I am a Research Fellow in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. My research focuses on the poetics and politics of Greek poetry from the archaic period to the Hellenistic world.
I’m currently writing a book on the ‘pre-Alexandrian footnote’ and other markers of intertextuality in archaic and classical Greek literature. I explore how the earliest known Greek poets self-consciously acknowledged the familiarity of their subject matter and signalled their references to tradition – placing markers in their works for alert audiences to recognise. This kind of signposting is often considered the preserve of later literary cultures, closely linked with the development of libraries, literacy and writing. But I argue that these same devices were already deeply engrained in our earliest oral archaic Greek poetry.
My other major research interest lies in the field of Hellenistic poetry, where I’m especially interested in the fragments and traces of poetic traditions beyond Ptolemaic Alexandria. In particular, I’m currently studying Attalid and Seleucid poetic traditions, as well as Hellenistic epic fragments more generally.
As a student, I completed my PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge, supervised by Professor Richard Hunter; before that, I studied at the University of Oxford, completing both my BA and MSt at University College.
I’ve co-organised a number of conferences, including ‘Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Callimachean Aesthetics’ (September 2016), the Cambridge AHRC DTP’s Conference on Time and Temporality (September 2016), and the Cambridge Laurence Seminar on Collaboration and Ancient Literature (June 2021). For the 2019 CA/FIEC conference, I also organised a panel entitled ‘Poetics Between Greece and the Near East’ (July 2019).
Teaching materials for my undergraduates is available at http://www.thomas-j-nelson.co.uk/teaching.html
I’m very open to any kind of collaborative research and happy to be contacted about any ideas for collaboration, however preliminary.