707 S Mathews Ave
Urbana, IL 61801
My research incorporates a variety of humanistic interests ranging from classical philology to medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque adaptations of the classics to contemporary cinema. Examples of the first began with my dissertation on ancient Greek music theory, continued with papyrological and epigraphical studies of fragments and newly discovered ancient Greek music, and culminated with a book-length translation and commentary on Harmonics by Claudius Ptolemy. I have also published several articles on ancient Greek poetry, including metrical and grammatical exegeses of Hesiod and Sophocles, and an essay on the Polyphemus episode in Homer's Odyssey. Many years ago I made several excursions into ancient Greek medicine, helping to identify "The Thucydides Syndrome" in the New England Journal of Medicine and for the Centers for Disease Control, and into ancient cookery, publishing a cookbook and several articles about Roman sauces and pastry. My The Ancient World in the Cinema helped create a new subfield of classical studies and pedagogy. From there I made an excursion into a different area of popular culture and wrote a complete filmography of The Three Stooges [!]. Since 2001 I have written a number of chapters in anthologies and journals on such modern films as Gladiator, Troy, and Alexander.
Currently I am preparing Volumes II and III of my edition and translation of Boccaccio's Genealogy of the Pagan Gods for Harvard University Press. Volume I was published in 2011. I have now completed a study of Ben-Hur as the prototype for American consumerism and synergy between popular art and business. It was published by Edinburgh University Press in May, 2016. I am revising a multi-volume book manuscript surveying the classical tradition in opera. And I am constantly collecting examples of classical allusions in contemporary cinema.
Additional Campus Affiliations
Robert D. Novak Chair, Classics
Professor, Program in Medieval Studies
Professor, Media and Cinema Studies
Solomon, J. (2021). Comparing the reception of Quo vadis and Ben-Hur in the United States, 1896-1913. In The Novel of Neronian Rome and its Multimedial Transformations: Sienkiewicz’s Quo vadis (pp. 87-104). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198867531.003.0006
Solomon, J. (2018). Hercules and the Millennial Generation. In A. Augoustakis, & S. Raucci (Eds.), Epic Heroes on Screen Edinburgh University Press. https://doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9781474424516.003.0002
Solomon, J. (Ed.) (2017). Giovanni Boccaccio: Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, Vol. 2. (The I Tatti Renaissance Library). Harvard University Press.
Solomon, J. (2016). Ben-Hur: The original blockbuster. Edinburgh University Press.
Solomon, J. (2016). Coda: A timeline of Ben-Hur companies, brands, and products. In Bigger Than Ben-Hur: The Book, Its Adaptations, and Their Audiences (pp. 191-212). Syracuse University Press.