Classical Studies Professor Receives Prestigious Humanities Fellowship

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Jun. 21, 2013

Classical Studies Professor Receives Prestigious Humanities Fellowship

American Council of Learned Societies awards fellowship to associate professor Corinne Pache for research on the figure of Penelope from Homer’s The Odyssey

By Russell Guerrero '83

Corinne PacheSAN ANTONIO - Corinne Pache, associate professor of classical studies at Trinity University, has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, a federation of national scholarly organizations dedicated to the advancement of scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences.

Pache will use the year-long fellowship–which begins in the fall–to research the modern reception in literature and film of Penelope, Odysseus' wife from Homer's The Odyssey.

Penelope is both a marginal and central character in The Odyssey because she is a woman, says Pache. "On the one hand, as a woman, she has to stay at home and doesn't have a lot of activities she can do. Still, she succeeds in directing the narrative with her weaving," Pache said. "She tricks her suitors by weaving by day and unweaving by night."

Penelope is also a central character because Odysseus needs her to be faithful in order to make it back home. "The other thing that is really interesting about Penelope is that Homer describes her as extremely cunning but at the same time extremely cautious. So you never really know what she thinks," Pache said. "She is a bit of a cypher."

Pache said she will explore how these characteristics of Penelope have been used as inspiration in several works of modern literature and film, from the book Ulysses by James Joyce to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? by Joel and Ethan Coen.

At Trinity, Pache teaches several courses, including Elementary Greek I & II, Epic Journeys, and Daily Life in Ancient Greek. She is also director of Trinity's Huma 1600 program, "Readings from Western Cultures." Huma 1600 introduces first-year students to the fundamental texts in the history of Western culture, from Homer to Saint Augustine.

-Russell Guerrero '83 is the public information officer at Trinity. He can be reached at