Alex Purves

A photo of Alex Purves
E-mail: Phone: 310-825-8873 Office: Dodd Hall 226B

I joined the UCLA faculty in 2002 after completing my Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and my BA and MA degrees at the University of Nottingham (UK). My main area of interest is Greek literature from the archaic and classical periods. My book on space and landscape in the early Greek epic and prose tradition, Space and Time in Ancient Greek Narrative (Cambridge University Press) was published in 2010. Homer and the Poetics of Gesture, my most recent book (Oxford University Press, 2019), approaches the Homeric poems through a series of focused readings of particular somatic positions and actions. I am also interested in the ancient senses: I co-edited Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses with Shane Butler (Acumen/Routledge, 2013), and recently edited Touch and the Ancient Senses for the same series (Routledge 2018).

I serve on the editorial board of Classical Receptions Journal.

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in ancient Greek language, literature, and thought, as well as GE courses on Classical Mythology (CL 30) and The Fantastic Journey: Antiquity and Beyond (CL 60). In 2017, I was the recipient of UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award, with a special commendation for graduate teaching.

Students interested in pursuing graduate work with me are encouraged to get in touch. You can listen to this interview to learn more about my work, mentoring, and research.


  • BA (Hons) English and Classical Studies, University of Nottingham, UK 1993
  • MA in Classical Studies, University of Nottingham, UK 1995
  • Post-baccalaureate program in Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania 1997
  • PhD in Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2002




  • GRK 1–3 Introduction to Ancient Greek
  • GRK 20 Intermediate Greek I (Lucian)
  • GRK 100 Intermediate Greek II (Xenophon, Plato)
  • GRK 100+ Advanced Greek (Homer; Hesiod; Lysias; Euripides; Sophocles; Apollonius)
  • CL 30 Classical Mythology (GE)
  • CL 60 The Fantastic Journey: From Homer to 2001: a space odyssey (GE)
  • CL 191 Capstone Seminar (The Immortal Experience; Aeschylus’ Other Plays)
  • Hon 13 Honors Collegium Seminar
  • CL 19 Fiat Lux Seminar (Sappho)
  • GRK 200A Archaic Greek Poetry MA Survey
  • GRK 200B Classical Greek Literature MA Survey
  • CL 287 Graduate Proseminar
  • GRK 200+ Graduate Seminars (Homer’s Iliad; Homer’s Odyssey; Hesiod; Sappho; Herodotus; Aristophanes)

Fellowships and Awards

  • UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, with special commendation for graduate teaching. 2017.
  • Spinoza Visiting Research Fellow. Leiden, Netherlands. 2016.
  • UCLA Faculty Career Development Award. 2009–2010 & 2004–2005.
  • American Council of Learned Societies, Fellow. 2005–2006.
  • Center for Hellenic Studies, Junior Fellow. 2005–2006.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. Summer Stipend. 2005.