Marlboro’s latest classics fellow, Henner Petin comes directly from his MPhil in Classics at Kings College, Cambridge. A native of Germany, he has spent the last eight years of his education in England, where he felt encouraged to pursue his passion for classics. “The chance to teach the languages and literatures of antiquity to open-minded students is a great opportunity to allow others to develop their own unique relationship with classics in the way that my teachers have allowed me the same” Henner says. “It is also a chance to explore and take further some of my reflections about the future of classics as a discipline, which we have a constant obligation to challenge and re-frame in our own time.” He is especially interested in providing a teaching space in which self-reflective questions take a prominent place, such as: “Why do we think about antiquity at all?“ and “What does our fascination with the Greeks and Romans say about our own culture?“
Henner has particular interests in the study of Greek poetry, especially tragedy and relevant aspects of literary and cultural theory, as well as the study of Greek literature alongside modern anthropology. His MPhil dissertation considers Euripides’ Ion and the question how tragedy as a medium is uniquely suited to what might be called “myth-making.” Here and elsewhere, Henner‘s work has been particularly inspired by the ideas of French anthropologist René Girard. His undergraduate thesis uses Girard’s ideas to challenge the conventional interpretation of Aeschylus’ Oresteiaas as a straightforward celebration of democracy prevailing over primitive customs.