Mark Payne

  • University of Chicago
  • Department of Classics and the Committee on Social Thought
  • Professor of Classics

Mark Payne is Professor in the Department of Classics and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

My research focuses on the literary imagination and its recursive effects on our everyday life worlds. My first book, Theocritus and the Invention of Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 2007) brought recent theories of fiction to bear on pastoral as the first fully fictional world of the ancient literary imagination.

My second book, The Animal Part: Human and Other Animals in the Poetic Imagination (The University of Chicago Press, 2010) looked at how poets from Archilochus to William Carlos Williams engage with the lives of other animals. It received the 2011 Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism.

My current book project, “The Choric Con-sociality of Nonhuman Life,” investigates the representation of Nature as a choric presence around human life in Hellenistic poetry, German Romanticism, and the Anglo-American weird tale. I have written papers on many aspects of ancient poetry and its reception, from Pindar to Paul Celan, and I am currently working on the relationship between ancient poetics of play and the painting of Cy Twombly.