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Philologie - Allemagne

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During his stay in Lyon Furley will continue work on editions of Menander, the author of New Comedy, approximately 320-290 BC. Menander's plays have to be recovered from sometimes very fragmentary pieces of papyrus, as they are not contained in any medieval manuscript. Menander was one of the most popular and important writers in antiquity, having written over one hundred plays, which charmed their audiences and readers with their gentle wit, excellent characterization of contemporary Athenians, and reception of tragedy in a new, less serious mode. Furley has already published an edition of Epitrepontes, is now completing one on Perikeiromene (`The Shorn Head'), and at the same time studying the text of Misoumenos (`The Hated Man'). Perikeiromene is the story of a soldier who returns home to Corinth from the wars, to find his beautiful young girl-friend kissing another (it is in fact her brother). In jealous rage, he cuts off all her head-hair. She, offended, moves out; he desperately misses her and regrets his action. The play moves through various tragi-comic scenes to a happy resolution. The work involves restoring the Greek text as well as one can from the papyri, which are often in a very poor condition, then explaining the text and the dramaturgy.

Activités / CV


Born 1953 in London William Furley studied Classics at University College London, where his father, David Furley, had also been a university lecturer in the 'fifties and 'sixties. In 1976 Furley studied for a year in Tübingen, S. Germany, with Konrad Gaiser, before returning to Trinity College Cambridge to study for the PhD, under the supervision of Geoffrey Kirk. Following that Furley returned to Tübingen with his first wife Alexandra, with whom he has two children Bettina and Philip, and worked as a research assistant in the classics department before being appointed as Assistent to Albrecht Dihle at Heidelberg University. There he has stayed, with semesters away for visiting teaching posts at Tübingen, Mannheim, Saarbrücken, till the present, where he is now apl. Professor of Classics at the Seminar für Klassische Philologie. In 2006 he was S.T. Lee Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Classical Studies, London, where he is also Senior Research Fellow. In Heidelberg he has taught on most classical Greek authors and published widely, mainly on various areas of Greek religion and, in the new millennium, Menander, and developed a passion for literary papyrology. Furley is married to Inga Gotsiridze-Furley, from Tbilisi, Georgia. Throughout his career in classics he has also pursued an interest in modern British poetry, with publications, readings in Heidelberg, translations, and the co-editing of a literary magazine.



  • Andokides and the Herms. A Study of Crisis in fifth-century Athenian Religion, London 1996
  • Greek Hymns, in two volumes, with Jan Maarten Bremer, Tübingen 2001 (Edition and commentary on collected Greek religious hymns)
  • Menander, Epitrepontes, London 2009. Edition, translation and Commentary on the play.

Some recent articles or book chapters

  • `Pamphile regains her voice. On the newly published fragments of Menander's Epitrepontes, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 185, 2013, 82-90
  • ‘Homeric and un-Homeric hexameter hymns: a question of type’, in: Andrew Faulkner (ed.), The Homeric Hymns. Interpretative Essays, Oxford 2011, 206-231
  • ‘A lesson to all: Lykurgos’ fate in the Tbilisi hymn (P.Ross.Georg. I.11)’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 162, 2007, 63-84.
  • ‘Thucydides and Religion’, in: A. Rengakos & A. Tsakmakis (Edd.), Brill’s Companion to Thucydides, Leiden 2006, 415-438.
  • ‘Praise and Persuasion in Greek Hymns’, Journal of Hellenic Studies, 115, 1995, 30-47.