Pramit Chaudhuri

PhD (Classics and Comparative Literature) 2008. When I applied to graduate school from Oxford in 2001 I didn’t really know what Comparative Literature was, but the fact that Yale was the only place to offer a combined degree with Classics stood out. As an undergraduate I had enjoyed Classics, literature, and comparing things — which made for a rather rudimentary personal statement but one that was thankfully not entirely discouraging to the admissions committee. Joining the program was the best academic decision I’ve made, but I’ve also had a lot of luck along the way: Yale Classics has gone from strength to strength, the student culture was disarmingly collaborative and fun (in contrast to others’ reports of their experience of graduate school…), and I got a job at Dartmouth College in my final year (partly thanks to my background in CompLit). My work since then has continued to encompass comparative material, including Italian epic and English tragedy, but my attention has focused mainly on Latin literature of the early empire, culminating in a recent book on human-divine conflict, The War with God: Theomachy in Roman Imperial Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2014). My book shows how so-called “Silver Latin” poetry makes a particularly important contribution to the literary tradition — a new way of thinking about the relations between humans and gods that would come to influence the classical tradition from Dante and Marlowe down to Philip Pullman and even Richard Dawkins. I’m working on several different projects at the moment, including a book about diplomacy in Latin literature and a set of computational tools to aid in the identification and analysis of intertextuality. I’m also co-founder and co-president (along with Ariane Schwartz) of the new Society for Early Modern Classical Reception (SEMCR), an affiliate organization of the Society for Classical Studies — watch out for info coming soon. I recently got tenure, but can’t say I’ve internalised it just yet. More important than all the above, however, is the fact that Phelps Hall is where I met my wife, Ayelet Haimson Lushkov (now a professor of Classics at UT Austin).