Location: Bowdoin / Jennifer Clarke Kosak


Jennifer B. Clarke Kosak

Associate Professor of Classics
Chair of Classics Department

Contact Information


Sills Hall - 11

Teaching this semester

CLAS 3309. Ancient Epic: Tradition, Authority, and Intertextuality

Begins with reading and close analysis of the three foundational epic poems of classical antiquity, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid, and then moves on to selections from several of the “successor” epics, including Apollonius’ Argonautica, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Lucan’s Pharsalia, and Statius’ Thebaid. Discussion of the ancient poems complemented by an ongoing examination of central issues in contemporary criticism of classical texts, including the relationship of genre, ideology, and interpretation; the tension between literary tradition and authorial control; and the role of intertextuality in establishing a dialogue between and among these poems and their poets. All readings are in English, and no familiarity with Greek or Latin is required.

LATN 3316. Roman Comedy

An introduction to the earliest complete texts that survive from Latin antiquity, the plays of Plautus and Terence. One or two plays are read in Latin and supplemented by the reading of other plays in English, including ancient Greek models and English comedies inspired by the Latin originals. Explores not only the history, structure, and language of comic plays, but also issues such as the connection between humor and violence, the social context for the plays, and the serious issues— such as human identity, forms of communication, and social hierarchies—that appear amidst the comic world on stage.

Jennifer Clarke Kosak: Bowdoin College


Jennifer Clarke Kosak received her undergraduate degree from Harvard-Radcliffe, where her concentration was in Classics. She then entered the doctoral program in Classical Philology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and wrote a dissertation entitled "The Pain of Living: Suffering and Healing in Euripidean Tragedy." She specializes in Greek language and literature; her particular interests include Greek tragedy, Greek and Roman medicine, Greek intellectual history and gender studies.


Heroic measures: Hippocratic medicine in the making of Euripidean tragedyHeroic measures: Hippocratic medicine in the making of Euripidean tragedy. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2004.

Articles/Book Chapters

“The Wall in Aristophanes’ Birds,” in City, Countryside and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical Antiquity, ed. Ralph Rosen and Ineke Sluiter, 173-180. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.

“The male interior: strength, illness and masculinity in Sophokles’ Philoktetes,” in Greek Drama III. Bulletin of the Institute for Classical Studies Supplement 87 (2006) 49-64.

“A Crying Shame: pitying the sick in the Hippocratic Corpus and Greek tragedy,” in Pity and Power in Ancient Athens, ed. Rachel Sternberg, 253-276. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Polis Nosousa: Greek ideas about the city and disease in the fifth-century B.C.,” in Death and Disease in the Ancient City, ed. E. A. Marshall and V. Hope. New York and London: Routledge, 2000.

“Therapeutic Touch and Sophokles’ Philoktetes,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 99 (1999) 93-134.

Work in Progress

Unmanned: Masculinity and Disease in Ancient Greek Society, a book examining the impact of disease on the performance of masculinity in ancient Greece.

“Fighting and mastering disease: metaphors and masculinity,” What’s Hippocratic about the Hippocratics? XIIIth Colloquium Hippocraticum, The University of Texas, Austin, TX, August 11-13, 2008.

“Masculinity and illness: some case studies in ancient Greece,” What is Masculinity? How Useful is it as a Historical Category? Conference at Birkbeck College, University of London, May 14-16, 2008.

“Masculinity and medicine in Ancient Greece,” invited lecture, Smith College, Northampton, MA. March 13, 2008.

“Aelius Aristides and the masculine experience of disease,” Approaches to Ancient Medicine, Ancient Medicine Research Seminar, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, August 22-23, 2005.

Andres gar polis: city limits in classical Greek thought,” City and Countryside in the Ancient Imagination, Penn-Leiden Colloquium on Ancient Values, Leiden, the Netherlands, June 3-5, 2004.