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Debbie Felton

Professor | Undergraduate Program Director

(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, with particular attention to the supernatural and the monstrous. She has been Editor of the journal Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural (Penn State Press) since 2015, and has served as Associate Review Editor for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts for many years.

Professor Felton's current main project involves editing and contributing to The Oxford Handbook of Monsters in Classical Myth, which includes forty chapters addressing various classical monsters, their interpretations, and their cultural afterlives.


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).
  • “The Fermi Paradox, Bayes’ Rule, and Existential Risk Management.” By James D. Miller and D. Felton. Futures 86 (2017): 44-57.
  • “Witches, Disgust, and Anti-Abortion Propaganda in Imperial Rome.” In The Ancient Emotion of Disgust. D. Spatharas and D. Lateiner, eds. (OUP 2016: 189-201). 
  • “Thigh Wounds in Homer and Vergil: Cultural Reality and Literary Metaphor.” In Resemblance, Reality, and Tradition in Greek ThoughtA. Park, ed. (Routledge 2016: 239-58). 

Awards and Accolades

  • 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: Western Medicine and Medical Terminology
  • Classics 330: Witchcraft and Magic in the Greek and Roman Worlds
  • Classics 494PI: Herodotus and the Persian Wars
  • Latin 460: Apuleius ("Cupid & Psyche")
  • Latin 462: Classical and Medieval Latin Ghost Stories
  • Greek 452/696: Herodotus
  • Greek 475: Lucian ("A True Story")