Pauline LeVen

Assistant Professor

Born in Monaco and raised in France, Pauline LeVen studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris), the Sorbonne and Princeton University, and earned a joint PhD from both in 2008. She was a Fulbright student in 2001–02 and the Phi Beta Kappa Sibley Fellow in Greek Studies in 2007–08.

The book based on her dissertation (The Many-Headed Muse: Tradition and Innovation in Late Classical Greek Lyric Poetry, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) is a study of the extant corpus of Greek songs composed between about 440 BC and 320 BC. Combining close readings of little-studied texts with attention to their intellectual and cultural context, it examines Greek literary history between the classical and Hellenistic periods and argues against the idea of the demise of mousikê in the late classical period.

In addition to lyric poetry and musical culture, LeVen’s research interests include the ancient novel, the anecdote as a narrative form and cultural practice, ancient literary criticism and performance. Her next book project is devoted to musical myths and to questions of musical aesthetics.

Selected Recent Publications

  • "Aristotle’s Hymn to Virtue and Funerary Epigraphy," in Literary Epigraphy, ed. by P. Low and P. Liddell (Oxford: 2013)
  • "The Colours of Sound: Poikilia in its Aesthetic Contexts," Greek and Roman Musical Studies 1 (2013): 229-242.
  • "Reading the Octopus: Authorship, Intertexts and a Hellenistic Anecdote (Machon, fr. 9 Gow)," special issue of AJP 126.1 (2013): 23-35.
  • "‘You Make Less Sense Than a (New) Dithyramb’: Sociology of a Riddling Style", in J. Kwapisz, D. Petrain and M. Szymansk (eds.) 2012. The Muse at Play. Riddles and Wordplay in Greek and Latin Poetry. Berlin, 44-64.
  • "Musical Crisis: Musical Anecdotes and Competition" in Poesia, musica e agoni nella Grecia antica, proceedings of the IVth Moisa conference, Lecce October 2010, ed. by D. Castaldo and A. Manieri (Congedo, Galatina. Rudiae. Ricerche sul mondo classico 22-23, 2012): 681-92.
  • "Timotheus’ Eleven Strings: a New Approach (PMG 791, 229–236)", CP (2011): 245–54.
  • "New Music and Its Myths: Athenaeus’ Reading of the Aulos Revolution," JHS 140 (2010): 35–47

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featured Courses This Year

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GREK 419

Helen after Troy

M and W: 1.00 – 2.15 pm

This advanced level Greek bridge course is a survey of prose and poetic texts related to the mythical figure of Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships and thousands of poetic and prose texts. Among those, we will read a selection from Herodotus’ Histories, Gorgias’ Encomium to Helen, selections from Euripides’ Helen and Trojan Women and a dialogue of Lucian.

Besides providing a thorough review of Greek grammar, the course examines questions such as the connection between desire and rhetoric, the power of the eidolon, and the construction of a literary tradition.

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CLCV 151 / HUMS 209

Performance and Society in Ancient Greece

W. 3.30 - 5.20 pm

Music, song, dance, theater and performance are at the heart of Greek culture. This seminar focuses on the intersection between performance and society in different domains and examines questions such as: What is a “song culture”? To what extent can performing a play be political? What does “performing manhood” mean?

The course is a thorough examination of the literature of Ancient Greece, from Homer to the era called the Second Sophistic, through the lens of performance. We will analyze how performance of music, dance and drama throws light on society and how performance constitutes a crucial element in the definition of self, gender, politics, and society.

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Field Greek Literature and Language

Specialism Greek Poetry (especially Lyric), Ancient Novel, Ancient Literary Criticism, Musical Culture

Current courses Fall: Helen after Troy; Performance and Society in Ancient Greece, Spring: Introduction to Homeric Poetry; Readings in Ancient Myths, Fiction and Science-Fiction

Contact details

305 Phelps Hall

Phone (203) 432-0983

Fax (203) 432-1079

pauline.leven@yale.edu