Professor of Latin
Admissions Officer, Joint degrees, Humanities Research Centre, Director of Research, Research Seminar Advisor
Email: V dot Rimell at warwick dot ac dot uk
Room H237, Humanities, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
I studied classics (MA, MPhil) at King's College Cambridge, and wrote my PhD (on Petronius’ Satyricon) at King’s College London. I was Stevenson Junior Research Fellow at University College Oxford and a College Lecturer at Cambridge before taking up a post at Sapienza University of Rome, where I was Associate Professor of Latin from 2007-2015. I joined Warwick in 2016. I am a member of the editorial board for Classical Philology and of the Council for The Society for Promotion of Roman Studies, and was awarded membership of the Academia Europaea in 2020. My latest book is The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics (Cambridge 2015), and I am currently working on trauma and consolation.
My research, which spans many different authors and genres, engages critically with major themes in Roman literature and culture and aims to promote dialogue between classical philology and modern philosophical and political thought. My main focus is Latin literature and Roman culture from the first century BCE to the second century CE, and I have published books on Petronius’ Satyricon, Martial’s Epigrams and Ovid’s erotic poetry (all with CUP). My most recent book, The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics (Cambridge, 2015), investigates the relationship in the Roman imagination between retreat, enclosure or compressed space and the idea of a vast, expanding empire. I discuss how a spectrum of Roman authors – from Horace, Virgil, Ovid and Statius to Vitruvius, Seneca, Tacitus and Suetonius – explore the trade-off between safe refuge and the intensity of creative and philosophical interaction with the imperial world. More broadly, the book explores the role Rome continues to play in the Western history of ideas to do with dwelling and the uncanny, and includes comparative readings of modern conceptual artworks, as well as of a French novel (Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Salle de Bain) and the work of magician David Blaine. I have also edited volumes on the ancient novel, and on imagining imperial space in Greek and Latin texts, and am completing a commentary on Ovid's Remedia Amoris, to be published by Lorenzo Valla and Oxford University Press. With my colleague Elena Giusti, I am editing a special volume of Vergilius on Virgil and the Feminine (forthcoming 2021).
Teaching and supervision
- Transformation of Roman Society under Augustus
- Latin Language and Literature
- Taught MA in Ancient Material and Visual Culture (Advanced Ancient Language).
- MA by research
- Taught MA in Ancient Literature and Thought
I am keen to supervise postgraduate students who wish to work on topics related to Latin literature (across all genres) and Greco-Roman cultural history. I would also be interested in supervising projects requiring expertise in critical theory, gender studies, the history of ideas, and classical receptions.
Current and recent PhD supervision:
Simone Mollea: the concept of humanitas in the imperial age
Martina Russo: adulatio in Seneca the Younger
Alessandra Tafaro: Martial and the epigraphic tradition
Lucrezia Sperindio: Tragedy and the tragic in Horace's Odes
Director of Research
Research Seminar Co-ordinator
Co-ordinator of the joint degrees English-Latin Literature and Classical Civilisation-Philosophy
Committee Member of the Humanities Research Council
Committee Member of the Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts
- (2017) (ed. with Markus Asper) Imagining Empire. Political Space in Hellenistic and Roman Literature. Winter Press, Heidelberg.
- (2015) The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics: Empire’s Inward Turn. Cambridge University Press
- (2008) Martial’s Rome: Empire and the Ideology of Epigram. Cambridge University Press.
- (2007) (ed.) Seeing Tongues, Hearing Scripts: Orality and Representation in the Ancient Novel. Groningen.
- (2006) Ovid’s Lovers: Desire, Difference, and the Poetic Imagination. Cambridge University Press. (pb 2009)
- (2002) Petronius and the Anatomy of Fiction. Cambridge University Press. (pb 2007)
- (2018) ‘Rome’s dire straits: claustrophobic seas and imperium sine fundo’ in W.Fitzgerald and E.Spentzou (eds.) The Production of Space in Latin Literature. Cambridge University Press, 261-287.
- (2018) ‘I will survive (you): Martial and Tacitus on regime change’ in A. König and Christopher Whitton (eds.) Literary Interactions under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian. Cambridge University Press, 63-85.
- (2017) 'Philosophy's folds: Seneca, Cavarero and the history of rectitude' Hypatia 32.4.1-16.
- (2015) ‘In the mirror of time: Seneca and Neronian Culture' in S.Bartsch-Zimmer and A.Schiesaro (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Seneca. Cambridge, 122- 134.
- (2013) ‘(En)closure and rupture: Roman poetry in the arena’ in B.Acosta-Hughes, A.Kirichenko and F.Grewing (eds) The Door Ajar: False Closure in Greek and Roman Literature and Art. Heidelberg, 103-127.
- (2013) 'The best a man can get: grooming Scipio in Seneca Epistle 86' Classical Philology 108.1: 1-20
- (2012) 'The labour of empire: womb and world in Seneca's Medea' in Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica 105: 211-37.
- (2009) ‘Letting the page run on: Poetics, rhetoric and noise in the Satyrica’ in I.Repath and J.Prag (eds) Petronius. A Handbook. Duckworth Press, London. 65-81.
- (2007) ‘Petronius’ encyclopedia: Neronian lessons in learning – the hard way’ in J.König and T.Whitmarsh (eds) Ordering Knowledge in the Roman Empire. Cambridge. 108-132.
- Vergil and the Feminine. E. Giusti and V. Rimell (eds.). Vergilius special issue.
- 'The intimacy of wounds: care of the other in Seneca's Consolatio ad Heluiam' in American Journal of Philology
- 'The Groove in Ovid's Remedia' in T.Geue and E.Giusti (eds.) Unspoken Rome.
- 'Locus, dislocation and the practice of literary theory' in J.Connolly and N.Worman (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Literary Theory and Criticism. Oxford.
- The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
- Member of Academia Europaea
- MA (Cantab)
- MPhil (Cantab)
- PhD (London)
Student drop-in times:
Office hours will be held virtually on Microsoft Teams. Please drop me an email to book in on the morning of the day you want to come, by 10am. Feel free to use these drop-in sessions to discuss anything related to your degree, study skills, or if you need guidance on where to go for anything else.
In-person appointments can also be made: just get in touch by email.
Undergraduate modulesRoman Culture and Society
Taught MA in Ancient Visual and Material Culture (Advanced language and literature)
Taught MA in Ancient Literature and Thought
(Approaching Ancient Texts; Roman Literature and Thought)