René Girard and Classics – Rome

A bibliography


The following texts in English apply, discuss or criticize René Girard's theoretical approach. Inclusion in the list (or inclusion of a link) does not necessarily imply endorsement of a given text. Readers may suggest additional references through the contact page of this website.





Stephen M. Wheeler, “The Underworld Opening of Claudian's De Raptu Proserpinae,” Transactions of the American Philological Association, Vol. 125, 1995, pp. 113-134




Carlin A. Barton. The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993




Phebe Lowell Bowditch, “Tragic History, Lyric Expiation, and the Gift of Sacrifice” [on Odes 2.1, 2.13, and 3.1-6], Chapter 2 in Bowditch, Horace and the Gift Economy of Patronage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), pp. 64-115


Matthew Schneider, “Sacred Ambivalence: Mimetology in Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus,” Anthropoetics: The Journal of Generative Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1995


Julius Caesar


Chapters 21-25 [on Julius Caesar] in René GirardA Theater of Envy: William Shakespeare (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), are not without relevance for Roman history




Cristina G. Calhoon, “Lucretia, Savior and Scapegoat: The Dynamics of Sacrifice in Livy 1.57-59,” Helios 24, 1997, pp. 151-69


Andrew Feldherr, “Sacrifice, Initiation, and the Construction of the Patria,” Chapter 4 in Feldherr, Spectacle and Society in Livy’s History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 112-64


Patricia Klindienst Joplin, “Ritual Work on Human Flesh: Livy’s Lucretia and the Rape of the Body Politic,” Helios, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1990, pp. 51-70


Michel Serres. Rome: The Book of Foundations, tr. Felicia McCarren. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991




Andrew Feldherr, “Metamorphosis and Sacrifice in Ovid's Theban Narrative,” Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici, No. 38, 1997, pp. 25-55


Andrew Feldherr, “Homo Spectator: Sacrifice and the Making of Man,” Chapter 3 in Feldherr, Playing Gods: Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Politics of Fiction (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), pp. 125-159


Hunter H. Gardner, “Bees, Ants, and the Body Politic: Vergil’s Noric Plague and Ovid's Origin of the Myrmidons," Vergilius, Vol. 60, 2014, pp. 3-31


Patricia Klindienst Joplin, “The Voice of the Shuttle is Ours” [on Philomena], Stanford Literature Review 1, 1984, pp. 25-53; reprinted in Rape and Representation, ed. Lynn A. Higgins and Brenda A. Silver (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1991), pp. 35-64; reprinted iSexuality and Gender in the Classical World, ed. Laura K. McClure (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 257-92


Karen Newman, “Myrrha's Revenge: Ovid and Shakespeare's Reluctant Adonis,” Illinois Classical Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, Fall 1984, pp. 251-65




René Girard, “Comedies of Errors: Plautus––Shakespeare––Molière,” in American Criticism in the Post-Structuralist Age, ed. Ira Konigsberg (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1981), pp. 66-86


Vestal virgins


Andrew B. Gallia, "Vestal Virgins and Their Families," Classical Antiquity, Vol. 34, No. 1, April 2015, pp. 74-120


Hoyt N. Parker, “Why Were the Vestals Virgins? Or the Chastity of Women and the Safety of the Roman State,” American Journal of Philology, Vol. 125, No. 4, Winter 2004, pp. 563-601


Virgil and his successors


Cesareo Bandera, “Sacrificial Levels in Virgil’s Aeneid,” Arethusa 14, 1981, pp. 217-39


Cesareo Bandera, “From Mythical Bees to Medieval Anti-Semitism,” Stanford French Review, Vol. 10, No. 1-3, 1986, pp. 29-49; reprinted in Violence and Truth: On the Work of René Girard, ed. Paul Dumouchel (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 209-26


Cesareo Bandera, “From Virgil to Cervantes: Literature Desacralized,” Helios, Vol. 17, No. 1, 1990, pp. 89-108


Cesareo Bandera. The Sacred Game: The Role of the Sacred in the Genesis of Modern Literary Fiction [see Part 3: “Beyond Virgil”]. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994


Cesareo Bandera, “From Virgil to the Modern Era,” Chapter 4 in Bandera, A Refuge of Lies: Reflections on Faith and Fiction (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2013), pp. 101-107


Neil Coffee, “Eteocles, Polynices, and the Economics of Violence in Statius' Thebaid,” American Journal of Philology, Vol. 127, No. 3, Autumn 2006, pp. 415-452 


Page duBois, “The φαρμακός [Pharmakos] of Virgil: Dido as Scapegoat,” Vergilius, 1976, No. 221976, pp. 14-23


Hunter H. Gardner, “Bees, Ants, and the Body Politic: Vergil’s Noric Plague and Ovid’s Origin of the Myrmidons,” Vergilius, Vol. 60, 2014, pp. 3-31


Frances Hickson Hahn, “Vergilian Transformation of an Oath RitualAeneid 12.169-174, 213-215,” Vergilius, Vol. 45, 1999, pp. 22-38


Philip R. Hardie. The Epic Successors of Virgil: A Study in the Dynamics of a Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993


John O’Carroll and Chris Fleming, “The Dying of the Epic,” Anthropoetics: The Journal of Generative Anthropology, Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring 2011


Vassiliki Panoussi, “Ritual Violence and the Failure of Sacrifice,” Chapter 1 in Panoussi, Vergil’s Aeneid and Greek Tragedy: Ritual, Empire, and Intertext (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,  2009), pp. 13-44


David Quint, “Repetition and Ideology in the Aeneid,” Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici, No. 231989, pp. 9-54


Rebekah M. Smith, “Deception and Sacrifice in Aeneid 2.1-249,” American Journal of Philology, Vol. 120, No. 4, Winter 1999, pp. 503-23