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Helen Lovatt

Professor of Classics, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Helen Lovatt studied Classics at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where she wrote her PhD on the athletic games in Statius Thebaid 6, under the supervision of John Henderson. After a temporary lectureship at Keele University, she held a Junior Research Fellowship at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge (then New Hall). In 2003 she joined the department of Classics at the University of Nottingham, and is now a Professor. She commutes weekly from Cambridgeshire, where she still lives with her husband and two children. She plays the tenor horn in the Eversden Brass Band along with the rest of her family.

Expertise Summary

I began by working on Latin epic and its reception, but now have a broader interest in Greek and Latin epic, other aspects of Latin literature, Roman social and cultural history, and the reception of Classical antiquity, especially in detective fiction and children's literature. I am very happy to supervise PhDs on a wide range of subjects relating to my interests, especially Flavian epic; vision and Latin literature; Classics and children's literature; the Argonauts. I have already supervised three to completion: on pudor, pietas and timor in Flavian epic; on Statius and Homer and a commentary on Apollonius Argonautica 4. I am currently supervising four: Viewing Violence in Tacitus; Narrative Voice in Translations of Virgil; a commentary on Silius Italicus 17; Representing non-Romans in late antiquity.

Teaching Summary

I teach mainly Latin and literature, but with some Greek literature, cultural and social history, and a strong interest in myth and reception, especially film, fiction and children's literature. I… read more

Research Summary

The Power of Sadness: Trauma and Resilience in Virgil's Aeneid. This project explores the representation of negative emotions and the way characters and readers respond to them in Virgil's poem of… read more

Recent Publications

  • LOVATT, H. V., 2016. Flavian Spectacle: Paradox and Wonder. In: ZISSOS, A., ed., A Companion to the Flavian Age of Imperial Rome Blackwell. 361-75
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2015. Following after Valerius: Argonautic moments in Statius’ Thebaid. In: DOMINIK, W.J., GERVAIS, K. and NEWLANDS, C.,, eds., Brill's Companion to Statius Brill. 408-24
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2015. Death on the Margins: Statius and the Spectacle of the Dying Epic Hero. In: BAKOGIANNI, ANASTASIA and HOPE, VALERIE M., eds., War as Spectacle: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict Bloomsbury. 73-92
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2014. Teamwork, leadership and group dynamics in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica. In: HEERINK, M. and MANUWALD, G., eds., Brill's Companion to Valerius Flaccus E.J.Brill. 211-28

I teach mainly Latin and literature, but with some Greek literature, cultural and social history, and a strong interest in myth and reception, especially film, fiction and children's literature. I enjoy developing new modules, and working with different age groups and types of people. I have run a Latin club in a primary school. I am interested in employability, student-centred learning, research-based learning, project work and independent learning. I am currently chair of the Council of UK Classics Department Education Committee, organising events on Transition to University, and Feedback. I have designed modules at all levels of our courses and worked on curriculum design. I am particularly interested in the transition to higher education, integrating outreach work into teaching, supporting independent work, developing academic confidence.Recently I collaborated with Esther Eidinow on an MA module on Myth Society and Religion, developed a worksheet on Obscenity in Catullus for the Studying Classical Scholarship module, and teaching second and third year Latinists about Martial and Statius. Last year I developed a module on Valerius Flaccus and Maffeo Vegio, and I am currently looking after the Independent Second Year Project. I also teach big modules on Jason and the Argonauts, and Virgil and the Epic Tradition. I will next be on research leave in Spring 2019.

Current Research

The Power of Sadness: Trauma and Resilience in Virgil's Aeneid. This project explores the representation of negative emotions and the way characters and readers respond to them in Virgil's poem of the destruction of Troy and foundation of Rome. Aeneas experiences many traumas: the destruction of his city, the loss of his wife, the death of his father, the suicide of his ex-lover, the death of his protégé. Yet he goes on from these traumas to act, sometimes constructively, sometimes destructively. The Aeneid is often read and received as a poem of sadness, but also a poem of political change. Is sadness a cause of power as much as a cost of power?

I am editing a volume on metamorphosis and classics in children's literature, with Owen Hokinson, which will be submitted shortly. My own contributions include articles on Harry Potter and the Roman Mysteries. Others write about Michael Cadnum, C. S. Lewis, Edward Lear, school stories.

I am also working on a cultural history of the Argonautic myth, from its earliest beginnings up to its most recent reworkings. Other interests include: Neo-Latin epic, especially the Carlias of Ugolino Verino, the reception of ancient epic and other aspects of the Classical world (Ovid's exile, children's literature); gender and language; Flavian epic.

Past Research

My past research started from the poet Statius (late first century AD) and his epic the Thebaid, though I have also worked on the Achilleid and the Silvae. My first book focused on his athletic games and in this I investigated sport and spectacle in the whole epic tradition, reading Statius' games as poetic and political, forming a microcosm of the whole epic, and reflecting on the epic tradition and Roman realities.

My PhD thesis on the athletic games in Statius' Thebaid was published as Statius and Epic Games: Sport, Politics and Poetics in the Thebaid (Cambridge 2005). My second book entitled The Epic Gaze: Vision, Gender and Narrative in Ancient Epic (Cambridge 2013), which is a study of vision and visuality in ancient epic from Homer to Nonnus, is now out, along with an edited volume on visuality and ancient epic, Epic Visions, edited with Caroline Vout (Cambridge 2013), now out in paperback.

Future Research

The Carlias of Ugolino Verino. A long term project to study and raise awareness of this fifteenth century Neo-Latin epic on the exploits of Charlemagne. One focus on the reception of first century Latin epic, another on contextualisation, patronage and politics, bringing out the transformation of the epic genre. Two papers given: The afterlife of epic games in the Carlias of Ugolino Verino; Epic heroism as visual art: teichoscopy and ekphrasis in Ugolino Verino Carlias book 1. Books 1-4 translated. Book proposal for translation to be submitted to Bristol Phoenix Press.

Voyages with Jason: I teach a module on the Argonautic myth and its reception. Long term aim: monograph. From Apollonius to Harryhausen and beyond, the Argonautica is an enduringly popular story that has been re-used and re-worked by artists, writers, musicians and film-makers down the ages.

Narrative Transition from Homer to Lemony Snicket: How do narratives move between scenes? How can they be divided up? What happens at the seams? What can this tell us about different modes of audience engagement? How does narrative transition affect immersion? An article on narrative transition in Statius in underway.

Classics in Children's Literature: A conference was held in July 2009 jointly organised with Owen Hodkinson at Lampeter. We are now preparing an edited volume from the conference. I am also producing a number of articles on the Roman Mysteries of Caroline Lawrence.

Flavian Epic Network: We aim to get those working on Statius, Silius and Valerius Flaccus together to talk to each other and explore the interactions between the three epicists. Organising committee: Helen Lovatt, Gesine Manuwald, Emma Buckley, Bob Cowan and Martin Dinter. E-mail discussion list up and running: subscribe at http://lists.nottingham.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/flavian-epic-network . A number of events have been held in St. Andrews, Nottingham, Edinburgh, London, Sydney, Warsaw, Delphi, Edinburgh, Budapest, Nijmegen, Nottingham (War and Autocracy in and around the Flavian Period, in September 2016).

  • LOVATT, H. V., 2016. Flavian Spectacle: Paradox and Wonder. In: ZISSOS, A., ed., A Companion to the Flavian Age of Imperial Rome Blackwell. 361-75
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2015. Following after Valerius: Argonautic moments in Statius’ Thebaid. In: DOMINIK, W.J., GERVAIS, K. and NEWLANDS, C.,, eds., Brill's Companion to Statius Brill. 408-24
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2015. Death on the Margins: Statius and the Spectacle of the Dying Epic Hero. In: BAKOGIANNI, ANASTASIA and HOPE, VALERIE M., eds., War as Spectacle: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict Bloomsbury. 73-92
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2014. Teamwork, leadership and group dynamics in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica. In: HEERINK, M. and MANUWALD, G., eds., Brill's Companion to Valerius Flaccus E.J.Brill. 211-28
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2013. The epic gaze: vision, gender and narrative in ancient epic Cambridge University Press.
  • LOVATT, H.V. and VOUT, C., eds., 2013. Epic visions: visuality in Greek and Latin epic and its reception Cambridge University Press.
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2013. Competing visions: prophecy, spectacle, and theatricality in Flavian epic. In: AUGOUSTAKIS, A., ed., Religion and ritual in Flavian epic Oxford University Press. 53-70
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2013. Opera and epic: Berlioz stages Virgil. In: LOVATT, H.V. and VOUT, CAROLINE, eds., Epic Visions Cambridge University Press. 60-77
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2013. The eloquence of Dido: speech and gender in Virgil’s Aeneid: Dictynna Dictynna. 10,
  • LOVATT, H.V.,, 2011. The Mystery of Ovid’s Exile: Ovid and the Roman detectives. In: INGLEHEART, J.,, ed., Two thousand years of solitude Oxford University Press. 241-58
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2010. Cannibalising history? Livian moments in Statius' Thebaid. In: MILLER, J.F. and WOODMAN, A.J., eds., Latin historiography and poetry in the early empire: generic interactions Brill. 71-86
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2010. Interplay: reading backwards and forwards in the games of Statius Thebaid 6 and Silius Punica 16. In: AUGOUSTAKIS, A., ed., A Companion to Silius Italicus Brill. 155-76
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2009. Gutting the Argonautica? Making Jason and the Argonauts suitable for children. In: LOWE, D. and SHAHABUDIN, K., eds., Classics for all Cambridge Scholars Press. 17-38
  • LOVATT, H. V., 2007. Statius, Orpheus and the post-Augustan vates Arethusa. 40(2), 145-163
  • LOVATT, H. V., 2007. Statius on Parade: Performing Argive Identity in Thebaid 6.268-95 Cambridge Classical Journal. 53, 72-95
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2006. The female gaze in Flavian epic: looking out from the walls in Valerius Flaccus and Statius. In: NAUTA, R.R., VAN DAM, H.-J. and SMOLENAARS, J.J.L., eds., Flavian Poetry Leiden: Brill. 59-78
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2005. Statius and epic games: sport, politics and poetics in the Thebaid Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2004. Epic games and real games in Statius, Thebaid 6 and Virgil, Aeneid 5. In: BELL, S. and DAVIES, G., eds., Games and Festivals in Classical Antiquity Oxford: Archaeopress. 107-114
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2004. Review of Nagle, B. R., 'The Silvae of Statius. Translated with Notes and Introduction.' Bloomington, IL: Indiana University Press, 2004. Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2004.09.33,
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2003. Review of 'Andreia: Studies in Manliness and Courage in Classical Antiquity' ed. Ralph M. Rosen and Ineke Sluiter, Leiden: E.J.Brill (2003) Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2003.12.19,
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2003. Review of Rüpke, J., (ed.) Von Göttern und Menschen erzählen: Formkonstanzen und Funktionswandel vormoderner Epik (Stuttgart 2001) Journal of Roman Studies. 93, 341-2
  • LOVATT, H. V., 2002. Statius' ekphrastic games: Thebaid 6.531-47 Ramus: Critical Studies in Greek and Roman Literature. 31(1/2), 73-90
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2002. Cheats never prosper? Sport and morality in Aeneid 5' Omnibus (London). 44, 11-13
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2002. Review of Spentzou, E., and Fowler, D., (eds.) Cultivating the Muse (Oxford, 2002) Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2002.10.34,
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2001. Mad about winning: Epic, war and madness in the games of Statius' Thebaid Materiali e Discussioni per l'Analisi dei Testi Classici. 46, 103-120
  • LOVATT, H.V., 2001. Review of Farrell, J., Latin language and Latin culture (Cambridge 2001) Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2001.09.3,
  • LOVATT, H. V., 1999. COMPETING ENDINGS: RE-READING THE END OF THE THEBAID THROUGH LUCAN Ramus. VOL 28(PART 2), 126-151
  • LOVATT, H.V., East, West and Finding yourself in Caroline Lawrence's. In: MARCINIAK, KATARZYNA, ed., Our Mythical Childhood E.J.Brill.

Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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