Dr Jennifer Wallace, Peterhouse




Biographical Information

I studied both Classics and English for my undergraduate degree in Cambridge and wrote a doctorate on Romantic Hellenism. I took up my current post, as Harris Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Peterhouse, and affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of English, in 1995. My interest in Greece has led me to serve since 2010 on the jury of the annual London Hellenic Prize (an award given to a book related in some way to Greece, ancient or modern)  and on the production committee of the Cambridge Greek Play. I have organised four international conferences in Cambridge, supported by the Judith E Wilson fund, on the performance of Greek tragedy, bringing together academics and theatre practitioners. I am an Associate Editor of the Classical Receptions Journal (OUP), a member of the Advisory Board of the Oxford Classical Reception Commentaries, and I sit on the Management Committee of the Cambridge Centre for Greek Studies.

I have been invited to speak to departments of English Literature, Classics and Archaeology in the UK, Europe, China, India, New Zealand and America. Recent keynote or invited lectures have been given at the 2022 International Comparative Literature Association Congress, the 2020 MLA Convention, at the University of Michigan (departments of Classics and Comparative Literature), in Tbilisi, Georgia (Shota Rustaveli Institute of Literature), at Columbia University, New York (Archaeology deparment), Oxford University (Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama) and Freie Universitat, Berlin (Comparative Literature), as well as at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

For further details of this, and my freelance journalistic writing for the Times Higher Education Supplement, Smithsonian Magazine and other publications, see my webpage on the Peterhouse site:

Jennifer Wallace

Research Interests

While I began my research career focusing on Shelley and Romantic Hellenism, and I continue to write about the Romantics and Greece, my interests have since developed into various related areas: Literature of the period 1780-1900; Classical reception in English literature; Women, gender and the classics; Archaeological poetics; memorial and memory; Greek tragedy; Comparative tragedy; Greece and hellenism; Photography and performance.

Publications include books on Shelley and Greece: Rethinking Romantic Hellenism (1997); Digging the Dirt: The Archaeological Imagination (2004); The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy (2007); The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature 1790-1880 (2015) and Tragedy Since 9/11: Reading a World Out of Joint (2019). Current research projects include receptions of Sappho - verbal and visual - in the nineteenth century and further writing on tragedy and crisis.

My first work of fiction, Digging Up Milton, set in 1790, was published in 2015 by Cillian Press.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

MPhil and PhD supervision on my research areas outlined above. Recent PhD students I've supervised or examined have worked on: the reception of Catullus in the Romantic period; clouds from Aristophanes to cloud computing; classical metre in Victorian poetry; ideas of tragedy in the Romantic period; Christopher Logue's War Music; contemporary postcolonial adaptations of ancient tragedy.

Selected Publications

Books and editions:

  • Tragedy since 9/11: Reading a World Out of Joint (Bloomsbury, 2019).
  • (Ed.), A Cultural History of Tragedy in the Modern Age: 1920 to the Present (Bloomsbury, 2019).
  • (Ed.), The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature 1790-1880, with Norman Vance (Oxford University Press, 2015). 2nd edn in paperback (2020).
  • Digging Up Milton (Cillian Press, 2015). A work of fiction.
  • The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • Digging the Dirt: The Archaeological Imagination (Duckworth, 2004).
  • (Guest ed.), Special issue on Sophocles' Electra, with Jane Montgomery, Didaskalia: Ancient Theatre Today (2002). Online journal.
  • Shelley and Greece: Rethinking Romantic Hellenism (Macmillan, 1997)
  • (Ed.), Lives of the Great Romantics: Keats (Pickering and Chatto, 1997)

Research articles:

  • "Picturing Sappho in the Nineteenth Century: Losing Distinction", in Brill's Companion to the Ancient and Modern Reception of Sappho, edited by Katerina Stergiopoulou (Brill, 2024). Forthcoming.
  • “Decomposing Milton: Romantic Reading and Demotic Dispersal”, in Milton’s Moving Bodies, edited by Marissa Greenberg and Rachel Trubowitz (Northwestern University Press, 2024). Forthcoming.
  • "The Later Eighteenth Century and Romantic Mythographic Tradition", in Roger Woodard (ed.), The Cambridge History of World Mythology and Mythography, Vol 2 (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
  • "Reading the Tragedy of Covid", Crisis and Critique, 10.2 (2023), 262-278.
  • "Laughter and the Performance of Death" (co-written with Rupert Glasgow) in Ramona Mosse and Anna Street (eds.), Genre Transgressions: Dialogues on Tragedy and Comedy (Routledge, 2023), pp. 93-111.
  • Beachy Head, Ancient Barrows, and the “Alembic” of Romantic Archaeological Poetics”, Romanticism, 29.1 (2023), pp. 28-41.
  • "Imitation and Translation: L.E.L. and E.B.B." in Louise Joy and Jessica Lim (eds.), Women's Literary Education, 1690-1850 (Edinburgh University Press, 2023), pp. 116-138.
  • “Hellenism, Philhellenism and Classical Reception: Commemorating the 1821 Revolution”, co-written with Vassilis Lambropoulos. Classical Receptions Journal, 13.4 (2021), pp. 571-596.
  • "Picturing Antiquity: Photography, Performance and Julia Margaret Cameron" in Edmund Richardson (ed.), Classics in Extremis: The Edges of Classical Reception (Bloomsbury, 2019), pp. 72-87.
  • "Tragedy, Recognition and the War on Terror" in Fionnuala O'Neill, Erik Tonning and Jolyon Mitchell (eds.), The Transformations of Tragedy: Christian Influences from Early Modern to Modern (Brill, 2019), pp. 295-314.
  • “The Tragic Critic After 9/11”. PMLA (October 2016), pp. 1495-1503.
  • "Tragedy, Photography and Osama Bin Laden: Looking at the Enemy", Critical Quarterly, 57.2 (2015), pp. 17-35.
  • "'Greek Under the Trees: Classical Reception and Gender", in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature 1790-1880 (2015). pp.243-278.
  • "The Younger Romantics: Leigh Hunt, Keats and Shelley", in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature 1790-1880  (2015), pp. 413-448.
  • "Tragedy and Laughter", Comparative Drama, 47.2 (2013), pp. 201-224
  • "Tragedy in China", Cambridge Quarterly, 42.2 (2013), pp. 99-111
  • “Classics as Souvenir: L.E.L. and the Annuals”, Classical Receptions Journal, 3.1 (2011), pp. 109-128. 
  • “’Copying Shelley’s Letters’: Mary Shelley and the Uncanny Erotics of Greek”, Women’s Studies, 40.1 (2011), pp. 404-428.  
  • “Tragic Sacrifice and Faith: Abraham and Agamemnon Again”, in Kevin Taylor and Giles Waller (eds.), Christian Theology and Tragedy: Theologians, Tragic Literature and Tragic Theory  (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 35-52.
  • "Tragedy and Exile", in Sarah Brown (ed.), Tragedy in Transition (Blackwell, 2007), pp. 141-156
  • "'We Can't Make More Dirt': Tragedy and the Excavated Body", Cambridge Quarterly, 32.3 (2003), pp. 103-111
  • "Confined and Exposed: Elizabeth Carter's Classical Translations", Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 22.2 (Fall, 2003), pp. 315-334. Republished in Edith Hall and Rosie Wyles (eds.), Women Classical Scholars (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 132-152.
  • "Keats's Frailty: The Body and Biography", in A. Bradley and A. Rawes (eds.), Romantic Biography (Ashgate, 2003), pp. 139-151.
  • "Romantic Electra: The Case of Shelley's Beatrice", Didaskalia: Ancient Theatre Today, 5.3 (2002) [online].
  • "Digging for Homer: Literary Authenticity and Romantic Archaeology", Romanticism (2001), pp. 73-87
  • "Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Knowing Greek", Essays in Criticism (2000).pp. 329-353
  • "The (Hi)story of Illyria", Greece and Rome, 45.2 (1998), pp. 213-225
  • "Translation in Arnold's Empedocles", Essays in Criticism, Vol 45 No. 4, (1995),pp. 301-323
  • "Tyranny and Translation: Shelley's Unbinding of Prometheus", Romanticism, 1.1 (1995), pp. 15-33.
  • "'We are all Greeks': National identity and the Greek War of Independence", Byron Journal, 23 (1995), pp. 36-49
  • "Shelley, Plato and the Political Imagination", in A. Baldwin and S. Hutton (eds.), Platonism and the English Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 229-241.