CANCELLED - The Case of Sophocles' "Oedipus"

September 28, 2012

Frederick Ahl


On Thursday, October 4, Hampden-Sydney College will host Frederick M. Ahl, Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Cornell University in a lecture on, "Believing unknown drunks at parties: the case of Sophocles' Oedipus."  Ahl is known for his work in Greek and Roman epic and drama, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome, as well as for translations of tragedy and Latin epic.

In addition to his several books, Ahl has published articles on topics including ancient Greek music, Homeric narrative, rhetoric in antiquity, and Latin poetry of the Roman imperial period.

In his book Sophocles' Oedipus (1991), Ahl argues that the Oedipus of Sophocles' play is not actually guilty. Oedipus' conclusion that he is guilty is not actually confirmed by the information in the play itself and that the audience's belief in Oedipus' guilt is based on their outside knowledge of the myth.

Ahl studied classics at Cambridge University, where he received a B.A. and M.A., and at the University of Texas, where he received his doctorate.  He taught at the Texas Military Institute, Trinity University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Utah before joining the Cornell faculty in 1971.  He received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching from Cornell in 1977, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1989-90 and was a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow in 1996.  He has served as director of Cornell Abroad in Greece.

Sponsored by Hampden-Sydney's Department of Classics and the Western Culture Program, this event is free and open to the public.  It begins at 4:30 PM in the Chairman's Room in Settle Hall.