Classics > Admissions > Graduate > Postgraduate Profiles > Michael Malone-Lee

Michael Malone-Lee
Language and Literature Postgraduate, October 2012

I read Classics at Oxford in the 1960s and then had a career of forty years in the public service. I never lost interest and the appetite for Latin and Greek but cannot claim to have done more than dip into a classical text occasionally. I remember passing the time on a train journey with a Cabinet minister, for whom I worked at the time and who had also read classics, comparing notes on our ability to read Homer still.

Several of my colleagues who had retired were pursuing doctorates and I envied them the interest and the challenge. After retiring I did the M. St. in classical languages and literature at Oxford and picked up the threads broken off forty years before.

During a course in Byzantine history I came across the name of Cardinal Bessarion, Greek Orthodox bishop, Roman Cardinal, papal diplomat and classical scholar. He seemed an interesting and unusual man. While doing the M. St. I attended a class on classical reception, a subject and terminology unknown in Oxford when I was an undergraduate. It occurred to me that Cardinal Bessarion’s influence on the transmission and interpretation of Plato in the Renaissance would be an interesting study in the way one of the greatest philosophers was received and interpreted in Western Europe in the Renaissance.

It is proving an absorbing topic for a doctoral thesis. It offers the advantage of working in both Greek and Latin. It also straddles the boundaries between classical studies, philosophy, theology and history.

To a certain extent a doctorate is a lonely furrow to plough. But one of the joys of such a large classical department in Oxford is the interest and stimulation from so many other scholars and the opportunity to explore and learn about topics a long way removed from the narrow boundaries of one’s individual research project.

Postgraduate Profiles

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