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PD Dr. Anke Walter

Research Interests:

Time in ancient literature; Ancient stories of origin; Literature and religion; Ancient (especially epic) narrative


Anke Walter is Lecturer in Classics at Newcastle University. Her main research interests are the construction of time in ancient literature, ancient stories of origin, literature and religion, as well as ancient (especially epic) narrative. 

Anke received her PhD from Heidelberg in 2011, with a thesis on Storytelling in Flavian Epic (published as Erzählen und Gesang im flavischen Epos with de Gruyter in 2014). Before taking up her current position at Newcastle, she worked as Assistant Professor (“Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin“) at Rostock from 2011-17, where she completed her Habilitation in 2018, with a thesis on Time in Ancient Stories of Origin (published by Oxford University Press in 2020). In this study, she examines the construction of time in select aetiological narratives of Archaic and Hellenistic Greece, Augustan Rome as well as in early Christian literature.

Anke has held research fellowships at Princeton University (2008-09) and the University of Virginia (2015-16). She has organized and co-organized numerous conferences, most recently on “Celebrating the Divine – Roman Festivals in Art, Religion, and Literature“ (co-organised with Prof John F Miller, August 2019, University of Virginia), and co-edited three volumes.

During her time at the Einstein Center Chronoi, she will be working on a project on festivals in Latin literature.

Project Abstract

Festive occasions, whether public or private, hold a special meaning. They remind us of the past, they connect us with those who are celebrating with us in the present, they confirm our identity, and they direct our thoughts towards the future. Festivals represented in works of literature, however, have even more intricate layers of meaning. They interact with the main narrative plot, they form a network with other festive events in the same text, but also in the literary tradition, and they evoke real-life festivals known to the audience, effectively bridging the gap between the text and the world. Festivals also encapsulate the role played by religion, politics, memory, and power throughout the text and in its interaction with the contemporary world.

Latin literature is particularly closely interwoven with festivity. It even came into being in the context of a festival, the Roman Games of 240 BC. Throughout Roman history, sacred days, religious ceremonies, and public games formed the context for the performance of literary works. Conversely, festive days feature prominently in Latin works of all literary genres, powerfully conveying meaning according to very different generic conventions. 

In my project, I will study the representation of festive days in Latin literature with a specific focus on their temporality. I will investigate how festive days interact with the temporality of different literary genres, and on how the rhythms of festive time interact with other rhythms in both text and world (e.g. those of natural time or of recurring literary motives). I will also trace the way in which the temporality of festivals in literature is inextricably intertwined with religious meaning as well as with memory, politics, and power.

Curriculum vitae

Since 2017: Lecturer in Classics, Newcastle University

2018: Habilitation, Universität Rostock

2015-16: Feodor Lynen Research Fellow (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation), University of Virginia

2011-17: Assistant Professor (“Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin"), Universität Rostock

2008-09: Visiting Student Research Collaborator, Princeton University

2006-11: PhD in Classics, Universität Heidelberg

2005-06: MPhil in Classics, University of Cambridge

2001-05: Undergraduate studies of Classics in Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Cambridge

Selected Publications

Time in Ancient Stories of Origin (Oxford 2020).

Erzählen und Gesang im flavischen Epos

Beihefte des “Göttinger Forum für Altertumswissenschaft” (Berlin 2014).

Special Issue of The Classical Journal in Honour of John F. Miller. Classical Journal 115.3-4 (2020). 

Co-edited with J. S. Clay. 

Antike Erzähl- und Deutungsmuster. Zwischen Exemplarität und Transformation. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 374 (Berlin 2018). Co-edited with S. Finkmann and A. Behrendt. 

Von Ursachen sprechen. Eine aitiologische Spurensuche / Telling Origins. On the Lookout for Aetiology (Hildesheim 2014). Co-edited with C. Reitz. 

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