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Jo Norton-Curry

A commentary on book 5 of Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon

Supervised by: Professor Jason K├Ânig

There is a need for a comprehensive commentary on Leucippe and Clitophon, not only to encourage further research on this novel, but to make the text more accessible for students at all levels. Morgan's 2004 commentary on Longus' Daphnis and Chloe has facilitated the study of this text in university classes and has, undoubtedly, spurred interest in the study of Longus and the ancient novel in general. I intend for my commentary to become the standard and indispensable text for any scholar researching Achilles Tatius (AT) and for any student wishing to read and understand the text in the original Greek. The commentaries which currently exist do not fulfil this purpose. Vilborg's 1962 commentary treats all 8 books in one slim and succinct volume and is, consequently, very selective, focussing, in the main, upon textual criticism. Scholarship on the novel has moved on considerably in the last 60 years and there are many new approaches that a good modern commentary should factor in, including the style, tone and influence of the work. It is not my intention simply to write an aid to translation, highlighting interesting points of grammar and explaining the occasional cultural or historical reference. My commentary will cover both literary and cultural points of interest, with particular emphasis on intertextuality and intratextuality, as well as AT's contribution to the evolution of the novel as a genre. The question of the novel's structure is also worthy of further investigation. Is AT's narrative aleatory and full of superfluous digressions, or did he have a clear and intricate plan in mind for his novel? It's my hope to discover, through an examination of intratextuality in the novel, whether AT was digressing by design. I expect to find that themes and motifs within earlier parts of the story are interlinked with those later on and that the intratextual allusions resonate in both directions, adding to the complexity of the novel and the enjoyment of the novel for the reader.

Academic biography and research interests

I hold a BA (1st class) and a MA (Distinction) in Classics from the University of Leeds and was awarded the 2011 Edwards Prize for being the most meritorious student of Ancient Greek. As well as the classical languages, I have studied several medieval and modern languages, including Old and Modern French, Old and Middle English, Old Icelandic and Russian. My research interests include the ancient novel, intercultural allusions and the medieval reception of classical literature. I am currently a PhD candidate and Skills Coordinator in the School of Classics at the University of St. Andrews.


Conference papers: 

  • A commentary on the necromantic rite in the Orphic Argonautica, postgraduate conference at the University of Leeds 2013, published in Heath, M., Green, C.T., Serranito, F. 2014. Religion and belief: a moral landscape. Cambridge Scholars.
  • Harbouring a debt to Moschus: intertextuality and intratextuality in Achilles Tatius 1.1.1. at the Classical Association Conference, Edinburgh 2016.
  • Forthcoming: Talk like an Egyptian: intertextuality and intercultural allusions in Achilles Tatius 5.6-7 at the Celtic Classics Association Conference, Dublin 2016.