Dr Erica Bexley, PhD (Cornell) MA, BA Hons (Melbourne)
I am an Assistant Professor of Latin literature with a special interest in Roman drama – both tragedy and comedy – and in literature of the Neronian age. Educated in Australia and the U.S., I came to the U.K. in 2014, working briefly at Cambridge and then at Swansea before taking up my post at Durham in 2017. I have published a number of articles and book chapters on Senecan tragedy, Lucan’s Pharsalia, Plautus, Terence, and ancient Roman performance culture. My fascination for theatre first took root during my undergraduate days, when I participated in numerous amateur productions of classical plays, and although I no longer declaim (badly!) on stage, this early experience of theatrical performance still underpins my research. Specifically, my work on Roman comedy and tragedy is governed by the conviction that plays are not just texts but events, and that enactment is a crucial part of their meaning.
My first book, Seneca's Characters: Fictional Identities and Implied Human Selves, examines through the lens of Senecan tragedy fictional characters' vexed status as textually circumscribed entities on the one hand, and human analogues on the other. To what extent is a character a quasi-person and to what extent a literary figment? Are the two categories mutually exlcusive? My monograph tackles these questions via themes of coherence, exemplarity, physical appearance and autonomy.
Following on from this work, my next major project examines the intersection of personal and governmental sovereignty in Seneca's oeuvre. I am particularly interested in how Seneca's presents the underived supreme power of the Stoic sage as parallel to the tyrant's unfettered autocracy. I am, in addition, editing with my colleague Dr Ioannis Ziogas a volume of essays on Roman Law and Latin Literature, derived from a conference we hosted in Durham in September 2019.
Future projects include a Bloomsbury companion volume on the pseudo-Senecan Octavia (under contract), and a monograph on repetition, substiution and doubling in Roman drama, from Plautus to pseudo-Seneca.
I welcome enquiries from any students wishing to pursue further study in the field of Latin literature.
I am available to speak at schools on the following topics:
a) Theatre and Spectacle in Ancient Rome
b) Seneca: Philosopher, Tragedian, Statesman
c) Neronian Rome: literature, culture, history
d) Ancient Roman Comedy: Plautus and Terence
NB: These topics can also be adapted and made more specific as needed.
- Roman Tragedy
- Roman Comedy
- Neronian Rome
- Stoic Philosophy
- Performance Theory (Ancient and Modern)
- Bexley, E. M. (Forthcoming). Seneca's Characters: Fictional Identities and Implied Human Selves. Cambridge University Press.
Chapter in book
- Bexley, E. M. (2017). Double Act: Reperforming History in the Octavia. In Imagining Reperformance in Ancient Culture: Studies in the Traditions of Drama and Lyric. Hunter, R. & Uhlig, A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 160-184.
- Bexley, E. M. (2016). Doubtful Certainties: The Politics of Reading in Seneca's Oedipus. In Wordplay and Powerplay in Latin Poetry. Mitsis, P. & Ziogas, I. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. 355-376.
- Bexley, E. M. (2014). Lucan's Catalogues and the Landscape of War. In Geography, Topography, Landscape: Configurations of Space in Greek and Roman Epic. Ziogas, I. & Skempis, M. Berlin Boston: De Gruyter. 373-403.
- Bexley, E. M. (2014). Plautus and Terence in Performance. In The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Comedy. Fontaine, M. & Scafuro, A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 462-476.
- Bexley, E. M. (2013). Greek Tragedy in/and Latin Literature. In Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy. Roisman, H. M. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. 644-648.
- Bexley, E. M. (2010). The Myth of the Republic: Medusa and Cato in Lucan Pharsalia 9. In Lucan's "Bellum Civile": Between Epic Tradition and Aesthetic Innovation. Hömke, N. & Reitz, C. Berlin New York: De Gruyter. 135-153.
- Bexley, E. M. (2016). Recognition and the Character of Seneca's Medea. Cambridge Classical Journal 62: 31-51.
- Bexley, E. M. (2015). Ludic Lessons: Roman Comedy on Stage and in Class. Classical Journal 111(1): 112-125.
- Bexley, E. M. (2015). What is Dramatic Recitation?. Mnemosyne 68(5): 774-793.
- Bexley, E. M. (2011). Show or Tell? Seneca's and Sarah Kane's Phaedra Plays. Trends in Classics 3(2): 365-393.
- Bexley, E. M. (2009). Replacing Rome: Geographic and Political Centrality in Lucan's Pharsalia. Classical Philology 104(4): 459-475.
- Bexley, E. M. (2020). Review of Calabrese, E. Aspetti dell'identita relazione nelle tragedie di Seneca. Pp.190. Bologna: Patron Editore, 2017. ISBN: 978-88-555-3386-7. Classical Review 70(1): 117-118.
- Bexley, E. M. (2018). Review of Boyle (A.J.) (ed., trans.) Seneca: Thyestes. pp. cxlvi + 561. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Cased. ISBN: 978-0-19-874472-6. Classical Review 68(2): 422-424.
- Bexley, E. M. (2018). Review of Ginsberg, L. D. Staging Memory, Staging Strife: Empire and Civil War in the Octavia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. xii + 229. ISBN 9780190275952. £47.99. Journal of Roman Studies 108: 280-281.
- Bexley, E. M. (2017). Review of Jean-Pierre Aygon, Ut scaena, sic vita: mise en scène et dévoilement dans les oeuvres philosophiques et dramatiques de Sénèque. Chorégie: études, 1. Paris: Éditions de Boccard, 2016. Pp. 395. ISBN 9782701804255. €59.00 (pb). Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) 2017.04.49.
- Bexley, E. M. (2017). Review of Oedipus in Seneca - Braund (S.) Seneca: Oedipus. Pp. viii + 163. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Paper, £16.99 (Cased, £50). ISBN: 978-1-4742-3478-8 (978-1-4722-3479-5 hbk). Classical Review 67(1): 105-106.
- Bexley, E. M. (2015). Review of Lucan and Egypt - Tracy (J.) Lucan's Egyptian Civil War. Pp. viii + 296. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Cased, £65, US$99. ISBN: 978-1-107-07207-7. Classical Review 65(2): 460-461.
- Bexley, E. M. (2014). Review of E. Buckley and M. T. Dinter (eds), A Companion to the Neronian Age. Chichester/Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. Pp. xvi + 486, illus. ISBN 9781444332728. £120.00. Journal of Roman Studies 104: 323-325.
- Bexley, E. M. (2013). Review of Dinter, Martin T. Anatomizing Civil War: Studies in Lucan's Epic Technique. Classical Journal 109(2): 252-254.
- Bexley, E. M. (2011). Review of †Tesoriero (C.), Muecke (F.), Neal (T.) (edd.) Lucan. Pp. xii 540. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Cased, £85, US$135 (Paper, £37.50, US$65). ISBN: 978-0-19-927722-3 (978-0-19-927723-0pbk). Classical Review 61(1): 309.
- Bexley, E. M. (2016). Revenge Served Hot: Seneca's Thyestes. Omnibus (71): 12-14.