Dr Emily Pillinger
Lecturer in Greek and Latin Language and Literature
Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2075
Address c/o Department of Classics
King's College London
London, WC2R 2LS
After completing an undergraduate degree in Classics at New College, Oxford, I spent two years working as the Classics Teaching Fellow at Marlboro College, a small liberal arts college in Vermont (USA). I then moved to Princeton University where I studied for an MA and PhD, with Denis Feeney and Andrew Feldherr as my dissertation supervisors. Back in the UK, I spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Bristol University’s Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition. I subsequently taught as a lecturer in Latin literature at Balliol College, Oxford for two years, before joining the department of Classics at KCL in 2012.
Latin poetry, with a focus on the late Republican and early Imperial eras
The reception of Classics, particularly in music
My main research explores Latin (and some Greek) poetry and poetics. I work on themes that describe the power and fragility of both spoken and written communications, examining literary representations of characters prophesying, cursing, letter-writing, or trying to correspond with the dead.
I am interested in ancient and modern theories about translation, and I am currently finishing a book on the riddling but highly creative speech of female prophets in Greek and Latin literature, called ‘Translating Cassandra: The Poetry and Poetics of Prophecy’. In a related strand of research I have written on the style and effect of the witches’ spells that are described in several different Latin poems.
My next project will involve looking at a range of texts from Imperial Rome: some letters, inscriptions and epigrammatic poems. In this project I will be exploring how and why these different texts flaunt the materiality of their written form, the stone or paper that carries their message through time and space. Do they do this to make the reader feel closer to the author? Or is it quite the opposite, an attempt to make readers feel as though they have accidentally stumbled upon a private communication designed for someone else?
I also work on the classical tradition, particularly as it has been shaped by 19th and 20th century writers and composers. I have published on Hector Berlioz’ opera Les Troyens, and I am now working on 20th century music inspired by ancient literature, starting with the Greek post-war composer Iannis Xenakis. I am also writing an article on Virginia Woolf’s response to a selection of Greek myths that describe women struggling to be heard and understood.
‘Translating Classical Visions in Berlioz’s Les Troyens’, Arion 18.2 (2010) pp. 65-103.
‘And the gods dread to hear another poem: The Repetitive Poetics of Witchcraft from Virgil to Lucan’, Materiali e Discussioni per l’Analisi dei Testi Classici 68 (2012) pp. 103-43.
‘Inventa est blandae rationis imago: Visualizing the Mausoleum of the Flavii’, Transactions of the American Philological Asssociation (forthcoming, 2013).
Review: Vassiliki Panoussi, Greek Tragedy in Vergil’s Aeneid: ritual, empire and intertext (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Journal of Roman Studies 101(2011) pp. 279-80.
Review: Michael C. J. Putnam, The Humanness of Heroes: studies in the conclusion of Vergil’s Aeneid(Amsterdam University Press, 2011), Journal of Roman Studies 103 (2013).
I teach courses in Greek and Latin language and literature, either in the original or in translation.
Expertise and Engagement
I am happy to supervise doctoral work in most areas of late Republican and early Imperial Latin poetry, and to be involved in any projects concerning the theory and reception of Classics in the 19th and 20th century.
I work closely with schools in the London area and beyond. I offer talks on A and AS level topics in Latin and Classical Civilisation, as well as more general talks on aspiring to and applying to university. I will be organising a series of lectures to be run by KCL academics for A level students from London schools, to take place in the spring of 2013.
I am involved with teaching Classics outside university settings, most recently in collaboration with Mumsnet Academy. With the help of some other KCL professors and lecturers I am running a course on Roman culture alongside Mary Beard (Cambridge University), and planning one on Greek culture with Charlotte Higgins (The Guardian) and Tim Whitmarsh (Oxford University):