Mary Lefkowitz

Faculty emerita
B.A., Wellesley College; A.M., Ph.D., Radcliffe College; L.H.D., Trinity College; Ph.D. (hon.), University of Patras; L.H.D., Grinnell College

Mary Lefkowitz

Professor Emerita of Classical Studies

Retired from teaching in 2005, but continues to work on scholarly projects and give the occasional lecture.

Recently I’ve been writing about Greek drama. Together with James Romm I’ve co-edited The Greek Plays, a collection of translations (with extensive background information) published in 2016 by Penguin Random House in the Modern Library Series. My book Euripides and the Gods (2015) seeks to show that the poet is not trying to undermine traditional religion, but rather describes with brutal realism what the gods are like; in 2016 it was short-listed for the Phi Beta Kappa Gauss award. I’ve also returned to some earlier projects: in 2016 the fourth edition of Women's Life in Greece and Rome, which I’ve co-edited along with Maureen B. Fant for some 40 years. The second edition of my book The Lives of the Greek Poets came out in 2012; it describes how (and why) ancient biographers constructed fictional life-histories from the poets’ own works. The second edition Women in Greek Myth appeared in 2007. Earlier work includes Greek Gods, Human Lives (2003), about the crucial role played by the gods in ancient narratives. My books Not Out of AfricaBlack Athena Revisited, and History Lesson, which deal with controversial theories about the origin of ancient Greek civilization, were widely reviewed and discussed in public media during the 1990s.

During my forty-six years as a member of the Wellesley College faculty I taught courses on Classical Mythology and Women’s Life in Greece and Rome, as well as ancient Greek and (occasionally) Latin language courses.

I am a Trustee of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

I have been working with other retired faculty on issues of common interest, and helping current faculty with the transition to retirement. I like to walk on local trails and kayak (unambitiously) on the Charles River.