I am a Classicist whose research focuses on the poetics and politics of Greek poetry from the archaic period to the Hellenistic world.
I am currently a a British Academy Posdoctoral Research Fellow and Stipendiary Lecturer in Classics at Wadham College, Oxford.
Before that, I was a Research Fellow in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and an Affiliated Lecturer in Cambridge’s Faculty of Classics (2018-2021).
I have recently completed a book on the ‘pre-Alexandrian footnote’ and other markers of allusion in archaic Greek poetry, forthcoming with CUP. 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 focus on the literary cultures of the Attalids and Seleucids, as well as the rich dossier of extant epic fragments from throughout the Hellenistic world. I am currently producing a new edition, translation and commentary of The Hellenistic Epic Fragments. I am also co-editing two volumes, the first on collaboration and ancient literature, the second on the relationship of Pergamon and Rome.
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), and I have co-organised a panel on ‘The Poetics and Pragmatics of Hellenistic Aesthetics’ for the 2022 SCS/AIA Annual Meeting in San Francisco (January 2022).
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.