Modern Greek Studies Association

Dr. Panagiotis Roilos

George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies and of Comparative Literature

Harvard University

Dept. of the Classics


University of Athens (B.A./Ptychion in Classics, Byzantine, and Modern Greek Literature, 1991)

Harvard University (Ph.D., 1999).

Principal Publications

He is the author of the books C. P. Cavafy: The Economics of Metonymy (2009), Amphoteroglossia: A Poetics of the Twelfth-Century Medieval Greek Novel (2005), and Towards a Ritual Poetics (2003; co-author with D. Yatromanolakis; Greek edition of the book, trans. Manos Skouras and with a preface by Marcel Detienne entitled "For an Anthropological Approach," 2005; Italian edition with a Preface by Marcel Detienne, entitled "Per un approccio antropologico.", trans. Chiara Rizzelli Martella, 2014).

His major publications also include the books Greek Ritual Poetics (co-editor; 2005), Imagination and Logos: Essays on C.P. Cavafy (editor; 2010), and Medieval Greek Storytelling: Fictionality and Narrative in Byzantium (editor; 2014).

In collaboration with Dimitrios Yatromanolakis he has produced the expanded and revised English (2002) and the revised Greek edition (2002) of Margaret Alexiou's The Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition (1974). He has conducted extensive fieldwork on oral traditional literature in South Italy as well as in Crete and the Peloponnese.

His numerous articles include: “Orality and Performativity in Erotokritos,” Cretan Studies 7 (2002), 213-230;     “The Politics of Writing: Greek Historiographic Metafiction,” Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 21/2 (2004):1-23;     “The Novels of Nikos Kazantzakis: Heteroglossic Narratives and Ideological Misinterpretations” (in Greek), in Nikos Kazantzakis: His Work and Its Reception, Herakleion, 2006, 271-293;     “Ekphrasis and Ritual Poetics: From the Ancient Greek Novel to the Late Medieval Greek Romance,” in A. Bierl et al. (eds.), Literatur und Religion: Mythisch-Rituelle Strukturen im Text, Munich, 2008, 335-358;     “Orality, Ritual, and the Dialectics of Performance,” in K. Reichl (ed.), Medieval Oral Literature, Berlin, 2011, 225-249;     “Ancient Greek Rhetorical Theory and Byzantine Discursive Politics: Conceptual Homologies and Politikos Logos in John Sikeliotes’ Commentary on Hermogenes,” forthcoming in I da Toth et. al. (eds.), Reading Byzantium, Cambridge, 2014;     “‘Unshapely Bodies and Beautifying Embellishments’: The Ancient Epics in Byzantium, Allegorical Hermeneutics, and the Case of Ioannes Diakonos Galenos,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 64 (2014);     “Phantasia and the Ethics of Fictionality in Byzantium: A Cognitive Anthropological Perspective,” in P. Roilos (ed.), Medieval Greek Storytelling: Fictionality and Narrative in Byzantium, Wiesbaden, 2014, 9-30;     “The Seduction of the ‘Real’: Personification and Mimesis in C.P. Cavafy,” in P. Roilos (ed.), Imagination and Logos: Essays on C.P. Cavafy, Cambridge, Mass., 2010, 219-244.

His current book-length projects include Abducting Athena: The Nazis and the Greeks and Byzantine Imaginaries: A Cognitive Anthropology of Medieval Greek Phantasia. An ongoing project of his is the critical edition and English translation of the commentary on Hermogenes’ Peri Ideôn by the early 11th c. Byzantine rhetorician Ioannes Sikeliotes.

Boylston Hall 231,
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138

Department Website


Personal Website

Areas of Specialization

postclassical Greek literature and culture
comparative poetics
reception studies
cultural politics
cognitive and historical anthropology
critical theory

Courses Taught in Modern Greek Studies

Comparative Literature 298. Allegory

Modern Greek 220. Greek Imaginaries

Modern Greek 221. The Poetics of Eros: From Plato to C. P. Cavafy

Modern Greek 145. Dreams and Literature

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