Michael Lurie

Assistant Professor of Classics

My work is concerned with Greek and Roman literature and thought, from Homer to late antiquity, and their reception in modern intellectual history.  My current projects include a book on 'Greek pessimism' — a complex set of ideas about the nature of the world and human life that plays a important role in Greek pre-Platonic literature and thought — and its role in the iconoclastic interpretations of Greek culture advanced in the 1870s by Jacob Burckhardt and Friedrich Nietzsche as well as a study in the intellectual history of Greek pre-Platonic theology from the Renaissance to the late 19th century.  

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Before coming to Dartmouth, I taught Classics at the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Edinburgh in the UK and held research fellowships at Oxford, Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the National Humanities Center.  For 2018/19, I have been awarded a senior fellowship at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research.

Undergraduate and graduate teaching has always been very close to my heart. It is arguably  one of most profound ways of making a difference in the world; even more so if one is teaching ancient Greek literature.  For much of its existence, Greek literature was a central and powerful medium of the exploration of the nature of the world and man's place in it. It asked crucial questions of human existence and sought meaning and value in life by transforming struggle, suffering, and grief into transcendent and deeply meaningful objects of beauty. A serious, open-minded, and creative engagement with Greek literature and thought can not only sharpen one’s mind and deepen one’s understanding of our own history, society, and culture, but can also be an all-engrossing, soul-changing, and liberating experience.

I regularly teach Elementary and Intermediate Greek, advanced Greek courses on Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, and Thucydides, an introductory, yet at the same time conceptual course on ancient drama in translation (CLST 2: 'The Tragic Sense of Life: Greek Tragedy and Modernity') as well as a First Year Seminar on traditions of pessimist thought from Homer to Charlie Kaufman ('Pessimism and the Pursuit of Happiness').  I have supervised a number of Doctoral theses and Masters dissertations as well as over 20 senior undergraduate theses on various literary and philosophical aspects of the intellectual history of the ancient world and its reception.

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Personal Website
319 Reed Hall
HB 6086
Dr. phil. University of Berne (Switzerland)
lic. phil. University of Berne (Switzerland)

Selected Publications

Der schiffbrüchige Odysseus oder: Wie Arkesilaos zum Skeptiker wurde. Zu Timon von Phleius fr. 806 SH (32 D), Philologus (2014) 183–186

‘Facing up to tragedy: Toward an intellectual history of Sophocles in Europe from Camerarius to Nietzsche’, in: The Blackwell Companion to Sophocles, ed. K. Ormand (Oxford 2012) 440–461

Die Suche nach der Schuld. Sophokles’ Oedipus Rex, Aristoteles’ Poetik und das Tragödienverständnis der Neuzeit (München/Leipzig: Teubner 2004; repr. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter 2013)