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Professor David Fearn

Dr David Fearn

Professor of Greek

Deputy Head of Department, Director of Education, Department Education Committee, Department Academic Conduct Panel, SSLC Co-ordinator, HRC, Faculty Education Committee, Faculty Undergraduate Appeals Committee

Email: D.W.Fearn[at]

Faculty of Arts Building 2.13, University Road,
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


I studied Classics at Magdalen College, Oxford, writing my doctoral thesis on the Greek choral lyric poet Bacchylides under the supervision of Peter Parsons and Peter Wilson. From 2003 I was elected to a joint Junior Research Fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2003-5) and Corpus Christi College, Oxford (2005-7), and subsequently to a Mellon Career Development/Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College/Faculty of Classics, Oxford (2007-8). I published my first book, a monograph on Bacchylides, in 2007, and joined the Warwick department in 2008.

In both my teaching and my research I investigate Greek literary texts across a range of socio-political and cultural contexts, from archaic and classical Greece through to modern spaces of reception and refraction. I am also interested in contemporary critical-theoretical approaches to literature and the classical.

Research interests

I work on the poetics, aesthetics, and socio-political contextualizability of archaic and classical Greek literature, and of lyric poetry in particular. That is, I investigate the stakes of thinking about, and the possibilities of moving beyond thinking about, Greek literature as a function of its original contexts of production and reception in antiquity. I find ongoing nourishment from thinking with the poetry of Pindar in particular.

My first book, Bacchylides: Politics, Performance, Poetic TraditionLink opens in a new window, sought to rehabilitate the reputation of this underappreciated poet by situating his work in the ethnic, political, and cultural milieu of early classical Greece; I also edited a collection of essays discussing the interrelation between poetry and culture on the Greek island of Aegina in the 5th century BC: Aegina: Contexts for Choral Lyric Poetry. Myth, History, and Identity in the Fifth Century BCLink opens in a new window.

My latest full-scale monograph, Pindar's Eyes: Visual and Material Culture in Epinician Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2017), seeks to reorient debate about art and text, and the relation between lyric form and lyric contextualization, within Pindaric poetics. Other articles investigating the world-creating powers of Greek lyric poetry have also recently appeared (on Alcaeus; and Anacreon and Stesichorus), as has a book-length survey of trends in the history of modern scholarship on Greek lyric, inaugurating Brill's new Research Perspectives in Classical Poetry series: Greek Lyric of the Archaic and Clasical PeriodsLink opens in a new window.

Other areas of interest include classical Greek historiography; broader trends in the development of the relation between ancient Greek poetry and thought within ongoing debates about the nature and conceptualization of classical reception and 'the Classical'; and the cultural history of modern papyrological discoveries of Greek literature.

In May 2018 I hosted an international network of scholars of Greek poetry and poetics, with a cross-disciplinary workshop, Heidegger's Greece, investigating new ways of interconnecting study of ancient Greek poetry and poetics with developments in continental philosophy and critical theory. In October 2019 I acted as a public respondent to the philosopher Simon Critchley, discussing his work on tragedy at the inauguration of Warwick Philosophy's new Centre for Research in Post-Kantian European PhilosophyLink opens in a new window. In 2020 I hosted an international online symposium, Classics in RelationLink opens in a new window, investigating the status of the relation between classical philology / literary criticism and emerging comparativist trends in classical reception and the humanities more generally.

Current work investigates the relation between rhetorical and lyric form and content in Gorgias' Encomium of Helen, along with related theoretical questions concerning (a)temporality and untimeliness, rhetorical situatedness, voice, literary and rhetorical exemplarity, and the limits of prose.

I also have an interest in the history, theory, and practice of photography, which is slowly finding its way into my published work and is also becoming another locus for comparativist and critical-theoretical thinking - including for instance the investigation of what happens if we juxtapose the landscapes of ancient lyric with the responses to space and place in contemporary landscape photography, environmental art, and environmental philosophy. My 2022 Professorial inaugural lecture, 'The Future of the Lyric Encounter', set out some of these interconnections for a reconfiguration of what Greek lyric scholarship, and indeed Classical reception studies, might become.

Teaching and supervision



  • Taught MA in Ancient Literature and Thought (Approaching Ancient Texts core module; Greek Literature and Thought optional core module; Advanced Ancient Language; Language Dossier)
  • Taught MA in Ancient Visual and Material Culture (Ancient Visual & Material Culture, and its Reception; Advanced Ancient Language)
  • MA by research
  • PhD

I am eager to supervise postgraduate students who wish to study topics related to Greek literature (especially archaic and classical) across all genres, including the interactions between Greek literary texts and their aesthetic and/or socio-political environments; critical-theoretical approaches to Greek literature; and comparativist approaches to Greek literature, broadly considered.

Current PhD supervision:

Pindar's Corinth (co-tutelle with SNS Pisa)

Presocratic and Literary Meteorology (with Dr Emmanuela Bakola)

Administrative roles

  • Deputy Head of Department, 2018– (HoD autumn 2019)
  • Departmental Director of Education, 2018–
  • Member of Arts Faculty Education Committee, 2018–
  • Member of University Examinations Committee, 2021–

Selected publications

Professional associations and responsibilities


  • BA/MA, Literae Humaniores, Oxford
  • MSt, Greek and/or Latin Languages and Literature, Oxford
  • DPhil, Greek Literature, Oxford
  • PCAPP, Warwick

Drop-In Hours for students

Term 1 2022-23

F2F in FAB 2.13 / online on MSTeams if preferred
Tuesdays 4-5pm
Thursdays 12-pm

Other times: please email for an appointment if you would like one.

Fearn, Greek Lyric of the Archaic and Classical Periods (Brill, 2020)

Pindar's Eyes

Aegina vol

Bacchylides monograph