Richard F. Thomas, PhD

George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics, Harvard University
Richard F. Thomas is the George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. Thomas received his bachelor's and master's at the University of Auckland and his PhD at the University of Michigan. Besides Harvard, he has taught at the University of Cincinnati, Cornell University, and the University of Venice. His publications include a monograph Lands and Peoples in Roman Poetry: The Ethnographical Tradition; a two-volume text and commentary on Virgil's Georgics; Reading Virgil and his Texts, a collection of his articles on the subject of Virgilian intertextuality; and Virgil and the Augustan Reception, a study of the ideological reception of Virgil from its beginnings through the twentieth century. He co-edited two books to which he also contributed: with Charles Martindale, Classics and the Uses of Reception, and with Catharine Mason, The Performance Artistry of Bob Dylan, Oral Tradition, Vol 22, Number 1. He also co-edited and contributed to Widener Library: Voices from the Stacks, a special issue of Harvard Library Bulletin. He has written a commentary on Horace, Carmen saeculare, and Odes 4, and coedited with Jan Ziolkowski a three-volume Virgil Encyclopedia. In 2017 he published the book Why Bob Dylan Matters. In his teaching and research he is interested in a variety of critical approaches (chiefly philological, intertextual, narratological, reception poetics), and in literary history, metrics and prose stylistics, genre studies, translation theory and practice, the reception of classical literature and culture, particularly as it relates to Virgil, and the lyrics of Bob Dylan. In 1992, he received the Carmen S. Bonanno Award, and was honored for 25 years of teaching in Extension in 2007.


  • PhD University of Michigan