Matthieu Réal

Visiting Lecturer


Matthieu Réal is a classicist whose interests include Greek and Latin literature, ancient scholarship, ancient biographies, and the history of ancient Aristotelianism. His book project, The Greeks and Their Texts: Interpreting Poetry before Aristotle’s Poetics, investigates how the Classical audience interpreted Archaic poetry. Far from being pedantic and moralistic censors of literature, the readers of the Classical period exhibited a mastery of sophisticated exegetical techniques through which they skillfully interpreted —as well as willfully misinterpreted— poetry. By focusing on well-studied texts (Aristophanes’ Frogs and Plato’s Protagoras) as well as lesser-known ones (such as the fragments of Zoilus of Amphipolis, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, and the Derveni Papyrus), his book reimagines the “invention” of literary criticism in Greece. Already before Aristotle legitimized literary investigation in his Poetics, ancient readers had developed a keen eye for literature.

Matthieu is passionate about introducing students to classical literature and its reception. He is currently teaching classes on the representation of the Odyssey in films as well as on Dante and Walcott. He also collaborates with the Cornell Prison Education Program and teaches courses on classics and literature in upstate New York State prisons.

Before joining Cornell, first as a Graduate student and then as a Visiting Lecturer, Matthieu studied classics in Italy (Padova University) and, for shorter periods of time, in the Netherlands (Leiden University) and France (Paris, ENS).


“Andronikos of Rhodes” in (ed. by. S. Schorn-L. Bossina) Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker continued, IV, Leiden-Boston: Brill (forthcoming)

“Adrastos of Aphrodisias” in (ed. by. S. Schorn-L. Bossina) Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker continued, IV, Leiden-Boston: Brill (forthcoming)

“Enigma ed esegesi nel papiro di Derveni” in (ed. A. De Blasi et Al.) Dall’Ombre al chiaro lume: L’enigma e le sue declinazioni nella letteratura, Padova: Padova University Press (forthcoming)

“Noisy Omens and Enslaved Gods: Interpreting Zoilus’ Criticisms of Homer,” Mnemosyne, advance publications, 1-24, 2023.

Ex commentario sapere: Andronico di Rodi, Tolomeo e l’esegesi aristotelica” in (ed. by R. Tondini-M. Bergamo) Filosofia, filologia e scienza in età ellenistica, 83-103. Milano: Ledizioni, 2022.



CLASS Courses - Spring 2024