Department of the Classics
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Alexander Riehle is a scholar of medieval Greek (or Byzantine) literature. In particular, he is interested in the interface between the field of textual production and consumption on the one hand, and social institutions and dynamics on the other. He has thus worked and published on epistolary communication; patronage and networks of educated elites; rhetorical education, performance and self-representation; and aspects of gender in Byzantine literature (particularly, women’s writing).
His first monograph will be devoted to the correspondence of the late Byzantine statesman and intellectual Nikephoros Choumnos (d. 1327)―an important representative of the so-called “Palaiologan Renaissance”. Besides a critical edition and translation of the letters, this book will comprise a thorough reassessment of Choumnos’ biography and studies on various aspects of his correspondence, including a discussion of the historical context of each letter, and a reconstruction of the formation and narrative composition of the extant letter collections. Alexander is also the editor of the forthcoming Brill Companion to Byzantine Epistolography, which approaches the culture of Byzantine letter-writing from a variety of socio-historical and literary perspectives, and places it in a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary context. Other (co-)edited volumes include a collection of essays on late Byzantine history and culture in honor of Franz Tinnefeld (Koinotaton doron, De Gruyter, 2016) and a dictionary of Byzantine authors (De Gruyter, forthcoming).
Alexander holds a MA and PhD in Byzantine Studies from LMU Munich. He was a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. in 2009/10 and a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in 2016. Before joining Harvard’s Department of the Classics, he taught Byzantine literature at the University of Vienna for five years. Visiting teaching appointments have brought him to Central European University (Budapest), the University of Patras, and Masaryk University (Brno).