Eleanor Winsor LeachEleanor Winsor Leach

  • Ruth N. Halls Professor, Department of Classical Studies
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Classical Studies
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Comparative Literature
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Art History


  • A.B. at Bryn Mawr College, 1959
  • M.A. at Yale University, 1960
  • Ph.D. at Yale University, 1963

Research Interests

  • Roman Painting
  • Roman Sculpture
  • Cicero’s and Pliny’s Letters

Contact Information

Ballantine Hall, Room 569


The senior honors paper that I, as a fledgling new critic, wrote on imagery in the Aeneid marked the beginning of my interest in using theory as an approach to reading Latin texts. Many of my publications reflect this interest, but so does much of my classroom teaching. During the past few years I have offered in alternate years a course entitled “Literary and Cultural Theory for Classicists” that serves as our “proseminar for PhD students. Literary history as cultural history is the thematic orientation of the the intensive survey of Latin Literature leading to the PhD exam in Latin Literature that I teach in alternate years. Visual art as self-representation is the complementary half of my interests. My contributions to our departmental curriculum in this area are a course in “Ancient Painting: Caves to Catacombs” and a general course in Roman Art and Archaeology. One new project on which I began intensive work in Spring 2004 involves the representation of statues in Roman literary texts. It’s a project about ekphrasis or description of art objects, but even more engaged with the social communication of such objects. Before this I had spent many summers’ study time in Rome and Campania working towards the book The Social Life of Painting in Ancient Rome and on the Bay of Naples, 2004;2011 PB, from Cambridge University Press which contains many of my own descriptions of Pompeian houses and their paintings. With this finished, I have not given up on Campania but continue to visit for small research projects such as a recently published article on the iconography of mosaiac fountains and a new paper on “Flavian Pompeii” to be contributed to a Blackwell’s Companian. Currently my large scale writing project is a book Epistolary Dialogues: Constructions of Self and Others in the Letters of Cicero and the Younger Pliny, for which I was fortunate to be afforded a semester’s free time by a Visiting Fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford. A preview of my approach can be seen in my 2006 presidential address to the American Philological Association (Transactions of the American Philological Association 136/2).

Selected Awards

  • M. Carey Thomas Senior Essay Prize, Bryn Mawr College
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship
  • NEH Senior Fellowship
  • ACLS/National Humanities Center Fellowships
  • Fellowship, NGA Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts
  • Visiting Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford

Courses Recently Taught

  • Ancient Painting: Caves to Catacombs
  • Roman Art and Archaeology
  • Cicero: His Life and Works
  • Survey of Latin Literature for Graduate Students (2 semesters)
  • Literary and Cultural Theory for Classicists
  • Roman Letters
  • Seminar post-Verglian Epic

Publication Highlights


Vergil's  Eclogues:  Landscapes of Experience. Ithaca, New York, 1974.

The Rhetoric of Space: Literary and Artistic Representations of Landscape in Republican and Augustan Rome. Princeton, 1988.

The Social Life of Painting in Ancient Rome and on the Bay of Naples. Cambridge University Press, 2004, 200 P8.


"Ekphrasis and the Theme of Artistic Failure in Ovid's Metamorphoses," Ramus 3 (1974) 102-142.

"The Metamorphoses of the Myth of Acteon in Campanian Painting," Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts, Roemische Abteilung 88 (1981) 171-183 and pls. 131-141.

"The Anonymity of Romano-Campanian Painting and the Transition from the Second to the Third Style" in B. Gold, ed., Literary and Artistic Patronage in Augustan Rome (Austin, Texas, 1982) pp. 135-173.

"The Punishment of Dirce: A Newly Discovered Continuous Narrative Painting in the Casa di Giulio Polibio and its Significance within the Visual Tradition," Roemische Mitteilungen 93 (1986) 118-138 & color pl. 1; pls 49-59.

"The Politics of Self-Presentation: Pliny's  Letters and Roman Portrait Sculpture," Classical Antiquity 9 (1990) 19-39.

"The Iconography of the Black Salone in the Casa di Fabio Rufo at Pompeii," Kölner Jahrbuch fur Vor-und Früh geschichte 24 (1991) 105-112.

"Polyphemus in a Landscape: Traditions of Pastoral Courtship," in John Dixon Hunt, ed. The Pastoral Landscape, National Gallery of Art, Studies in the History of Art 36, 1992, 63-88.

"Horace's Sabine Property in Lyric and Hexameter Verse," AJP 114 (1993) 271-302

"Absence and Desire in Cicero's De Amicitia," Classical World 87 (1993) 3-20.

"Oecus on Ibycus: Investigating the Vocabulary of the Roman House," in Space and Sequence in Ancient Pompeii, ed. Rick Jones and Sarah Bon, ed. Oxbow Books, Oxford, 1997, 50-71.

"Horace and the Material Culture of Augustan Rome: A Revisionary Reading," in T. Habinek and A. Schiesaro, ed. The Roman Cultural Revolution, Cambridge University Press, 1997, 105-121.

"Personal and Communal Memory in the Reading of Horace's Odes Books I-III," Arethusa 31 (1998) 43-74.

“Ciceronian ‘Bi-Marcus’: Correspondence with M. Terentius Varro and L. Papirius Paetus in 46 B.C.,” TAPA (1999) 139-180.

“Cicero's Pro Sestio: Spectacle and Performance,” in J. Hallett and S. Dickison, ed. Rome and her Monuments: Essays on the City and Literature of Rome in Honor of Katherine A Geffcken. Illinois, 2000, 369-397.

"Narrative Space and the Viewer in Philostratus' Eikones,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts Römische Abteilung 107 (2000) 237-252.

Otium as Luxuria in the Status Economy of Pliny’s Letters,” in Re-Imagining Pliny the Younger, Roy Gibson and Ruth Morello, ed. Arethusa 36 (2003) 147-166.

“Constructing Identity: Q. Haterius and C. Trimalchio Decorate their Tombs,” in E.V. D’Ambra and Guy Metraux, eds., The Art of Citizens, Soldiers and Freedmen in the Roman World, Archeo Press, 2006, 1-18.

An gravius aliquid scribam: Roman seniores write to Iuniores,” TAPA 137 (2006) 247-267.

"Litora picta...nativis lapillis: Campanian mosaic foutains and their contexts" in Irene Bragantini, ed. Proceedings of the 11th Congress of the Association Internationale pour l"Etude de la Peinture Antique. Naples, University Press 2010.

"Fortune's Extremities: Q Lutatius Catulus and largo Argentina Temple B: A Roman Consular and his Monument", Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 55 (2010): 111-134.