Joseph Michael Pucci Professor of Comparative Literature, Professor of Classics

Joseph Pucci is Professor of Classics and in the Program in Medieval Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown, where he teaches courses on classical, later and medieval Latin language and literature, literary selfhood in late antique and medieval literature, the western tradition, and reception studies. He has published nearly 70 articles, book chapters, and book reviews on Latin literary culture, and is the author of four books: Augustine's Virgilian Retreat: Reading the Auctores at Cassiciacum (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2014); Venantius Fortunatus: Poems To Friends, A Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Hackett, 2010); The Full-Knowing Reader: Allusion and the Power of the Reader in the Western Literary Tradition (Yale, 1998; paperback version, 2012); and the second edition of K. P. Harrington, Medieval Latin (Chicago, 1997). A fifth book, Recuperating Virgil: Reading the Auctores in Augustine's Confessions is now completed (2016). A sixth book, an edited volume, The Classics Renewed: Reception and Innovation in the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity, co-edited with Scott McGill, is in press (2016) with Universitätsverlag Winter.

Interests: Late Antiquity; Late Latin; Medieval Latin; Comparative Literary History; Biography; Literature and the American Presidency; the western tradition.


Books: Medieval Latin, Second Edition (Chicago, 1997); The Full-Knowing Reader: Allusion and the Power of the Reader in the Western Literary Tradition (1998; paperback, 2012); Venantius Fortunatus: Poems To Friends, A Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Hackett, 2010); Augustine's Virgilian Retreat: Reading the Auctores at Cassiciacum (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2014).


In Progress: Alcuin: Selected Poems and Letters: A Translation with Commentary (Medieval Texts in Translation, Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies); The Classics Renewed: Reception and Innovation in the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity  (Universitätsverlag Winter), co-editor; an interpretation of Ausonius' poetry; a biography of Alcuin; a study of Lincoln's use of scripture.


Contributor (many articles and book reviews): Arethusa, Classica et Medievalia, Classical Bulletin, Classical Outlook, Classical Philology, Classical Review, Classical World, Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Journal of Medieval Latin, Latomus, New England Classical Journal, Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Ramus, Speculum, Virgil Encylcopedia, Blackwell Companion to Late Antique Litertature


Awards: Comfort and Urry Award for Advising, Mentoring, and Motivation (2015); Princeton Review: One of the Top 300 Professors in the U.S., 2012; Karen T. Romer Award for Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring, 2004; John Rowe Workman Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Humanities, 1996; Award for Outstanding Academic Advising, Undergraduate Council of Students (1998, 1999, 2001; 2013).

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work

Augustine's Virgilian Retreat: Reading the Auctores at Cassiciacum (PIMS, 2014)

Fortunatus: Poems To Friends, A Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Hackett, 2010)

The Full-Knowing Reader: Allusion and the Power of the Reader in the Western Literary Tradition (Yale, 1998)

Medieval Latin (Chicago, 1997)

The Classics Renewed: Reception and Innovation in the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity, in press (2016), Winter Verlag

research overview

Joseph Pucci has research interests in late antiquity, late Latin, medieval Latin, and comparative literary history with a focus on literary allusion and poetic genres. He also has interests in biography as a literary form (and as practitioner), in literature and the American presidency, reception studies, and the western tradition.

research statement

He is a comparative literary historian with interests in later and medieval Latin poetry, though he also works in prose (Augustine, Alcuin, Anselm, Abelard). He has investigated the phenomenon of allusion in Western tradition and recently published a book, Augustine's Virgilian Retreat: Reading the Auctores at Cassiciacum, that studies Augustine's dialogues as statement on the ways to read pagan literature. A compansion volume, now complete, is entitled Recuperating  Virgil: Reading the Auctores in Augustine's Confessions. It  examines Augustine's classical borrowings in the autobiographical portion of the Confessions. A translation of the personal poetry of Venantius Fortunatus was published in 2010 as Venantius Fortunatus: Poems to Friends, A Translation with Introduction and Commentary. His current project is a translation of a selection of Alcuin's letters and poems, entitled Alcuin: Selected Poems and Letters: A Translation with Commentary, that will be placed in the Medieval Sources in Translation series of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. A co-edited volume, The Classics Renewed: Reception and Innovation in the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity, is in press at Winter Verlag. Further afield, he has longer-term plans to investigate the Greco-Roman heroic ideal in early presidential biographies, such as Mason Weems' Life of Washington, and to study Lincoln's use of scripture.  His first two books were Medieval Latin, second edition, 1997, a revision of K.P. Harrington's standard anthology; and The Full-Knowing Reader: Allusion and the Power of the Reader in the Western Literary Tradition, 1998).

funded research

Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University, award to support the conference, Late Literature in the Sixth Century: East and West (2013) and the conference, The Classics Renewed: A Bicoastal Conference on the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity (2011); awards on the Marshall Woods Lectureship Fund, Brown University, 2011, 2013, to also support these conferences; Curricular Development Grant, Brown University, 1993, 2008; Odyssey Grant, Brown University, 1997; Wayland Collegium Course Grant, 1992; award on the Charles Cover Lectureships Fund, Brown University, 1991.