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Department of Classics

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell Univeristy Department of Classics

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Fontaine, Michael

Associate Professor

email:
phone: 607/255-5541
room: Goldwin Smith Hall, Room 121

Department Appointments

  • Classics (CLASS)

Graduate Fields

  • Classics

Keywords

Latin Literature

Research

  • Latin literature. Special interests include ancient comedy, Virgil, and classical ideas about the mind, psychiatry, or mental illness. My two latest projects look at schizophrenia in classical literature from a highly unorthodox perspective. The first discusses Orestes in Aeschylus' Libation Bearers and the second looks at Apuleius' Golden Ass.
Clicking on the titles of my papers below will bring up a copy or preprint.

 

Courses

Fall 2015 Office Hours:
W 2:15-3:00, F 12:05-12:45

Winter 2016 (January term): Greek Mythology (CLASS 2604)

Fall 2015
Introduction to Ancient Rome (CLASS 1615)
Latin Prose (LATIN 2201: Sallust's Bellum Catilinae)

Spring 2015
Latin Historiography (LATIN 2208: Livy Book 1)
Survey of Latin Literature (LATIN 4204: focus is on ancient drama)

I mostly teach Latin. In the last five years, graduate courses covered Plautus, Sallust, Lucretius, Suetonius, Ovid, and the survey of Latin literature; undergraduate courses covered Virgil, Catullus, Cicero, Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus.

I'm a huge fan of The Paideia Institute, having had the great good fortune to teach for the Living Latin in Rome program in summer 2014. If you want to get good at Latin--really good--this is the best way to do it. (You can see more about Paideia in Professor Anthony Grafton's 2015 write-up in The Nation.)

Selected Publications

Books

c. 2017. (ed.) Quasi Labor Intus: Ambiguity in the Latin Language. Co-edited with William M. Short and Charles McNamara. This is a Festschrift and will be published by Brill as a Mnemosyne supplement

2015. (ed., tr.) Joannes Burmeister:  Aulularia and other Inversions of Plautus.  Leuven University Press (Bibliotheca Latinitatis Novae). (See here.)

2014. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Comedy. Co-edited with Adele Scafuro.  Oxford University Press. I wrote the main chapters on Plautus and Terence.

2010. Funny Words in Plautine Comedy. Oxford University Press. (BMCR review here)

Newer articles and greatest hits

  • On Greek and Roman comedy:

(in progress). 'A Cute Illness in Epidaurus: Morbus hepatiarius and other sick jokes in Plautus' Gorgylio (Curculio).'

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

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

2015. 'Von Athen nach Rom: Von dem Griechischen ins Lateinische Komödie,’ in Fragmente einer Geschichte der griechischen Komödie/Fragmentary History of Greek Comedy, Verlag-Antike.

2014. ‘Dynamics of Appropriation in Roman Comedy:  Menander’s Kolax in Three Roman Receptions (Naevius, Plautus, and Terence’s Eunuchus),’ in Ancient Comedy and Reception. De Gruyter.

2014. ‘The Reception of Greek Comedy in Rome’ in The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy.

  • On Virgil:

2015. 'Aeneas in Palestine.' Eidolon.

2015. 'Freudian Bullseyes in Classical Perspective--The Psycholinguistics of Guilt in Virgil's Aeneid.' Wordplay and Powerplay in Latin poetry, de Gruyter.

  • On psychiatry or mental illness:

(in progress). 'The World's First Paranoid Schizophrenic? A Psychiatric Look at Aeschylus' Orestes.'

2016. 'Joachim Camerarius on Witches, Witchcraft, and Criminal Responsibility, Or, How to Philologize with a Witches' Hammer.' The proceedings of the Camerarius Polyhistor Neolatina conference (Wuerzburg, 2015).

2015. Review essay of W. V. Harris (ed.), Mental Disorders in the Classical World (Brill 2013). Electryone 3.2.

2014. 'On Religious and Psychiatric Atheism: The Success of Epicurus, the Failure of Thomas Szasz.' MadinAmerica.com (August 26).

2013. ‘On Being Sane in an Insane Place—The Rosenhan Experiment in the Laboratory of Plautus’ Epidamnus,’ Current Psychology. (reposted at Szasz.com; an oral version here, a summary here.)

 

For golden oldies, B-sides, and book reviews, see here.

For my essays in Eidolon, the public-facing Classics journal, see here.