Greek drama (tragedy, comedy and satyr play)
  • Greek literature and religion; Greek concepts about the earth and the natural environment; cultural anthropology, eco-criticism, eco-feminism and the Classics
  • Greek stagecraft and dramaturgy, especially theatre space
  • poetics, genre and Greek literary criticism, especially through the lens of Greek comedy; Greek comedy and intertextuality
I am currently holding a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and pursuing my project Aeschylean Tragedy and Early Environmental Discourse. With this project I seek to demonstrate that a rich strand of Greek literature is profoundly preoccupied with humanity's relationship to the earth and its resources. I focus mainly on the tragedy of Aeschylus, and offer a close (re-)reading of the plays by applying an interdisciplinary framework informed by spatial criticism, cultural anthropology, and classical scholarship. I seek to show that the tragedy of Aeschylus explores the relationship of man to the earth through its use of space, imagery, and engagement with religion and ritual. Although the relationship of man and earth has a metaphysical character, in Aeschylus it is mainly reflected upon through economic concepts (production, consumption, waste) and is connected to socio-political issues which in all times are linked to environmental concerns, especially gender, hegemony and justice.

While working on a monograph entitled The Erinyes and the Wealth of the Earth, I am seeking to demonstrate certain core concepts of my project in separate articles: In ‘Interiority, the ‘deep earth’, and the spatial symbolism of Darius’ apparition in the Persians of Aeschylus’ (CCJ 2014) I demonstrate that the use of an interior space (the skene) is an essential part of the play’s construction of the ‘earth’ on the theatrical stage. I also show the connections between ground space, deep (underground and interior) spaces, natural imagery and extra-scenic spaces, and why they suggest a holistic understanding of the concept ‘earth’. In ‘Textile symbolism and the ‘wealth of the earth’: creation, production and destruction in the ‘tapestry scene’ of Aeschylus’ Oresteia’ (forthcoming in Spinning the Fates), I argue that textiles and the processes of their production (especially weaving and dyeing with murex) have a symbolism which makes them indispensable for our understanding of the salient issues of the ‘tapestry scene’: wealth, life, and their creation, destruction and waste. In a chapter which explores the engagement of Cratinus with the Oresteia and the Aeschylean Erinyes in particular (‘Crime and Punishment’), I argue that Aeschylus’ preoccupation with the idea of the earth was well known to his contemporaries. I am also revising a piece which explores the symbolism of the ‘house’ and other interior spaces in the Oresteia in connection to the deep earth and its productive and destructive powers, titled ‘The oikos in the Oresteia and the origins of eco-logical discourse’.

In  the context of the same project, I am also organising the public workshop Greek Theatre, Landscape and Environment (February 2014). 

Comedy as a source of reception of other poetry was the main focus of my research for several years (and led me to my current project). In 2010 I published a monograph on the major Athenian comic poet and older rival of Aristophanes, Cratinus (Cratinus and the Art of Comedy), a large part of which focused on comedy’s dialogues with other genres. I have also published articles on comedy, archaic lyric and ancient literary criticism, comedy and satyr play, etc. A volume entitled Greek Comedy and the Discourse of Genres, which contains the proceedings of an international conference which I organised with L. Prauscello and M. Telo, was published by CUP in 2013.

Selected Publications
  • Cratinus and the Art of Comedy, Oxford University Press 2010 (Reviews: BMCR, TLS, CR etc.)
  • (with L. Prauscello and M. Telò, eds.) Greek Comedy and the Discourse of Genres, Cambridge University Press, 2013
  • ‘Crime and Punishment: Cratinus, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, and the metaphysics and the politics of wealth’ in E. Bakola,  L. Prauscello, M. Telo (eds.) Greek Comedy and the Discourse of Genres, 226-55.
  • ‘Interiority, the ‘deep earth’, and the spatial symbolism of Darius’ apparition in the Persians of Aeschylus’, forthcoming Cambridge Classical Journal 2014
  • Textile symbolism and the ‘wealth of the earth’: creation, production and destruction in the ‘tapestry scene’ of Aeschylus’ Oresteia (Ag. 905-78), in (M. Harlow, M.-L. Nosch, and G. Fanfani (eds.) Spinning Fates and the Song of the Loom: the Use of Textiles, Clothing and Cloth Production as Metaphor, Symbol and Narrative, forthcoming 2014
  • ‘Cratinus reads Aeschylus: The Erinyes and the wealth of the earth’ in E. Tamiolaki (ed.) New Trends in Ancient Comedy,  forthcoming 2014 (in modern Greek)
  • ‘The drunk, the reformer and the teacher: Agonistic poetics and the construction of persona in the comic poets of the fifth century’, Cambridge Classical Journal (formerly PCPS) 54 (2008), 1-29
  • ‘Kratinos’, in A. Markantonatos and Th. Pappas, (eds.) A Companion to Attic Comedy, Athens 2011, 33-68 (in modern Greek)
  • ‘Old Comedy Disguised as Satyr Play: A New Reading of Cratinus’ Dionysalexandros', ZPE 154 (2005) 46-58
  • ‘A Missed Joke in Aristophanes’ Wasps 1265-74’, Classical Quarterly 55 (2005), 609-613
For a complete list of publications, please see my full research profile.

I enjoy teaching on all aspects of Greek literature and culture: since 2006 I have taught several Greek drama modules at King's, UCL, Reading and the Open University of Cyprus, but also other subjects, from Homeric epic to Lucian’s satire, and from Greek myth to the transmission of Greek texts, as well as the Greek and Latin language at all levels.

Expertise and Engagement

I would be happy to talk about any aspect of Greek literature, and I would be particularly keen to talk in relation to my new project on the Greeks and the environment.

For a few years I was the academic advisor to the annual Greek drama productions of the UCL Department of Greek and Latin at the Bloomsbury theatre, and initiated the highly successful public engagement programme Ancient Plays for Modern Minds. In 2011 I was the Director of the London Summer School in Classics.

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