Prof Malcolm Heath

Prof Malcolm Heath

Professor of Greek Language and Literature

+44 (0)113 34 33542

Summary: Greek poetry and rhetoric, ancient and modern literary theory.

MA (Oxford)
DPhil (Oxford)

Research Interests

Malcolm is an expert in many areas of Greek poetry and rhetoric, ancient and modern literary theory.

He is author of seven books as well as numerous articles on Greek literature. He has also translated Aristotle's Poetics for Penguin Classics (1996). He was co-editor of PLLS 6-7 and 9-10 (1990-98), and is editor of the department's on-line journal, Leeds International Classical Studies (2002-present).

His current work is focused on ancient philosophers and poetry. His Ancient Philosophical Poetics was published at the beginning of 2013 in the series Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy (Cambridge University Press). He has recently completed Poetical Animals: Aristotle, anthropology and poetry (with the assistance of Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, 2010-2012), and is now beginning work on a theoretical commentary on Aristotle's Poetics.

Malcolm's personal page on


I was a student at Oxford, completing my BA in 1980 and my doctorate in 1984. After three years as a Junior Research Fellow at Hertford College I taught for one year at St Andrews, before joining the Classics department at Leeds in 1988; I was appointed Professor of Greek in 2002.

To my surprise, a lot of my research has been focused on the teaching of rhetoric in the Greek-speaking parts of the Roman Empire - a project to which the students on my module on practical rhetoric have made a major contribution.

I am now trying to make sense of Aristotle's Poetics in the context of the rest of Aristotle's philosophy. This will, I hope, eventually lead me back to Greek tragedy, the subject of my doctoral thesis.

In my spare time I listen to classical music (especially Bruckner and Sibelius) and read whatever seems interesting at the time.


  • (2013) Ancient Philosophical Poetics, Cambridge  
  • (2004) Menander: a rhetor in context, Oxford
  • (2002)  Interpreting Classical Texts, London 
  • (1996)  Aristotle: Poetics, Harmondsworth Penguin
  • (1995) Hermogenes On Issues: Strategies of Argument in Later Greek Rhetoric, Oxford
  • (1989) Unity in Greek Poetics, Oxford
  • (1987) Political Comedy in Aristophanes, Göttingen
  • (1987) The Poetics of Greek Tragedy, London

 Recent Articles (since 2008)

  • (2012) 'The ancient sublime', in T.M. Costelloe (ed.), The Sublime: from antiquity to the present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11-23
  • (2011) 'Aristotle and Homer', in M. Finkelberg (ed.), Homer Encyclopaedia, Oxford: Blackwell, 93-6
  • (2011) 'Response to Part II: Discourse', in D. Carter (ed.), Why Athens? A reappraisal of tragic politics,  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 163-71
  • (2009) 'Should there have been a polis in Aristotle's Poetics?', Classical Quarterly 59, 468-85
  • (2009) 'Cognition in Aristotle's Poetics', Mnemosyne 62, 51-75
  • (2009) 'Heraclides of Pontus on Homer', in W.W. Fortenbaugh and E.E. Pender (ed.), Heraclides of Pontus: Discussion, New Brunswick, 251-72
  • (2009) 'Platonists and the teaching of rhetoric in late antiquity', in P. Vassilopoulou and S.R.L. Clark (ed.), Late Antique Epistemology: other ways to truth, London, 143-59
  • (2009) 'Codifications of rhetoric', in E. Gunderson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rhetoric, Cambridge, 59-73
  • (2008) 'Aristotle on natural slavery', Phronesis 53, 243-70
  • (2008) 'The best kind of tragic plot: Aristotle's argument in Poetics 13-14', Anais de Filosofia Clássica 2.3, 1-18
  • (2008) [with M. Jubb and D. Robey] 'E-publication and Open Access in the Arts and Humanities in the UK', Ariadne 54, January

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