Kathy Hannah Eden

Chavkin Family Professor of English Literature

Professor of Classics

(212) 854-6532 ext. 1
401A Philosophy
Office hours: Monday 6:00pm-7:15pm,
Wednesday 2:45pm-4:00pm

Research Interests

  • Ancient and Renaissance Literary Theory
  • Renaissance Humanism
  • History of Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition


Ph.D., Stanford (1980)
B.A., Smith (1974)

Professor Eden began teaching at Columbia in 1980. She studies the history of rhetorical and poetic theory in antiquity, including late antiquity, and the Renaissance, within the larger context of intellectual history and with an emphasis on the problems of reception.

Her books include Poetic and Legal Fiction in The Aristotelian Tradition (Princeton,1986), Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition: Chapters in the Ancient Legacy and its Humanist Reception (New Haven, 1997), and Friends Hold All Things in Common: Tradition, Intellectual Property and the 'Adages' of Erasmus (Yale University Press, forthcoming). Her articles appear in Journal of the History of Ideas, Rhetorica, Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Studies in the Literary Imagination, Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook and Tradition.

Her current project explores epistolary theory and the construction of letter collections in antiquity and the Renaissance. In 1981-82 she received a fellowship from the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. and in 1998-99 a Guggenheim fellowship. In 1998, she won the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates.

Selected Publications

Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition. New Haven: Yale UP, 2005.

Friends Hold All Things in Common: Tradition, Intellectual Property, and the Adages of Erasmus. New Haven: Yale UP, 2001.