Spencer Klavan

Spencer Klavan
Language and Literature Postgraduate, October 2015

My love affair with classical literature began when Catullus accompanied me through the hormonal throes of adolescence. Since then, my πόθος for ancient verse has carried me through a BA at Yale University to an MPhil in Classical Languages and Literature here in Oxford. The journey has refined but not dampened my enthusiasm — I hope to move on to doctoral work and an academic career. My MPhil research has focused on Philodemus’ On Poems, and I hope to build my work on that text into a doctoral thesis on the intersection of Hellenistic literary criticism and musicology.

To say that I have enjoyed my time in Oxford would be a colossal understatement. Of course the resources are second to none: the Sackler and Bodleian libraries both offer impressive collections in their own right, and as a pair they complement one another wonderfully. There are also abundant opportunities to teach, present papers, and even pursue creative projects — this year I am performing in an original-language production of Euripides’ Hippolytus. But Oxford’s most valuable asset is certainly its faculty. At every turn I have encountered professors and supervisors who combine world-class expertise with graciousness, accessibility, and a sincere willingness to help students of all levels thrive.

Within the Classics department and outside of it, Oxford’s atmosphere is one of intellectual adventure — there is nothing quite like reading Homer aloud in the hills behind Port Meadow, or performing Shakespeare on a boat under Magdalen Bridge. I am consistently inspired by the dedication of my fellow scholars, and humbled to have the chance to work and live here.

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