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Michael Fontaine

Professor and Associate Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education

Goldwin Smith Hall, Room 121
439 Day Hall
mf268@cornell.edu

Website(s)

Keywords

Latin Literature, Classics, ancient Rome, ancient Comedy, Plautus, Terence, jokes, puns, wine, Virgil, neo-Latin

Departments/Programs

  • Classics

Graduate Fields

  • Classics

Research

Beyond Cornell, I'm an advisory board member of The Paideia Institute. I'm a big proponent of teaching Latin as an active, living (spoken) language (see here), which is how I learned it.

I regularly consult on Latin for museums, institutions, dealers, and collectors. I've exposed forgery in Renaissance and Dutch Golden Age paintings, discovered the forgotten provenance of a major manuscript, and I interpret manuscripts, books, maps, and engravings of all kinds. Please email me if you need help.

In 2016 I received the Thomas S. Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties.

    Courses

    Publications

    For a complete list, click here. Book reviews are here.

    New Books

    1. In progress. How to Drink: A Classical Guide to the Art of Imbibing. Princeton University Press. (A translation and edition of Vincent Obsopoeus’ 1537 De Arte Bibendi).


    2. In press. (co-ed.) Quasi Labor Intus: Ambiguity in the Latin Language (Essays in Honor of Fr. Reginald Foster, OCD) (co-ed. with Charles McNamara and William Short). Paideia Institute Press.


     

    Recent Articles:


    (in press). 'The Myth of Ovid's Exile.' Electryone (in English, and will appear elsewhere in Chinese translation.)


    (in press). ‘Before Pussy Riot: Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of Plautus.’ (On Sotades as the "barbarian poet" in Miles Gloriosus)


    (in press). 'A Cute Illness in Epidaurus: Eight sick jokes in Plautus' Gorgylio (Curculio).' Quasi Labor Intus: Ambiguity in the Latin Language.


    2017. 'Schizophrenia, then and now: The Libation Bearers of Aeschylus.' Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas.


    2017. ‘O Maravilhoso Mistério de Mater-Virgo de Joannes Burmeister.’ A comédia e seus duplos: o Anfitrião de Plauto. (English translation here)


    2017. 'Joachim Camerarius on Witches, Witchcraft, and Criminal Responsibility, Or, How to Philologize with a Witches' Hammer.' Camerarius Polyhistor.


    2016. 'What Rome Can Teach Us Today: Ancient Lessons for Modern Politics.' Foreign Affairs.


    2016. 'Reconsidering Some Plautine Elements in Plautus (Amphitryo 303-7, Captivi 80-4).' Classical Journal.


    2016. 'Is the Story of Susanna and the Elders based on a Greek New Comedy? The Evidence of Plautus' Casina and Burmeister's Susanna.'  Roman Drama and its Contexts.


    2016. 'Freudian Bullseyes in Classical Perspective--The Psycholinguistics of Guilt in Virgil's Aeneid.' Wordplay and Powerplay in Latin Poetry.


    2016. 'Schizophrenia in The Golden Ass.' Electryone & MadinAmerica.com.

     

    Recent or upcoming talks (click here for details):

    • "Camerarius Camelarius: A New Salt Road to the Modern World."
    • "From Democracy to Authoritarianism: The Death of the Roman Republic."
    • "Psychiatry in the Sistine Chapel."
    • "Title IX Problems: Rape and Responsibility at UVA and classical Athens."

    News