Dr Tom Geue

Lecturer in Classics
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Literary Studies 4705
  • Latin And Classical Greek Literature 470513

Research interests

  • Imperial literature from c. 40 BCE to c. 200 CE, mainly Latin, Greek on a good day
  • Roman satire
  • Anonymous texts, literary and less literary
  • Marxist criticism
  • Classical reception, esp. in high modernism, and contemporary women’s writing
  • History of classical scholarship and its relationship with the political left
  • Historicism, formalism, and the various conflicts within each
  • Intertextuality and its limits
  • Autobiography and self-fashioning
  • History of literary criticism in 20th century, esp. the fortunes of ‘close reading’
  • Working with uncertainty



My classics habit started at high school, where I studied Latin under the sign of the infectious enthusiasm and total madness of the late Dr Emily Matters. I went on to do my honours degree at the University of Sydney, with Dr Frances Muecke and Dr Emma Gee; I then upped sticks to the UK, where I developed a vitamin-D deficiency and somehow managed to defy it to gain an MPhil (2009) and PhD (2013) from King's College, Cambridge (working with Prof. John Henderson and Prof. Chris Whitton).

From there I spent a year unemployed or part-time employed in non-academic roles, slowly working my way into the precariate with a one year post at Trinity College Oxford (2013-14) and a ten month post (2014-15) at the University of Bristol. I eventually settled with a British Academy Postdoc and a lectureship (then senior lectureship) at the University of St Andrews. I loved teaching and researching at St Andrews, and in 2021 I was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize, largely made possible through the wonderful academic environment in Scotland. It's important to acknowledge that my career has had many rough patches as well as bright spots, and that the bright spots are often a trick of the light played by various structural advantages.

During my time in the UK, I also spent long research stints abroad, at Harvard (2017/18), and then most recently at the Sebastiano Timpanaro archive in the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (2021/22). I lived in Livorno, one of Italy's lesser-known gems, the port city where the Italian communist party was born in 1921. That history is just as important to me as the things that happened to happen in the ancient Mediterranean; and that history continues to inflect the way I read the deeper past.  

After many years wrapped in a gore-tex jacket, I'm thrilled to be thawing back in Australia and working with my brilliant colleagues to build a new generation of ANU classics and classicists. I consider myself an outward-facing Latinist, in the discipline but not bound by it, so if you ever want to come chat about anything - literature, art, politics - in English or in my barely grammatical Italian, my door's always open.



Researcher's projects

My main current project is a close study of the thought of Sebastiano Timpanaro (1923-2000), a Marxist and philologist who flourished in the socialist groundswell of Red Tuscany after WWII. Timpanaro embodies a strange marriage of training in a field tasked with interpreting small bits of the world, with a militant commitment to transforming it for the good of all. The book I'm writing - Major Corrections: The Materialist Philology of Sebastiano Timpanaro, under contract with Verso Books - makes the case that philology has something to offer Marxism.

In the future somewhere lies, I hope, a new project called The Elephant in the Study: Working Latin Literature for the Enslaved. It is now a truth with legs that the major classical Latin authors - your Ciceros, your Virgils - wrote their immortal works of genius propped up by the enslaved labour of amanuenses. This project seeks to take the implications of that truth deadly seriously. How does the presence of enslaved labour change the way we read Latin literature? The way we do criticism in general? One thing is for sure: it can no longer be business as usual.

I also have many projects in the pipeline in my bread and butter field of early imperial Latin literature, both articles and book chapters for edited volumes. I'm a very keen collaborator, and have projects on the go with and for several colleagues and friends (in no particular order): on Latin literature and the political, with Associate Prof. Elena Giusti (University of Warwick); on writing and enslavement in the ancient Mediterranean, with Prof. Jeremiah Coogan (Santa Clara University), Prof. Joe Howley (Columbia University) and Prof. Candida Moss (University of Birmingham); on Marx and Antiquity, with Dr Tristan Bradshaw (University of Wollongong) and Dr Ben Brown (University of Sydney); on women authors' creative use of the classics, with Daisy Dunn, Dr Emily Hauser (Exeter) and Dr Helena Taylor (Exeter); on Virgil's Georgics and slavery, with Katherine Dennis (Princeton) and Prof. Erika Valdivieso (Yale); on the subjectivity of ancient work, with Dr Del Maticic (Vassar) and Dr Jordan Rogers (Carleton); on radical formalisms, with Prof. Sarah Nooter (Chicago) and Prof. Mario Telò (Berkeley); on collaboration in ancient literature, with Dr Talitha Kearey (Cambridge), Dr Max Leventhal (Cambridge) and Dr Tom Nelson (Oxford); on cosmographies, with Dr Aaron Kachuck (Louvain) and Prof. Renaud Gagné (Cambridge).


Available student projects

I'm very keen to supervise Honours and HDR students in any of my competencies, particularly Latin literature and ancient slavery. Please get in touch if you want to bat some ideas around. 

Current student projects

Alex Grigor - PhD project on ancient Roman heroism and Game of Thrones

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Updated:  26 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers