Trained in Classics and Indo-European linguistics, I broadly define the study of languages of the ancient world. At UCLA I regularly offer classes that integrate the individual languages into wider cultural and historical contexts: in 2020 I co-taught (with Prof. Stephanie Jamison) a course on Indo-European poetics; in 2021 we again co-taught, this time a course on Greek and Indo-Iranian as a linguistic area, looking into issues of shared inheritance (Greek and Indo-Iranian) as well as resituating Greek in the second millennium as an innovative outlier in an Ancient Near East context. In spring 2023 I will teach a class on Indo-European meters, broadening the context of classical metrics so as to see the classical traditions in their prehistoric unfolding (historical development) and their cross-linguistic perspectives. In general, I am committed to close reading, working with the traditional toolkit of philology and historical linguistics to open new horizons of reading for the ancient texts. This project I envisage as comparative linguistics in the service of comparative literature, akin to what Calvert Watkins called “the new comparative philology.” The texts I work on record central themes of life, from magnificent cosmic histories, through human struggles with mortality, to the mundane of Mycenaean bookkeeping. These texts have (too) often been treated as simply “myth” or “folklore” or just treasure chests of forms for the linguist to plunder; I prefer to read the poetic texts as poetry, weighing the literary strategies that underpin specific traditions. I aim to understand what these texts meant to the ancient audiences, what they may mean for us, and by what strategies the poets made these meanings.
In my dissertation (UCLA 2017) I focused on Homeric Greek, its sources of archaisms and innovations, in particular how the archaisms were passed down within the tradition, how they were appreciated (or not!) by later audiences, and then how the poets innovated new forms within an inherently conservative medium. From 2017-18 I taught at UVM a version of cross-cultural Classics, enfolding India and Anatolia with Greece and Rome. From 2018-2021 I held a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the British Academy, jointly with Wolfson College, Oxford. During this time I worked primarily with Prof. Philomen Probert on problems of Ancient Greek and Sanskrit morphology and accentuation. My work culminated in several publications and an international “Oxford Workshop on Indo-European Accentuation” (workshop website). I also gained a love of punting and count it an honor to have been, albeit too briefly, Wolfson College’s “Admiral of the Fleet.”
I continue working on and teaching formal linguistics (especially accentuation and derivational morphology). I am increasingly interested in questions of the linguistic area of Greece and Anatolia in the second and first millennia, a rich and complex zone of horizontal transmissions. I continue to work on all areas of Ancient Greek, Italic, and Indic literatures, mostly in their earliest periods but ranging from prehistory through reception studies. Of the last-mentioned topic, I’ve undertaken research on Sanskrit teaching in the U.S. during the early twentieth century, consulting unpublished papers from the Charles R. Lanman archives at Harvard, and I remain a passionate Joycean, running an annual Bloomsday event (every June 16th) to celebrate a later adventure of Ulysses.
If anything here intrigues you, please feel free to write me.
Academia site: https://ucla.academia.edu/JesseLundquist