Elizabeth Vandiver, the Clement Biddle Penrose Professor of Latin and Classics, received her M.A. (1984) and Ph.D. (1990) in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin. She received a B.A. in Humanities from Shimer College, where she matriculated as an “early entrant.”
She joined Whitman’s faculty in 2004. Her dissertation on the Greek historian Herodotus led to her first book, Heroes in Herodotus: The Interaction of Myth and History (Peter Lang, 1991). Her research interests also include Latin lyric poetry (especially Catullus) and translation theory and practice.
In recent years her main area of research has been classical reception studies, on which she has published widely. Her main focus is on the reception of classics in British poetry of the First World War and British literature of the 1920s and 1930s. Her book Stand in the Trench, Achilles: Classical Receptions in British Poetry of the Great War was published by Oxford University Press in 2010, and reissued in paperback in 2013.
She is currently working on a book on classical receptions in the works of Richard Aldington, an Imagist poet and novelist whose work was deeply influenced by Classics and by the Great War.
She has given numerous lectures on her research, and has also recorded several lecture courses (on Homer, Virgil, Herodotus, classical myth, and Greek tragedy, among others) for The Great Courses. In 2013 Whitman College awarded her The G. Thomas Edwards Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.