Niek Janssen, ‘14

Niek Janssen is interested in the serious questions raised by funny texts. As such, his research centers on Greek and Roman parody, satire, comedy, humor, and invective. His dissertation, “Appropriate Transgressions: Parody and Decorum in Ancient Greece and Rome” explores how a critical reading of parodic literature sheds new light on the central ethical and aesthetic value of “appropriateness.” For this project, he was awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the ACLS and Mellon Foundation.

Current article-length projects concern satiric emotions in Persius, disease imagery in Augustan literature, ancient rhetorical receptions of the Vergilian Juno, and foreign language interpreters in Aristophanes and Plautus. Niek’s next major project, “Comics, Madmen, Friends, and Cynics: Free and Frank Speech in Greek and Roman Comic Literature,” will present a counterpoint to current debates around the supposed rise of “cancel culture” and the oft-announced “death of comedy” by asking what it means for speech to be free in the first place.

Before coming to Yale, Niek completed a BA degree in Classics and an MA degree in Literary Studies and Classics (both summa cum laude) at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


Publications and Talks

Jansen, N. (2019) ‘Linzensoep met Odeklonje: Hegemon van Thasos over de Gepastheid van Parodie.’ Lampas 52, no 2: 126-138.

Freudenburg, K., and N. Janssen. (2017) “Horace, Satires.” Oxford Bibliographies (

Janssen, N. (2015) Review of: Lucia Floridi (2014) Lucillio, Epigrammi: Introduzione, testo critco, traduzione e commento. BMCR 2015.05.03 (

Janssen, N. (2015) “A Gemstone of Many Complexions: Hermeticism and the Rhetoric of Accumulation in the Orphic Lithica.” Mnemosyne 68, no. 6: 956-74.

Janssen, N. (2013) “Orpheus and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.” Talk deliverd at TEDxRadboudU, May 23, 2013 (

Janssen, N. (2013) “Absona Musis: Giovanni Pascoli’s Ecloga XI sive Ovis Peculiaris as an Apology.’ Humanistica Lovaniensia 62: 579–95.