Dr Laura I Jansen

MPhil(Oxon.), PhD(Dub.)

  • Department of History of Art School of Humanities 9 Woodland Road Bristol BS8 1TB

    United Kingdom

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests


My research emerges at the intersections of Classics, comparative and hybrid literatures. I work on Greek and Latin languages, literature and philosophy, with a specific focus on the tradition of classical antiquity in twentieth-century writing.

I am the author of Borges Classics: Global Encounters with the Graeco-Roman World (Cambridge, 2018, funded by the Leverhulme Trust) and volume editor of Anne Carson/ Antiquity (Bloomsbury, 2021) and The Roman Paratext: Frame, Texts, Readers (Cambridge, 2014 and paperback edition 2017). I am also general editor of the monograph series Classical Receptions in Twentieth-Century Writing (Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Literary Studies blog). 

Current book projects

My work on ancient and modern authors currently looks at the interplay of literature, physics, philosophy of science, ecology and information technology from the perspectives of speculative fiction and combinatorial classicisms. This is the topic of my forthcoming monograph, entitled Classics between Science and Literature: Italo Calvino (Bloomsbury, funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, 2021-23). Together with this monograph, I am editing a collection for OUP's Classical Presences on Tangential Classics: Susan Sontag, which explores the often disparate and exiguous traces, connections and references to antiquity in Sontag's polymathic style.

I also undertake research on the field of Absence Studies. I have two forthcoming articles exploring archives of classical absence in twentietantwenty-first century authors and visual artists from both sides of the Atlantic. These articles showcase parts of my third monograph in progress, Classical Absences: Traditions of Occlusion, Erasure and Loss. The book explores the flip side of the notion of a 'classical presence', tracing dynamics of memorialisation of the classical past as a dispersed, eclipsed, forgotten and silent form, as well as disclosing some of the ways modernity has contributed to the erasure and/ or occlusion of ancient lives, texts, and ideas.

Before coming to Bristol in 2013, I worked at the University of St Andrews (2008-11), Stanford University (2011-12), and UC Berkeley (2012-13). I have been recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for my project on "Borges' Classics" (Leverhulme Research Fellows 2015-16), Visiting Fellow at Princeton (2015-16),  and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard, in 2016 and 2019. Currently, I hold a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for my book project on "Classics between Science and Literature: Italo Calvino". 

Editorial activities and other projects

I am associate editor of the forthcoming Diccionario hispánico de la tradición clásica (DHTCed. Francisco García Jurado) and member of Princeton's Postclassicisms network. Since 2014, I have led the IGRCT's Postgraduate Reading Groups on Twentieth-Century authors (Borges 2014; Calvino 2017; Walcott 2018; Anne Carson 2019; and Susan Sontag 2020. My next reading group will be on Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik (April 2022). The Reading group is generously supported by under the auspices of the Bristol Poetry Institute and will host poets Alice Oswald and Phoebe Giannisi. For bookings, please email me.

I also lead events at Spike Island Studios, Bristol. The first event was "Finding the Edge: The Writings of Anne Carson", which I held in conversation with poet Alice Oswald and Rebecca Kosick (Modern Languages) at Spike Island Studios in November 2019 (see article in Epigram). On January 14, 2021, I am moderating Translation as Poetry/ Poetry as Translation, an international event to launch my colleague and friend Rebecca Kosick's new book of poetry Labor Day.

Undergraduate Teaching

My undergraduate teaching includes a range of courses on Greek and Latin language and literature, poetry and philosophy, and the history of ideas. In 2020-21, I am teaching a course on 'Philosophies of Eros', which invites students to explore desire as a form of wisdom and a cultural construction from Greek poetry and philosophy to the writings of George Bataille, Marguerite Duras, Pablo Neruda and Anne Carson. I have recently directed undergraduate dissertations on Lucretius and politics, Lucretius and media theory, Page Du Bois and Sappho, and 'presentness' in Horace's Odes. I currently direct three units:

  • Greek C/D2 – Archaic Greek Lyric: poetics, philosophy, desire, and politics 
  • Greek B2 – Sophocles' Antigone
  • Philosophies of Eros: Ancient and Modern

In 2018-19, I was shortlisted for the Bristol student-led award for the Outstanding Teaching in the Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate Studies

I am Postgraduate Research Officer for the School of Humanities. In Classics, I currently direct (as first supervisor) MPhil and doctoral theses "Narratives of the Native City: Ovid and Joyce" (Cian Kinsella) and "Anne Carson's Catullan Translations" (Eugenia Nicolaci).

I welcome projects on Classical literature in connection with my areas of research, in particular those relating to Classics and:

  • Comparative modernisms
  • Twentieth-Century writing
  • Global Literatures
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Classical Ideology in Modernist and Postmodernist Literature
  • Geopoetics and the senses
  • Paratextuality 

Contact Information

11 Woodland Road, Room B41

University of Bristol, Bristol. BS81TB










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