Cynthia Liu

My dissertation studies the changing patterns of usage of the language and imagery of ancient mystery religions in Greek and Roman poetry. Building on history- and reconstruction-focused studies of the cults, my dissertation approaches the relationship between literature and religion from a new direction: rather than using literature as a key to unlock the details of these highly-secretive and extraordinary rites, I examine the mysteries as they appear in each author’s imagination and explore how they contribute to poetic and narrative demands.

My other research interests include Augustan poetry, women in epic, ancient musical thought, and E.S. Piccolomini.