David F. Elmer

Curriculum Vitae

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where I began studying Greek and Latin as a student at St. Ignatius High School. I received my BA summa cum laude in Classics from Harvard College in 1998.

After graduating from college, I spent some ten months in 1998-1999 conducting research in Zagreb, Croatia, where I enjoyed an affiliation with the Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku and benefited from the advice and mentorship of Dr. Tanja Perić-Polonijo. 

I returned to Harvard in the fall of 1999 to pursue a PhD in Comparative Literature, and was awarded the degree in June 2005.

From 2005-2008 I was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. Since 2000 I have served as Assistant Curator, and subsequently as Associate Curator and Curator, of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. I have been a faculty member in the Department of the Classics since 2007.

My current research covers three major fields of interest: the Homeric poems, the ancient novel, and South Slavic oral epic song. I have published articles on these subjects in the journals Classical Antiquity, Classical Philology, Transactions of the American Philological Association, Oral Tradition, and the Journal of American Folklore. My book, The Poetics of Consent: Collective Decision-Making and the Iliad (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), discusses the Iliad's representation of politics as a figure for the formation and reception of the Iliadic tradition. Current projects include a commentary on Iliad Books 5-8 and a monograph on collective memory in the Odyssey. I am also the editor of the open-access journal Oral Tradition.