Williams, Hamish

Hamish Williams Foto: privat


Hamish Williams holds a PhD in Classical Philology from the University of Cape Town (2017), with a particular focus on ancient epic.

From October 2019 to September 2021, he is pursuing a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Department of English and American Studies at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. His project is focused on English novelist and scholar J.R.R. Tolkien. Previously, he has taught International Studies at Leiden University.


Recent Academic Publications Inhalt einblenden

Tolkien and the Classical World, Part 1 & 2 (ed.), volume for Cormarë Series, Walking Tree Publishers. (Individual authored chapters: 1.1, 2.1 Introduction; 1.2 Tolkien as Classicist: Scholar and Thinker).

2019/2020. “One Must Tread the Path That Need Chooses”: The Choice of Need in Tolkien’s Moria Sequence, under review at Hither Shore.

“Hercules the Grocer?”: Low-Key Humor in The Twelve Tasks of Asterix. Humor 32.4: in print

Acts of Eating in the Apologue: Destruction and Delay. Hermes 147.1: 3-20

Tolkien’s Trolls: Intertextuality in ‘Roast Mutton’ and Monstrous Incarnations after The Hobbit. Lembas Extra 2019: The World Tolkien Built, R. Vink (ed.). Tolkien Genootschap Unquendor. 111-127

Mountain People in Middle-Earth: Ecology and the Primitive. Sub-Creating Arda: World-Building in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Work, its Precursors, and its Legacies, T. Honegger and D. Fimi (eds.). Cormarë Series No. 40. Zurich and Jena: Walking Tree Publishers. 285-311

Polymetic Heroism in the Wanderings of Odysseus, Odyssey 9-12 (the Apologue). Akroterion 63: 1-20

Mountains in the Apologue: Figures of Isolation in Society, Space, and Time. Scripta Classica Israelica 37: 69-91

Caradhras: Savage Nature Warrior, Servant of Sauron, or Character Projection? A Spatial Study of a Mountain in The Fellowship of the Ring. Lembas 183: 181-188

“Home is Behind, the World Ahead”: Reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit as a Story of Xenia or Homeric Hospitality. Rewriting the Ancient World: Greeks, Romans, Jews and Christians in Modern Popular Fiction, L. Maurice (ed.). Leiden: Brill. 174-197

Between Exile and Hospitality: The Figure of the Xenos in Tolkien’s Faërie. Tolkien Among Scholars: Lembas Extra 2016, N. Kuijpers, R. Vink, and C. van Zon (eds.). Tolkien Genootschap Unquendor. 177-190

Rediscovering the Creative Bard (‘Aoidos’): Some Observations into the Artistic Impact of Images, Eikones, upon the Narrative of Homer’s Odyssey IX-XII. Song and Emergent Poetics / Laulu ja runo / Песня и видоизменяющаяся поэтика, P. Huttu-Hitunen (ed.). Kuhmo: Juminkeko. 257-267

Role-Playing in Horace’s Ars Poetica: Some Observations into Empathetic Discourse in the Language of the Horatian Teacher Persona. Latomus 73.4: 1060-1063

Shattering Tradition: A Rejection of Analysis by Genre in Horace’s Ars Poetica. Akroterion 58: 61-77

Essays in Society Magazines, Blogs, etc Inhalt einblenden

Classics in Tolkien and Lewis. Lembas 187: 235-236

Tolkien and the Classics. Classical Reception Studies Network. https://classicalreception.org/tolkien-and-the-classics/

The Hospitality Quest: The Homeric Odyssey and Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Fantastische Antike – Antikenrezeption in Science Fiction, Horror und Fantasy. http://fantastischeantike.de/the-hospitality-quest-the-homeric-odyssey-and-tolkiens-the-hobbit-gastbeitrag-hamish-williams/

Research  Areas and Interests

Ancient Epic Inhalt einblenden

My doctoral project (2013-2017) involved a study of the Apologue (Book 9-12) of Homer’s Odyssey; in particular, I was interested in studying the connotations of repeated figures in these seemingly supernatural chapters of the Greek epic, with the goal of showing the cultural relevance of narratives of fantasy and escape (entailing topics such as hospitality, heroism, and cultural space). The outputs of this project have been realised through the published dissertation and various journal articles.

Classical Reception Inhalt einblenden

One of my current postdoctoral projects (2014-current) involves the study of the Classical influences in the writings of English novelist and academic J.R.R. Tolkien. The major output of this project will be realised through the publication of two volumes on Tolkien and the Classical World (expected publication, Autumn/Winter 2020).

Modern Fantasy Inhalt einblenden

Apart from the study of Classical influences in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, I am also interested in several other topics in his works, including spatial analyses of his cultural landscapes (particularly, mountains and the sea), the intersection of the Classical with other later traditions in his writings, and the exploration of certain philosophical and political ideas in his works (articulations of happiness/joy, liberalism/libertarianism, and free choice). The outputs of this project will be realised through a monograph (projected publication 2021/2022).

Popular Fiction and Culture Inhalt einblenden

Apart from the above work, I am always interested in collaborative projects on other twentieth century fantasy writers (C.S. Lewis, J.K Rowling), creatives who have drawn on Greco-Roman myths (such as Mary Renault) or history (such as Goscinny), and other Modernist writers in the ‘heroic mould’ (such as Ernest Hemingway).

Hamish Williams, Dr.
Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow
+49 3641 9-44593
Raum 621
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 8
07743 Jena
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