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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Alexander Beecroft

Title: Professor
Department: Languages, Literatures and Cultures
College of Arts and Sciences
Office: J. Welsh Humanities Bldg, 707
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


2003 Ph.D, Comparative Literature, Harvard University

1995 B.A.(Honours) Classics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Alexander Beecroft teaches courses in Greek and Latin language and literature, ancient civilizations, literary theory (ancient and modern) and the theory and practice of world literature. His major areas of research interest are in the literatures of Ancient Greece and Rome, pre-Tang Chinese literature (i.e. before AD 600), as well as current debates about world literature. His first book, Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: Patterns of Literary Circulation was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. He was the recipient of a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship in the Humanities from the American Council of Learned Societies for the 2011-12 academic year for work on his second book, An Ecology of World Literature: From Antiquity to the Present Day. (Verso, January 2015). His current projectt, A Global History of Literature, is under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press. He is also the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Comparative Literature Association.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Classical Mythology
Great Books of the Western World
Introduction to Graduate Study
Topics in Literary Theory: Nostos: Nostalgia, Exile, Cosmopolitanism

Topics in Literary Theory: Worlding the Disciplines
Topics in Literary Theory: Thinking Through Cultures
Latin: Horace, Odes
Greek: Lyric Poetry; Euripides; Homer, Odyssey

Areas of Research Interest

Archaic and Classical Greek literature
Shi Jing, Chu Ci and pre-Qin philosophical and historical texts
Han and Six Dynasties poetry
Latin literature
Ancient literary criticsm
Pre-modern systems of literary circulation
World Literature

Selected Publications

An Ecology of World Literature:From Antiquity to the Present Day (Verso, 2015)
Authorship and Cultural Identity in Early Greece and China: Patterns of Literary Circulation. (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

“Eurafrasiachronologies: Between the Eurocentric and the Planetary” Invited contribution to inaugural issue of Journal of World Literature 1.1 (2016), 17-28.
“Comparisons of Greece and China.” Invited Review Essay for Oxford Handbooks Online. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935390.013.14
“On the Tropes of Literary Ecology: The Plot of Globalization” Invited contribution to Globalizing literary genres : literature, history, modernity, edited by Jernej Habjan and Fabienne Imlinger (Routledge, 2016), 195-212.
“The Narrator and the Nation-Builder: Dialect, Dialogue, and Narrative Voice in Minority and Working-Class Fiction” Invited contribution to “Novel Beyond Nation,” special issue of Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 42.4, (Dec. 2015) 410-423.
“Authorship in the Chinese Canon of Songs (Shi Jing)” Invited contribution to That Wonderful Composite Called Author: Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century, edited by Christian Steineck and Christian Schwermann (Brill, September 2014), 58-97.
“The Bird of Passage and the Petit Panthéon: Frances Brooke, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, and Where to Begin a National Literature” Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne 38.1 (2013), 31-49.
“Greek, Latin, and the Origins of ‘World Literature’.” CLCWeb : Comparative Literature and Culture 15.5 (December 2013)
“Blindness and Literacy in the Lives of Homer” Classical Quarterly 61.1 (2011), 1-18.
“When Cosmopolitanisms Intersect: An Early Chinese Buddhist Apologetic and World Literature.” Comparative Literature Studies 47.3 (December 2010), 266-289.
"Oral Formula and Intertextuality in the Chinese Folk Tradition (Yuefu)" Early Medieval China 15 (2009), 23-47.
“World Literature Without a Hyphen: Towards A Typology of Literary Systems” New Left Review 54 (Nov-Dec 2008), 87-100.
“Nine Fragments in Search of an Author: Poetic lines attributed to Terpander,” The Classical Journal 103.3 (2008), 225-41.
“‘This is not a true story’: Stesichorus’ Palinode and the Revenge of the Epichoric” Transactions of the American Philological Association 156.1 (2006), 47-70.