Gregory Nagy

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Gregory Nagy (Hungarian: Nagy Gergely, pronounced [ˈnɒɟ ˈgɛrgɛj]; born Budapest, October 22, 1942)[1][2] is an American professor of Classics at Harvard University, specializing in Homer and archaic Greek poetry. Nagy is known for extending Milman Parry and Albert Lord's theories about the oral composition-in-performance of the Iliad and Odyssey.[3]

Education and career

Nagy received his A.B. from Indiana University in 1962 in classics and linguistics, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1966 in classical philology.

Since 1966, he has been a professor at Harvard University.

Since 2000, he has been the director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, a Harvard-affiliated research institution in Washington, DC. He is the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, and continues to teach half-time at the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1994 to 2000, he served as Chair of the Classics Department at Harvard University. He was Chair of Harvard's undergraduate Literature Concentration from 1989 to 1994. He served as the president of the American Philological Association in the academic year 1990-91.

MOOC offering

In 2013 Harvard offered his popular class, The Ancient Greek Hero, which thousands of Harvard students had taken over the last few decades, through edX as a massive open online course. To assist Professor Nagy, Harvard appealed to alumni to volunteer as online mentors and discussion group managers. About 10 former teaching fellows have also volunteered. The task of the volunteers is to focus online class discussion on the course material. The course had 27,000 students registered.[4]

Personal life

Nagy and his wife, Olga Davidson, lecturer in Brandeis University's Humanities Program and chair of the Ilex Foundation, served as co-masters of Currier House at Harvard from 1986 to 1990.

Nagy has two brothers in allied fields: Blaise Nagy is a professor of Classics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, while Joseph F. Nagy is a professor of Celtic folklore and mythology at UCLA.



As sole author

  • Nagy, Gregory, Greek Dialects and the Transformation of an Indo-European Process (Harvard University Press, 1970)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Comparative Studies in Greek and Indic Meter (Harvard University Press, 1974)
  • Nagy, Gregory, The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry, Revised Edition (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998; original publication, 1979)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Greek Mythology and Poetics (Cornell University Press, 1990)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Pindar's Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Poetry as performance. Homer and beyond. (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Homeric Questions (University of Texas Press, 1996)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Plato's Rhapsody and Homer's Music : The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens (Harvard University Press, 2002)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Homeric Responses (University of Texas Press, 2003)
  • Nagy, Gregory, Homer's Text And Language (University of Illinois Press, 2004)
  • Nagy, Gregory. Homer: The Preclassic (University of California Press, 2010)
  • Nagy, Gregory. The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Harvard University Press, 2013)

As editor or co-editor

  • Victor Bers and Nagy, G. eds., The Classics In East Europe: From the End of World War II to the Present (American Philological Association Pamphlet Series, 1996)
  • Nicole Loraux, Nagy, G., and Slatkin, L., eds., Postwar French Thought vol. 3, Antiquities (New Press, 2001)
  • Nagy, Gregory ed. with very brief introductions to collections of reprinted articles, Greek Literature (Taylor and Francis, London, 2001; Routledge, 2002), 9 vols. Vol. 4, item 14, was reprinted without the permission of the author, nor with, as alleged, the permission of the journal in question.


  • Nagy, Gregory, "The Professional Muse and Models of Prestige in Ancient Greece," Cultural Critique 12 (1989) 133–143
  • Nagy, Gregory, "Early Greek Views of Poets and Poetry," in: The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 1 (ed. G. Kennedy; Cambridge 1989; paperback 1993) 1–77
  • Nagy, Gregory, "The Crisis of Performance," in: The Ends of Rhetoric: History, Theory, Practice (ed. J. Bender and D.E. Wellbery; Stanford 1990) 43–59
  • Nagy, Gregory, "Distortion diachronique dans l'art homérique: quelques précisions," in: Constructions du temps dans le monde ancien (ed. C. Darbo-Peschanski; Paris 2000) 417–426.


  1. "CV: Gregory Nagy",
  2. "Profile: Professor Gregory Nagy" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 20, 2005), University of Vermont, President's Distinguished Lecture Series (archived 2005)
  3. Greg Nagy and the oral tradition of Homeric poetry, an interview, a video and a performance (Digital Pioneers@Harvard, September 2014)
  4. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links