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Debbie Felton


(413) 545-5780

533 Herter Hall

Debbie Felton has a B.A. in English & Latin from UCLA and an M.A. in Greek and Ph.D. in Classics from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught at UMass since 1999. The interdisciplinary nature of her research interests has led to her focus on folklore in classical literature, especially anything about the supernatural and monstrous. She has been Editor of the journal Preternature since 2015.

Professor Felton is currently working on two edited volumes: The Oxford Handbook of Monsters in Classical Myth, which includes forty chapters addressing various classical monsters, their interpretations, and their cultural afterlives, and A Cultural History of Monsters in Antiquity (Bloomsbury), a thematically organized volume with chapters covering monsters from the ancient world with regard to cosmologies, geographies, environments, behaviors, and identities. 

Professor Felton enjoys bringing research on classical antiquity into the public sphere. Interviews about her work have appeared in various media (newspapers, radio, tv, blogs, podcasts) in the U.S. and Europe, including Peopling the Past, Coast to Coast AM, The Monster Professor, Weird Tales, CBS Mornings, Classical Wisdom, New Books Network, and Ancient History Fangirl. Professor Felton has also presented webinars for ETC (Excellence through Classics) and a master class on ancient ghosts for SASA (Save Ancient Studies Alliance).

Research Areas

  • Folklore in classical literature
  • Monsters and monstrosity
  • Classical tradition & reception



Recent Articles & Book Chapters

  • "Power: Uses and Abuses of Authority in Ancient Tales." In A Cultural History of Fairy Tales in Antiquity. D. Felton, ed. (Bloomsbury 2021: 169–89). 
  • "Monsters and the Monstrous: Ancient Expressions of Cultural Anxieties." In A Cultural History of Fairy Tales in Antiquity. D. Felton, ed. (Bloomsbury 2021: 109–30).
  • "Brigands and Cruel Kings." In The Oxford Handbook of Heracles. D. Ogden, ed. (OUP 2021: 183–97).
  • "Monsters and Fear of Highway Travel in Ancient Greece and Rome." In Monster Anthropology. Y. Musharbash and G.H. Presterudstuen, eds. (Bloomsbury 2019: 9–44). 
  • "Dread of Daimones in (Ancient) Urban Spaces." In Landscapes of Dread in Classical Antiquity. D. Felton, ed. (Routledge 2018: 209–25).

Awards and Accolades

  • Public Engagement Project Fellowship, 2023
  • Student Centered Teaching and Learning Fellowship, TEFD, 2015–16
  • Provost’s Exceptional Merit Award for Teaching, 2014–15
  • CAMWS Award for Excellence in College Teaching, 2013–14
  • CHFA Outstanding Teacher Award, 2012–13

Courses Recently Taught

  • Classics 250: Medical Terminology
  • Classics 330: Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean World
  • Classics 381: Fairy Tales in the Ancient World
  • Latin 460: Apuleius ("Cupid & Psyche")
  • Latin 462: Classical and Medieval Latin Ghost Stories
  • Greek 452: Herodotus
  • Greek 474: Ancient Greek Ghost Stories