The Gennadius Library is pleased to announce Dr. Emily Wilson as the 2022–2023 speaker for the Thalia Potamianos Annual Lecture Series on the Impact of Greek Culture. Dr. Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library, said “We are delighted to host such a brilliant and energetic classicist who does not shy away from reinterpreting ancient texts through translation in order to showcase how connected they are with our world today.” These lectures will be free, both live and livestreamed, in Athens on November 10th 2022, in Washington, D.C., on January 24th 2023, and in New York City on May 9th 2023.
Emily Wilson, recipient of The MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” has received attention worldwide as the first woman to publish an English translation of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. The New York Times named Wilson’s translation one of its 100 notable books of 2018. She is currently working on a translation of Homer’s the Iliad.
Mr. Andreas Zombanakis, Chairman of the Gennadius Library’s Board of Overseers, noted that “Emily Wilson’s dialogue with antiquity is an antidote reminding us of the continuing relevance of the Classics to modern day life and culture.”
“Myth, Magic and Mystery as depicted in ancient Greek epic, drama and philosophy, and their receptions in later cultures including present day, will be the topics for my Thalia Potamianos Lecture Series,” Dr. Wilson said. “The series will consider what elements of ancient Greek culture are most surprising, most reinterpreted or misunderstood, and most difficult to translate. Greek ideas about heroism, time, agency, poetics, politics, and ethics have informed and inspired scholars, students and communities for millennia.” The lectures will overlay these themes onto present day culture.
2022–2023 Schedule for The Myth, Magic and Mystery of the Ancient Greeks
Lecture I: Heroes: Big Men, Big Mouths, Big Stories
Thursday, November 10, 2022
7:00 p.m. EEST (Greece) / 12:00 p.m. EDT (U.S.)
Cotsen Hall, Athens, Greece
Lecture II: Destiny’s Children: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sphinx
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
6:00 p.m. EDT (U.S.)
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Lecture III: Wisdom: Why the Ancient Greeks Can’t Teach Us Anything
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
6:00 p.m. EDT (U.S.)
St. Bartholomew’s Church, New York City
Please register today either for the live or livestream lecture. All registrants will also be updated about the publication to follow.
The Thalia Potamianos lectures are being made possible by a generous grant from Phokion Potamianos, an Overseer of the Gennadius Library. Mr. Potamianos named the series in memory of his grandmother, a distinguished Greek doctor, academic, and philanthropist.
About Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Classical Studies and Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania and the College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities.
Wilson attended Oxford University (Balliol College B.A. and Corpus Christi College M.Phil.) and Yale University (Ph.D.). In 2006, she was named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in Renaissance & Early Modern scholarship. Between 2010 and 2016, Wilson was awarded three Penn Humanities Fellowships on the topics of Virtuality; Sex; and Violence; in 2017 to 2018 she was a Topic Director on Afterlives at Wolf Humanities Center; in 2019 through 2025 she was awarded MacArthur Fellowships; and in 2020, she won a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Professor Wilson’s books include Mocked with Death: Tragic Overliving from Sophocles to Milton (Johns Hopkins 2005), The Death of Socrates: Hero, villain, chatterbox, saint (Harvard 2007), and The Greatest Empire: A life of Seneca (Oxford UP, 2014). She is the Classics editor of the revised Norton Anthology of World Literature. Her verse translations include Six Tragedies of Seneca (2010, Oxford), four translations of plays by Euripides in the Modern Library The Greek Plays (2016), Oedipus Tyrannos (2020, Norton), and the Odyssey (2017, with a Norton Critical Edition published in 2020). She edited a volume on Ancient Tragedy for Bloomsbury Cultural Histories (2019) and is now working on a new translation of the Iliad, which is due to appear in 2023.
About the Lecture Series
The Thalia Potamianos Annual Lecture Series commenced in 2021 with inaugural speaker, Dr. Peter Frankopan, a Professor of Global History at Oxford University and the Stavros Niarchos Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. A world-renowned historian and award-winning author, he presented his series of lectures on “Global Greece: A History.”
Each year, the Potamianos Lecture Series seeks to create a stimulating environment to draw both the academic community and public to the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Every year, a highly distinguished, internationally renowned scholar is selected to conduct research and develop programs on a topic relevant to the Gennadius Library. The research will culminate in a minimum of three annual public lectures, which will be delivered in Athens and the United States.
Please click here to learn more about this lecture series.