School of English and Drama

Dr Katherine Fleming, BA MPhil PhD (Cambridge)


Lecturer in Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Literature | MA Writing in the Modern Age and Contemporary Writing Pathway Convenor



I started academic life as a classicist, reading Classics at King’s College, Cambridge (where I also did my MPhil and PhD). My doctoral research was in the reception of Greek literature and thought in the 30s and 40s, with particular focus on the philosophies of Theodor Adorno and Martin Heidegger. In 2004, I got my first job - a temporary lectureship - at QM, a month before I submitted my PhD. After a further temporary post, in 2007 I was appointed lecturer in Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Literature. My earliest publications focussed on the politics of the reception of the ancient world.

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH243: Architexts
  • ESH348: Ancient Myth - Modern Theory
  • ESH393: Feminism(s)

Postgraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH7013: James Joyce's Finnegans Wake
  • ESH7036: Researching Modern Culture


Research Interests:

  • The classical tradition
  • The role of antiquity in modern intellectual thought, philosophy, and theory, from the late eighteenth century to the present
  • The place of the ancient world in twentieth-century and contemporary literature
  • The politics of reception

Recent and On-Going Research:

I have recently completed or published several articles on Heidegger and Plato, Adorno and the Odyssey, Ted Hughes and Seneca’s Oedipus, and Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, humanism, and the politics of the Occupation and Liberation of France. I have also co-edited two volumes: one on the reception of Seneca in the English Tradition, the other on the reception of the ancient world in German literature.

I am currently working on a book entitled Longing for Greece: Philosophy, Homesickness, and the Return to the Greeks, which traces the interaction and collision of philosophy, philhellenism and nationalism in German thought from Hegel to Heidegger. I am also beginning work on a briefer book project about the (Greek) Sphinx, from antiquity to the present, in which I will consider this iconic figure’s role in narratives of desire, death, knowledge, and subjectivity.


Selected Publications:

'Antigone and humanism: the politics of Occupation and Liberation', International Journal of the Classical Tradition (forthcoming)

'For everyone must answer the sphinx: Ted Hughes' translation of Seneca's Oedipus', Canadian Review of Comparative Literature (forthcoming)

with T. Grant (eds), Seneca in the English Tradition, Special Volume of Canadian Review of Comparative Literature (forthcoming)

with A. Simon (eds), The Reception of Classical Antiquity in German Literature (forthcoming, Iudicum)

'Odysseus and Enlightenment: Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialektik der Aufklarung', International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 19 (2012), 107-28

'Heidegger, Jaeger, Plato: The Politics of Humanism', International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 19 (2012), 82-106

‘Fascism’, A Companion to the Classical Tradition, ed. C. Kallendorf (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 342-54

‘Fascism on Stage: Jean Anouilh's Antigone’, in Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought, ed. M. Leonard and V. Zajko (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 163-86

‘The Use and Abuse of Antiquity: The Politics and Morality of Appropriation’, in Classics and the Uses of Reception, ed. C. Martindale and R. F. Thomas (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 127-37

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.

I have recently supervised the following successful PhD project:

  • Ahren Warner, 'Contradictions in Coherence: Three Poets and the Poetics of the Commodity as Fetish' (2012)