Alyson Melzer

Alyson Melzer

Assistant Professor, Classical Studies


  • B.A., Occidental College, 2011
  • Post-Baccalaureate, University of California Los Angeles, 2014
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 2020

Research Areas

  • Ancient Greek Literature and Culture
  • Greco-Roman Literary Criticism
  • 5th-Century Greek Theater
  • Music, Performance, and Aesthetics

About Alyson Melzer

I am a scholar and teacher of the ancient Greek world, with research focused on the history and development of ancient Greek literary cultures. While many authors and time periods are important to this conversation, from Homer to Plato to Plutarch, my work highlights the significant contributions literary criticism offers to our understanding of how ancient Greek peoples studied and experienced their own literary traditions. An enduring interest in music, pedagogy, and aesthetics led me to study the reception of Archaic and Classical poetry and performance practices in the treatises of such critics as Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Longinus, and Demetrius. My current book project explores the centrality of performance and the physical body to conceptualizations of literary language and style in antiquity; I am writing elsewhere about the influence of dance and movement over Longinus' notion of sublimity, and about the reception of Sappho’s lyric poetry in Greek literary criticism. 5th-century Athenian theater, with an emphasis on its soundscapes and performance realities, is also an ongoing area of my research and teaching related to my larger interests in sensory stimulation and lived experiences of verbal art. 

Courses Taught

  • Ancient Greek Culture
  • Greek Language (beginning, intermediate, and advanced)
  • Ancient Greek Theater in Translation

Selected Publications

"Sappho and the Sensorium in Greek Literary Criticism," in Brill's Companion to the Reception of Sappho, ed. V. Kousoulini et al. Brill. (Forthcoming)

"Comic Echopoetics in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazousai." American Journal of Philology. (Forthcoming)

"The Sounds of Ajax's Grief," in Looking at Ajax, ed. D. Stuttard. Bloomsbury, 67-76. (2019)