Michelle Zerba

Michelle  Zerba 

Maggie B. Martin Professor of Rhetoric and Classical Studies

Bachelor's Degree(s): 1975 University of California, Irvine, English and Classics
Master's Degree: 1977 University of California, Berkeley, Comparative Literature
PhD: 1982 University of California, Berkeley, Comparative Literature
Phone: (225) 578-3048

E-mail: mzerba@michellezerba.com

Office: 223-E Allen Hall




Michelle Zerba has taught in the Department of Classics at the University of Michigan and currently holds a split position in the Departments of English and Foreign Languages (Classics) at Louisiana State University.  In addition, she teaches regularly in the Honors College and is an active member of the Program in Comparative Literature.  She has traveled widely in the Mediterranean and has directed study abroad programs in Greece and Turkey.

Area of Interest

Greek and Latin Language and literature; rhetoric; early modern studies, especially Shakespeare; political theory; history of scepticism.

Selected Publications


Doubt and Skepticism in Antiquity and the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 2012; ISBN: 9781107024656)

Tragedy and Theory:  The Problem of Conflict Since Aristotle (Princeton University Press, 1988; reissued paperback and e-book 2014)

Articles (selected)

"Reflections on Skepticism in Homer's Odyssey and the Poetry of C.P. Cavafy" (forthcoming Comparative Literature, summer 2015)

“What Penelope Knew: Skepticism and Doubt in Homer’s Odyssey,” Classical Quarterly

“Odyssean Charisma and the Uses of Persuasion,” American Journal of Philology

“Modalities of Tragic Doubt in Homer’s Odyssey, Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and Shakespeare’s Othello,” Comparative Literature

“The Frauds of Humanism:  Cicero, Machiavelli, and the Rhetoric of Imposture,” Rhetorica

“Love, Envy, and Pantomimic Morality in Cicero’s De Oratore,” Classical Philology

Work in Progress

Co-editor, special edition of Comparative Literature: Odyssey, Exile, Return.

Co-editor, Norton Critical Edition of Aristotle's Poetics.