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Susan Stephens


Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Classics
PhD Stanford 1972

Contact Information: 

Email: susanas@stanford.edu
Building 110, Room 201

Office Hours: 

by appointment only


My early formal training was as a papyrologist. For a number of years I published texts from the Oxyrhynchus and the Yale papyrus collections before turning to the two areas of research that continue to occupy me: the political and social dimensions of Hellenistic literature (and its later reception) and ancient Greek fiction writing. With Jack Winkler I edited Ancient Greek Novels: The Fragments (Princeton) in 1995, and I continue to write on the social contexts of the novels and on Hellenistic Egypt more generally.  In 1998 I began to write on the Hellenistic poets suggesting that their poems could be best be understood as contextualized responses to a new time and place—the recently founded city of Alexandria. Seeing Double: Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria, which appeared in 2003, was a study of how the local Egyptian contours of Ptolemaic kingship informed the poetry of Callimachus, Theocritus, and Apollonius. Since then then I have turned to Callimachus’ reception of earlier writing (particularly Herodotus and Plato), his imagined geographies, and his appropriation of earlier Greek myths of North Africa. Callimachus in Context. From Plato to the Alexandrian Poets (with Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Cambridge, 2011) and Brill’s Companion to Callimachus (co-edited with Acosta-Hughes and Luigi Lehnus) will both appear this summer.

At the moment I am writing a commentary on Callimachus’ Hymns and, in an effort to make Callimachus’ Aetia more accessible and user friendly, will be facilitating a website located on the Stanford server. More information about the site is available in the 2010 department newsletter.
REPRESENTATIVE PUBLICATIONS (see attached CV for full list)
               "Who Read Ancient Novels?" The Search for the Ancient Novel, edited by James Tatum (Johns Hopkins Press (1994) 405-18.
               "Commenting on Fragments" in The Classical Commentary: History, Practices, Theory edited by R. Gibson and Christina Kraus (Brill, 2002) 67-88.
               "Egyptian Callimachus," Callimaque. Entretiens sur L'Antiquité classique, 48 (Geneva: Fondation Hardt, 2002), 235-70.
               “Posidippus’ Poetry Book: Where Macedon Meets Egypt,” in WV Harris and G. Ruffini, eds., Ancient Alexandria: between Greece and Egypt (Brill, 2004) 63-86.
               “Lessons of the Crocodile” in "Imperial Trauma: The Powerlessness of the Powerful" Symposium on Imperial Trauma, part I. Common Knowledge 11:2 (2005) 215-39.
               “Ptolemaic Pastoral", Companion to Pastoral, eds. M. Fantuzzi and T. Papanghelis (Leiden 2006) 91-118.
               “Ptolemaic Epic” Brill Companion to Apollonius Rhodius, 2nd revised edition (Leiden 2008) 95-114.
                “The New Alexandrian Library” in Classics and National Cultures, eds. Stephens and Vasunia (Oxford, 2010) 267-84.


Selected Courses