Phoebe Salzman-Cohen

Graduate Student  



  • Homeric epic

  • Fantastic narratives

  • Greek tragedy

  • Literary theory

  • Media studies


Phoebe received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from The University of Chicago in 2015. Her honors thesis focused upon the development of fictional rules within the Iliad in relationship to similar rules governing modern fantasy literature, particularly in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. She received her master’s degree in comparative literature at Penn State (2017). Her master’s thesis used the watchman of Aeschylus’s Agamemnon as a framing device for thinking about maps in fantasy literature, and included the Shield of Achilles as a case study along with Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea and other works of fantasy.

At Columbia, Phoebe plans to continue researching Homeric epic and fantastic worlds within classics and beyond. She is also interested in Greek tragedy and poetry more broadly, and hopes to expand into working with more prose writers, particularly Herodotus and Lucian. Her research questions often focus on the role of the wondrous and strange, narrative construction, affect, and the development of setting. Wherever possible, Phoebe tries to bring together her classical interests with her interests in modern fantasy and science fiction across literature, comics, and other media. The meeting of these two fields tends to generate the questions that excite her most.

Whenever she has time, Phoebe reads books and comics as fast as possible, and writes fantasy stories and book reviews. She is also an avid game player, and particularly enjoys tabletop role-playing games, board games, and bridge.