Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Biography

Gonda Van Steen earned a BA and MA degree in Classics in Belgium and a PhD degree in Classics and Hellenic Studies from Princeton University. Her research and teaching interests include Greek language and literature through Byzantine and Modern Greek, Western travelers to Greece and the Ottoman Empire, nineteenth and twentieth-century receptions of the classics and especially of ancient theatre, and modern Greek intellectual and social history.

Van Steen holds the position of Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature in KCL’s Centre for Hellenic Studies and Department of Classics. Formerly, as the Cassas Chair in Greek Studies at the University of Florida, she taught courses in ancient and modern Greek language and literature and served as president and subsequently as executive director of the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA, www.mgsa.org).

Van Steen is the author of four books: Venom in Verse: Aristophanes in Modern Greece (2000); Liberating Hellenism from the Ottoman Empire (2010); Theatre of the Condemned: Classical Tragedy on Greek Prison Islands (2011); and Stage of Emergency: Theater and Public Performance under the Greek Military Dictatorship of 1967-1974 (2015).

Her latest book, entitled Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo? (2019), has taken her into the new, uncharted terrain of Greek adoption stories that become paradigmatic of Cold War politics and history.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Modern Greek history and politics
  • Ancient through Modern Greek language and literature
  • Reception Studies
  • Adoption Studies

Teaching

  • Modern Greek history and politics
  • Ancient through Modern Greek language and literature
  • Reception Studies
  • Study abroad programs

Expertise and public engagement

Media appearances related to my work on the adoptions of Greek children in the postwar and Cold War era.

Consultant on documentary film project related to the above topic.

Publications 

Book publications

  • Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo? (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (2019)
  • Stage of Emergency: Theater and Public Performance under the Greek Military Dictatorship of 1967-1974 (Oxford: OUP, 2015)
  • Theatre of the Condemned: Classical Tragedy on Greek Prison Islands (Oxford: OUP, 2011)
  • Liberating Hellenism from the Ottoman Empire: Comte de Marcellus and the Last of the Classics (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010)
  • Venom in Verse: Aristophanes in Modern Greece (Princeton: PUP, 2000)

Refereed journal articles and chapters in books (selection)

  • “Inglorious Barbarians: Court Intrigue and Military Disaster Strike Xerxes, ‘The Sick Man of Europe.’” In Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus, edited by R. F. Kennedy, 243-269 (Leiden: Brill, 2018)
  • “Comedy and Tragedy in Agon(y): The 1902 Comedy Panathenaia of Andreas Nikolaras.” In Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Aristophanes, edited by Ph. Walsh, 240-262 (Leiden: Brill, 2016)
  • “Arthur W. Pinero and Cavafy the Dramatist: The Parallel Quest for the Quality Play.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 48, 2 (Fall 2015) 73-106
  •  “Snapshots of Aristophanes and Menander: From Spontaneous Reception to Belated Reception Study.” In The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy, ed. M. Revermann, 433-450 (Cambridge: CUP, 2014)
  • “Sin and the City: A Mid-Fifteenth-Century Lament for the Fall of Athens to the ‘Persians.’” In Re-imagining the Past: Antiquity and Modern Greek Culture, ed. D. Tziovas, 229-251 (Oxford: OUP, 2014)