FLL Faculty Fall 2016

John P. Given

Associate Professor
Classical Studies
on leave
Dept. Foreign Languages & Literatures
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353


B.A. Classical Studies, Dickinson College
M.A. Classical Studies, University of Michigan
Ph.D. Classical Studies University of Michigan

Areas Of Interest

Greek Tragedy and Comedy, Performance and Reception

Professor Given specializes in Athenian tragedy and comedy, especially Euripides and Aristophanes. He is interested in how contemporary intellectual, philosophical and ideological debates shape identity performance in the plays. He studies these questions in the context of fifth-century B.C. theatre as well as in modern performance. He believes that the theatre is a laboratory in which plays can be dissected and examined, and so has performed and directed numerous plays himself.

He is also interested in translation theory and practice. He has taught a special seminar on the translation of classical literature and has a forthcoming translation of the fifth-century A.D. historian Priskos of Panium, one of our main sources for Attila and the Huns.

Teaching Philosophy

"My mantra in teaching is that the self-reflective student is the best student. It is vitally important to learning that a student at any level understand not only what he or she learns, but also how and why he or she learns. To this end, I direct students to examine their own methodology for studying, and to interrogate the course of their own education. In the realm of language learning in particular, I have been strongly influenced by my training at the University of Michigan, where methodological techniques have been developed to enable students to read non-spoken languages with great facility. Students, while studying the Greek or Latin language, learn a great deal about the structure of language itself and about their own linguistic habits.

Selected Publications

  • The Fragmentary History of Priscus. Translation, with introduction and commentary. Merchantville, N.J.: Arx Publishing (2014).
  • "Aristophanic Comedy in American Musical Theatre, 1925-1969." In Oxford Handbook to Greek Drama in the Americas, ed. †Kathryn Bosher, Fiona Macintosh, Justine McConnell and Patrice Rankine, Oxford Handbooks in Classical and Ancient History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014.
  • "Heralds," "Servants," and "Unnamed Characters." In The Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy, ed. Hanna Roisman, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • Review of Broadway musical Lysistrata Jones, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn, directed by Dan Knechtges. Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, New York. Didaskalia: The Journal for Ancient Performance 9 (2012): 10-13.
  • "Staging the Reconciliation Scene of Aristophanes' Lysistrata." Didaskalia: The Journal for Ancient Performance 8.29 (2011): 189-97.
  • Creating the Outsider's Political Identity: Nathan Lane's Dionysus." Helios 38 (2011): 221-36.
  • "When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes." Classical World 102 (2009): 107-28.
  • "Constructions of Motherhood in Euripides' Medea." In Text and Presentation, 2008, ed. Stratos Constantinidis, 42-54. Jefferson, N.C. and London: McFarland, 2009.
  • "The Agathon Scene in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae." Symbolae Osloenses 82 (2007): 35-51.
  • "Narrative Discontinuity and Identity in Greek Old Comedy and the American Concept Musical." In Text and Presentation, 2004, ed. Stratos Constantinidis, 119-33. Jefferson, N.C. and London, 2005.
  • "Something Not So Familiar" [on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Frogs]. The Sondheim Review 11.2 (Fall 2004): 18.

Selected Theatrical Experience

Directing (and other off-stage work)

  • Classical Performance Series
  • Rudens, by Plautus (co-directed with Alison Futrell)
  • Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles, with original music by Mark Richardson
  • A Thousand Kisses, a radio play based on the life and poetry of Catullus, by Frederic Raphael
  • The Brothers Menaechmus, by Plautus
  • Lysistrata, by Aristophanes
  • Alcestis, by Euripides, directed by Mark Damen and Mary-Kay Gamel (Musical staging and lyrics).
  • Thespis or The Gods Grown Old, music by Arthur Sullivan, lyrics by W. S. Gilbert, with additional music by Alan Riley Jones, directed by John H. Starks, Jr. (Producer)


  • Catullus in A Thousand Kisses, by Frederic Raphael
  • Euripides in Thesmophoriazusae, by Aristophanes
  • Silenus in Cyclops, by Euripides
  • Alcestis's Son and Chorus in Alcestis, by Euripides
  • Aristodemus in The Jurymen, by Katherine Janson (a dramatization of the last days of Socrates)
  • Poseidon in The Birds, by Aristophanes
  • Neptune in The Heavensgate Deposition, or Claudius the Gourd, by Douglass Parker (an adaptation of Seneca's Apocolocynotsis)
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