Philip Purchase teaches courses in Greek and Latin, as well as courses for the Comparative Literature and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities programs.
Teaching in Text and Traditions defines and nourishes my intellectual life at Washington University.
It is a delight regularly to revisit works such as the Iliad, the lyrics of Sappho, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Madame Bovary; to do so in the company of others is a privilege. I approach the literature survey courses as evolving meditations on the uses of tradition. Similarly, my Pastoral Literature class engages the rich transformative history of the singing shepherd, a figure whose course we trace from ancient Greece to contemporary America.
I also take great pleasure in teaching Greek and Latin at all levels, from introductory grammar to literary and rhetorical analysis.
In my research, I trace currents of inheritance and transformation in various literary fields. I am currently considering the representation of the city in the poetry of Theocritus and Cavafy, and I am pursuing the interplay of psychoanalytic thought and artistic practice in the writings of Marion Milner, D. W. Winnicott, and Joyce Cary.