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River E

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Princeton University


Latin Epic Literature


My primary academic interest is in Latin epic literature, specifically the epics of the Flavian era (Argonautica, Thebaid, Punica) and of course the Aeneid as well. I'm also interested in representations of sport and ritual combat in epic literature, though this may not be a part of my actual dissertation. Outside of epic, I work on reception as well — how classical literature is received and reworked in more modern interpretations, from the film "O, Brother Where Art Thou?" to Anne Carson's "Autobiography of Red". As a former (and sometimes current!) Latin teacher, I am also fascinated by SLA (second language acquisition) and how recent developments in the field of linguistics can help us better teach and learn "dead" languages like Latin. At Princeton, I am the head instructor for the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club, a martial art that focuses on grappling, chokes, and joint manipulations to subdue a potentially larger, stronger opponent. I also bike often, and am an avid hiker (weather and season permitting); in 2013 I hiked the PCT, and have hiked several thru-hike trails since then, including the CT and JMT. I've also done several cycling tours, including one from New York to San Francisco. I generally enjoy being outdoors, and doing anything that involves making or creating with my hands, from woodworking to ceramics.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

The Captive Medea

This project would look at a number of modern representations of Medea in art and reflect on how the classical conception of this figure has changed to address modern issues of subjugation, power, femininity, and captivity. Material from anthropology and psychology would also be brought in to address the social realities of captivity in the classical period, and show how the cultural frameworks for understanding captive status and enslavement have shifted in the modern period, and what effect this has had on representations of Medea today.

Hercules: The Essence of a Hero

This project would look at film representations of the iconic Greco-Roman hero — including the Disney animated movie! — and compare these representations to the hero's origins in classical mythology and literature. The "essence" of the hero in myth would be framed against what is found in the cinematic Hercules, using both close reading of ancient texts and detailed film analysis. Differences might reflect the ways in which modern societies have redefined the concept of a hero, and show how classical literature can shape the modern world.

Languages I know

Latin, advanced. Greek, advanced. German, beginner. Italian, beginner. ASL, beginner.

Teaching experience

I taught high school Latin and Physics for several years, have taught courses at Princeton for several years, coach other graduate students through the McGraw center at Princeton, and mentor low-income and first-generation students through the SIFP program at Princeton.


Work experience

Washington Latin PCS (2015 - 2018)
Latin Teacher, AP Physics Teacher


Cornell University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2012)
Princeton University
MA Master of Arts (2021)
Princeton University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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