Dr Gagné is a reader in Classics at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Pembroke College. His research interests include early Greek poetry, Greek religion, Greek drama, cultural history and the history of classical scholarship.

The main focus of his writing during his fellowship will be the monograph Hyperborea: Excursions Through the Overnorth. “The Hyperboreans, like the Grail, have slithered like eels across the centuries”, writes Umberto Eco in The Book of Legendary Lands (London 2013). In contrast to the Grail, however, the immensely rich record of the long trajectories of the Hyperborean idea has barely been scratched by scholarship. Hyperborea is arguably one of the most significant utopian spaces of European culture, certainly the one with the lengthiest history, and to retrace its progress is to uncover a point of entry into the live dynamics of Western cultural imagination. A continuous chain of rewritings can be followed without interruption from the early Archaic Greek poetry of the 7th century BCE to the deadly fantasies of 20th-century CE northern racism. The long cultural history of that ancient trope opens a precious window into the continuities and disruptions of a core tradition that never ceased to inform powerful discourses about centre and periphery, identity, origins, and cultural authority.

Dr Renaud Gagné is also one of the Directors of The History of Cross Cultural Comparatism project based at CRASSH and a co-convenor of the associated Sawyer Seminars.


Books and edited volumes

▪ Ancestral Fault in Ancient Greece, Cambridge University Press (2013).

Sacrifices humains: Perspectives croisées et représentations (co-edited with Pierre Bonnechere), Liège: Presses Universitaires de Liège (Collection Religions: Comparatisme – Histoire – Anthropologie) (2013).

Choral Mediations in Greek Tragedy (co-edited with Marianne Hopman), Cambridge University Press (2013).

Articles and chapters

▪ “What is the Pride of Halicarnassus?” Classical Antiquity 25.1 (2006): 1-33.

▪ “L’esthétique de la peur chez Empédocle,” Revue de philosophie ancienne 24.3 (2006): 83-110.

▪ “Inherited Guilt in E. R. Dodds,” Quaderni di storia 67 (2007): 16-33.

▪ “Winds and Ancestors: The Physika of Orpheus,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 103 (2007): 1-24.

▪ “The Sins of the Fathers: C.A. Lobeck and K.O. Müller,” Kernos: Revue internationale et pluridisciplinaire de religion grecque ancienne 21 (2008): 109-124.

▪ “Themis at Eleusis: Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 2.22.5” (with M. Herrero), Classical Quarterly 59.1 (2008): 270-274.

▪ “Spilling the Sea Out of its Cup: Solon's Elegy to the Muses,” Quaderni urbinati di cultura classica133 (2009): 23-49.

▪ “Atreid Ancestors in Alkaios,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 129 (2009): 39-43.

▪ “A Wolf at the Table: Sympotic Perjury in Archilochus,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 139.2 (2009): 249-272.

▪ “Mystery Inquisitors: Performance, Sacrilege, and Authority at Eleusis,” Classical Antiquity 28.2 (2009): 211-247.

▪ “Works and Nights” (with R. Höschele), Cambridge Classical Journal 55 (2009): 59-72.

▪ “Invisible Kin: Works and Days 280-285 and the Myth of Races,” Hermes. Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie 138.1 (2010): 1-21.

▪ “The Poetics of Exoleia in Homer,” MnemosyneA Journal of Classical Studies 62 (2010): 353-380.

▪ “Haereditarium Piaculum: Aspects of Ancient Greek Religion in the 17th Century,” Gewalt und Opfer. Im Dialog mit Walter Burkert, ed. A. Bierl and W. Braungart, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter (MEP 2) (2011): 115-148.

▪ “Une carte de mémoires: l'épigramme de Salmacis,” Griechische Heiligtümer als Erinnerungsorte. Von der Archaik bis den Hellenismus, ed. M. Haake and M. Jung, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag (2012): 129-163.

▪ “Poétiques de la chrèsmodie: l'oracle de Glaukos (Hérodote 6.86),” Manteia. Pratiques et imaginaire de la divination grecque antique, ed. Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge, Liège: Supplément Kernos (2013).

▪ “Zeus Laphystios and Athamas (Herodotus 7.197),” Sacrifices humains: Perspectives croisées et représentations, ed. P. Bonnechere and R. Gagné, Liège (2013).

▪ “The Chorus in the Middle” (with M. Hopman), Choral Mediations in Greek Tragedy, ed. R. Gagné and M. Hopman, Cambridge University Press (2013).

▪ “Dancing Letters: The Alphabetic Tragedy of Kallias,” Choral Mediations in Greek Tragedy, ed. R. Gagné and M. Hopman, Cambridge University Press (2013).

▪ “The World in a Cup: Ekpomatics In and Out of the Symposium,” The Cup of Song: Ancient Greek Poetry and the Symposium, ed. V. Cazzato, D. Obbink, and E. Prodi, Oxford University Press (forthcoming).


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk