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William Thalmann

Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 821-5303
Office: THH 256G

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. Classics, Yale University, 12/1975
B.A. Classics, Amherst College, 6/1969

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, 09/01/2001-  
Professor of Classics, University of Southern California, 09/01/1987-09/01/2001  
Associate Professor of Classics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 07/01/1984-07/01/1987  
Assistant/Associate Professor of Classics, Yale University, 07/01/1975-07/01/1984  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Professor Thalmann's special interests are Greek epic and drama. In particular, using anthropological and other theories, he studies the ways in which performances of ancient texts were the occasion for the convergence of class and gender discourses and the role of these texts within contemporary social and political processes, especially at times of great social change.  He is currently writing a book on geography and the production of space in the Argonautika of Apollonius of Rhodes, treating the poem as an imaginative projection of questions about cultural identity that the Greeks faced in the wake of Alexander’s conquests. 

In the Classics Department, he teaches graduate courses on Greek literature of various periods and genres and on ancient slavery, as well as undergraduate language courses and General Education courses on Greek literature and culture.  In Comparative Literature, he teaches courses on epic poetry, Dante’s Dvine Comedy, and Los Angeles crime fiction.  He is also editor for the ancient world of the Norton Anthology of World Literature.


Research Specialties

Greek Drama and Epic Poetry



Thalmann, W. G. (2011). Apollonius of Rhodes and the Spaces of Hellenism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
Thalmann, W. (2006). Norton Antohlogy of World Literature. New York: Western Literature.
Thalmann, W. (1998). The Swineherd and the Bow: Representations of Class in the Odyssey, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
Thalmann, W. (1992). The Odyssey: An Epic of Return, Twayne Masterworks Series, Boston, 1992. Boston, Massachussetts: Twayne.
Thalmann, W. (1984). Conventions of Form and Thought in Early Greek Epic Poetry, Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Thalmann, W. (1984). Dramatic Art in Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1978. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Book Chapter

Thalmann, W. G. (2011). Some Ancient Greek Representations of Slaves. Reading Ancient Slavery pp. 72-96. London: Duckworth.
Thalmann, W. (1998). Female Slaves in the Odyssey. New York, New York: Routledge.

Conference Proceeding

Thalmann, W. (2007). Despotic Authority, Fear and the Ideology of Slavery. In Anastasia Serghidou (Ed.), pp. 193-205. Lille. peur de l'esclave, peur de l'esclavage en mediterranee ancienne.

Encyclopedia Article

Thalmann, W. (2011). "Household," "Class," "Slavery," "Competition," "Anthropology," "Guest-Friendship," "Eumaios," "Philoitios," "Heralds," "Iros," "Melanthios," "Temenos," "Board Games," "Syrie". (Margalit Finkelberg, Ed.). Blackwell.

Journal Article

Thalmann, W. G. (2014). "Anger Sweeter Than Dripping Honey": Violence as a Problem in the Iliad. Ramus.
Thalmann, W. (2004). The Most Divinely Approved and Political Discord: Thinking About Conflict in the Developing Polis. Classical Antiquity. Vol. 23 (2004), pp. 359-399.
Thalmann, W. (1996). Versions of Slavery in the Captivi of Plautus. Ramus. pp. 112-45.
Thalmann, W. (1993). Euripides and Aeschylus: The Case of the Hekabe. Classical Antiquity. Vol. 12 (1993), pp. 126-59.
Thalmann, W. (1988). Thersites: Comedy, Scapegoats, and Heroic Ideology. Transactions of the American Philological Association. Vol. 118 (1988), pp. 1-28.
Thalmann, W. (1986). Aeschylus's Physiology of the Emotions. American Journal of Philology. Vol. 107 (1986), pp. 489-511.
Thalmann, W. (1985). Speech and Silence in the Oresteia I and II. Phoenix. Vol. 39 (1985), pp. 99-118, 221-37.
Thalmann, W. (1982). The Lille Stesichorus and the Seven Against Thebes. Hermes. Vol. 110 (1982), pp. 385-91.
Thalmann, W. (1980). Xerxes' Rags: Some Problems in Aeschylus's Persae. American Journal of Philology. Vol. 101, pp. 260-82.

Honors and Awards

USC Academic Senate Executive Board, Outstanding Service Award, 1999-2000   
USC Academic Senate Executive Board, President, 1998-1999  
USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 1998  
USC Academic Senate Executive Board, Vice President, 1997-1998  
USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, General Education Teaching Award, 1997-1998  

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Comparative Literature, 2007-2008   
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Comparative Literature, 2006-2007   
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Comparative Literature, 2005-2006   


Member, General Education Committee, 2013-2014   
Chair, Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups, American Philological Association, 2012-2013   
Member, Governing Board, Phi Beta Kappa, 2012-2013   
Co-Chair, Humaniities Personnel Committee, 2012-2013   
Member, General Education Committee, Spring 2013   
Chair, College Commons Steering Committee, 2010-2011   
Member, Governing Board, Phi Beta Kappa, 2010-2011   
Chair, Humanities Personnel Committee, 2010-2011   
Member, University Strategic Planning Committee, sub-committee on undergraduate eduction, Spring 2011   
Member, University Benefits Advisory Committee, 09/01/2008-08/31/2009  
Member, Academic Senate, 2008-2009   
Member, College Commons Steering Committee, 2008-2009   
Chair, Epsilon of California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, 2008-2009   
Chair, Faculty Caucus, College Faculty Council, 2008-2009   
Member, Faculty Council, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 2008-2009   
Chair, Faculty Environment Committee, Academic Senate, 2008-2009   
Member, University Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures, 2008-2009   
Chair, University Committee on Fellowships and Awards, 2008-2009   
Chair, Committee on Fellowships, Awards, and Honors, 2007-2008   
Chair, Faculty Environment Committee, Academic Senate, 2007-2008   
Member, Graduate Committee, Department of Classics, 2007-2008   
Chair, Graduate Studies Committee, Department of Comparative Literature, 2007-2008   
President, Epsilon of California Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa (USC chapter), 2007-2008   
Member, Program Board, Master of Liberal Studies, 2007-2008   
Chair, Academic Senate Faculty Environment Committee, 2006-2007   
Member, College Faculty Council, 2006-2007   
Chair, Committee on Fellowships, Awards and Honors, 2006-2007   
Member, Governing Board, Phi Beta Kappa, 2006-2007   
Member, University Benefits Advisory Committee, 2006-2007   

Service to the Profession


Member, Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities, American Philological Association, 01/01/2010-  

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Member, Editorial Board, Classical Antiquity, 1994-2009  
Editor for Ancient World, Norton Anthology of World Literature, 1998-2007  
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