Leslie Kurke

Gladys Rehard Wood Chair, Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature & Graduate Advisor, Classics
BA 1981 Bryn Mawr College
MA 1984 Princeton University
PhD 1988 Princeton University
Research Interests: 
Greek Literature and Culture, Archaic Greek poetry, Herodotus and the Invention of Greek Prose
(510) 642-2054; alternate: (510) 642-4218; fax: (510) 643-2959
kurke [at] berkeley.edu
Office / Location: 
4331 Dwinelle Hall
Office Hours: 
Spring 2018: Th 3:30-4:30 pm

I have taught at UC Berkeley in Classics and Comparative Literature since 1990, and have also taught as a visitor at Princeton University, Wellesley College, and the University of Chicago. My teaching in my two departments ranges across much of archaic and classical Greek literature, gender and sexuality in Greek and Victorian cultures, literary theory, Elvis, detective fiction, and psychoanalysis.

I have spent much of my research life working on ancient Greek literature and cultural history--especially archaic Greek poetry, Herodotus, the ideology of form, and various interactions of word and world, literature and its “others” (the economics of literature, poetry and/as ritualization, text and popular culture, the dialectic of performed song and place/monuments). I am currently completing a book, co-authored with Richard Neer, entitled Pindar’s Sites: Song and Space in Classical Greece.

Select Publications: 


Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose (Princeton University Press, 2011).

Editor (with Carol Dougherty), The Cultures Within Ancient Greek Culture: Contact, Conflict, Collaboration (Cambridge University Press, 2003; paperback reprint, Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Coins, Bodies, Games, and Gold: The Politics of Meaning in Archaic Greece (Princeton University Press, 1999).

Editor (with Carol Dougherty), Cultural Poetics in Archaic Greece: Cult, Performance, Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1993;  paperback reprint, Oxford University Press, 1998).

The Traffic in Praise: Pindar and the Poetics of Social Economy (Cornell University Press, 1991; Second online edition: California Classical Studies Number 1, eScholarship Repository, University of California (2013), 266 pp. (http://escholarship.org/uc/item/29r3j0gm)).

Select Articles

“The ‘Rough Stones’ of Aegina: Pindar, Pausanias, and the Topography of Aeginetan Justice.” Classical Antiquity 36.2 (2017): 236-87.

“Gendered Spheres and Mythic Models in Sappho’s Brothers Poem.” In The Newest Sappho: P. Sapph. Obbink and P. GC. inv. 105 Frs. 1-4, ed. A. Bierl and A. Lardinois (Mnemosyne Supplements vol. 392, 2016), pp. 238-65.

“Pindar’s Material Imaginary: Dedication and Politics in Olympian 7.” Housman Lecture 2015 (Published by UCL, London, 2016), pp. 1-43.

With R. T. Neer, “Pindar Fr. 75 SM and the Politics of Athenian Space.” GRBS 54 (2014): 527-79.

“Imagining Chorality: Wonder, Plato’s Puppets, and Moving Statues.” In Performance and Culture in Plato’s Laws, ed. A.-E. Peponi (Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 123-170.

Full CV: