Mike Fontaine

Professor

Overview

I'm a Latinist with broad interests in Ancient Rome, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment. In recent years I held a variety of leadership roles in Cornell's central administration. My latest work is a book on breakups and another on addiction and bullying, both for Princeton University Press. Previous books covered wine, swine, grief, mind, and a good laugh. Next up, free speech through the ages, with projects on Plato, Plutarch, Lucian, and the Enlightenment. Oh, and I was also recently parodied on Saturday Night Live (really! see it here.) 

At Cornell, I teach courses on Ancient Rome, Greek Mythology, Wine Culture, and Latin literature of all time periods. For business executives worldwide, I teach eCornell courses on leadership from Ancient Rome and the effective use of humor in the workplace.

  • Cornell students: click here for current course syllabi.
  • Exec ed students: click here for course information.

Publications

For a complete list, click here. Book reviews are here. Popular press writings are here.

 

Latest Books

1. 2024. Ovid. How to Get Over a Breakup: An Ancient Guide to Moving On. Princeton University Press.

2. 2025. Plutarch and Prudentius. How to Have Willpower: An Ancient Guide to Not Giving In. Princeton University Press.

3. 2025/6. Plato. How to Speak Freely: An Ancient Guide for Modern Dissenters. Princeton University Press.

Latest Articles

  1. 2023. “The Stanford Prison Experiment of 200 BC  The Lucifer Effect in Plautus’ Prisoners.” In Gregor Vogt-Spira and Bernhard Zimmermann (eds.), Plautus Revisited: Problemstellungen und Perspektiven der Plautusforschung (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 344-358.
  2. 2023. Ut Pictura Po(e)sis? Wine, Women, and Song in Plautus’ Gorgylio (Curculio).” In Gregor Vogt-Spira and Bernhard Zimmermann (eds.), Plautus Revisited: Problemstellungen und Perspektiven der Plautusforschung (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 375-391.
  3. 2024. "L'arte del prologo." In: Orietta Rossini, Salvatore Monda, and Lucia Spagnuolo (eds.), Teatro: Autori attori e pubblico nell’antica Roma. Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider, pp. 99-105.
  4. In press. Verba Genuina: Parole autentiche e parole “cheeky” in Plauto.” ClassicoContemporaneo.
  5. In press. “How to Make a Joke Without Getting Cancelled: Plutarch’s Survival Guide to Jesting Safely.” (On some passages in Table Talk and Macrobius' Saturnalia).
  6. In press. "Humour as a Calculated Risk."
  7. (Just for fun) 2024. How to Steal From Homer: Duplicative Language in Ancient Greece and Rome. Classical Wisdom.
  8. (Just for fun) 2024. Roamin' Algeria. Antigone Journal.
  9. (Just for fun) 2024. Three Dad Jokes from Ancient Greece for Father’s Day.

In the news

CLASS Courses - Summer 2024

CLASS Courses - Fall 2024

LATIN Courses - Fall 2024

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