Gregory Nagy

Professor Gregory Nagy

Acclaimed Homer Scholar Gregory Nagy to Speak

February 11, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - At some point in every student's life, he or she encounters the adventure of the Greek myths, whether through the tales of Homer or the poetry of Sappho. Illinois Wesleyan University will celebrate that tradition by welcoming the nationally celebrated scholar of classical Greek Gregory Nagy, the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature at Harvard University.

Nagy will present the keynote address for the Ides Lecture & Performance Series in Beckman Auditorium in The Ames Library (1 Ames Plaza) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4. The event is free and open to the public. His topic will be "The fragmentary Muse and the poetics of refraction in Sappho, Sophocles, Offenbach," which will compare the poetry of Sophocles, the songs of Sappho and the opera of Jacques Offenbach.


Professor Gregory Nagy of Harvard will compare the poetry of ancient poet Sapphos (above) to the works of Sophocles and the operas of Jacques Offenbach.

"It's exciting that students will have the chance to interact with one of the most important scholars of classical Greek literature in the world," said Director of Greek and Roman Studies Nancy Sultan, who was a student at Harvard under Nagy in the 1980s.

The Ides Lecture & Performance Series is sponsored by Illinois Wesleyan's Greek and Roman Studies. The series invites speakers and performers to campus in celebration of the Ides, which derives its name from the Roman calendar marking the full moon of each month. "Every March, we invite a keynote speaker who has made major contributions to the comparative field of Ancient Studies," said Sultan, noting Nagy is one of the world's leading authorities on Homeric poetry.

Nagy has been publishing studies of Homer for more than 30 years, with over 100 articles and books to his credit, including The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979 and 1999), which won the Goodwin Award of Merit from the American Philological Association; Greek Mythology and Poetics (Cornell University Press, 1990); Pindar's Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990); Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Homeric Questions (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996) and Plato's Rhapsody and Homer's Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002).

Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960