Sam Galson

  • Princeton University
  • Department of Classics
  • PhD Candidate

Before coming to Princeton, Sam Galson did his BA in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and a Masters on the poetics of sacrifice in Virgil at l’Université Paris IV: Paris-Sorbonne. From Feb 2014-15, he will be a visiting student at the Warburg Institute in London. Sam has published articles on the Danish writer Ludvig Holberg and on the history of Greek sunlight. He is currently midway through a dissertation on the reception of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in natural philosophy (from around 1500 to 1900), conducted jointly within the Department of Classics and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities. His dissertation asks how the changing horizons of scientific research impacted the ways in which the Ovidian tradition was re-imagined and experienced. In particular, it looks at how the function of the Metamorphoses as a repository of natural philosophical knowledge interacted with its function as a poetic text, as attitudes to myth and to the natural philosophy of antiquity became increasingly hostile. Perhaps surprisingly, scientists continued to attribute forms of scientific authority to the Metamorphoses well into the nineteenth century. They were able to do so because of how the poem had framed the contingency of its own forms of naturalism and its philosophical doctrines; but also because the development of scientific theories entailed new ways of realising the potentialities generated by that contingency – new modalities of classical reception.