James Porter

Job title: 
Distinguished Professor; Irving Stone Chair in Literature

Porter is Irving Stone Professor in Literature and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Rhetoric. His teaching and research have followed a few different trajectories. One is a study of Nietzsche’s thought, early and late (Nietzsche and the Philology of the Future and The Invention of Dionysus: An Essay on ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ (both Stanford University Press, 2000). Another is a study of models of aesthetic sensation, perception and experience in ancient Greece and Rome, which he explored in The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience (Cambridge University Press, 2010; pbk. 2016). A continuation of this inquiry is The Sublime in Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2016; pbk. 2020), which received the C. J. Goodwin Award of Merit from The Society for Classical Studies (2017). A further strand is Jewish literary and critical thought in authors from Spinoza to Freud, Adorno and Arendt. His most recent book is Homer: The Very Idea  (University of Chicago Press, 2021; pbk. 2023), which captures some of his interest in classical reception studies. He is co-editor of the preeminent series in this field, "Classical Presences" (Oxford University Press, 2005– ). Member of the collective that published Postclassicisms (Chicago University Press, 2019). All of these topics spill over into his teaching, and many of them have begun their life there because he finds that the classroom is one of the most productive places you can ever be.