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Debbie Felton


(413) 545-5780

533 Herter Hall

Debbie Felton has degrees in English from UCLA (B.A. 1986) and in Classics from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.A. 1990, Ph.D. 1995). She has taught at UMass since 1999. Her main research interest is folklore in classical literature, with particular attention to the supernatural and the monstrous. She is Editor of the journal Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural (Penn State Press) and has served as Associate Review Editor for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts for many years. 


Research Areas

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



Recent Articles & Book Chapters

  • "Dread of Daimones in (Ancient) Urban Spaces." Chapter 10 in Landscapes of Dread in Classical Antiquity. Edited by D. Felton (Routledge 2018, pp. 209-225).
  • “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.” Chapter 9 in The Ancient Emotion of Disgust. Edited by Dimos Spatharas and Donald Lateiner (Oxford University Press 2016, pp. 189-201). 
  • “Thigh Wounds in Homer and Vergil: Cultural Reality and Literary Metaphor.” Chapter 14 in Resemblance, Reality, and Tradition in Greek Thought. Edited by Arum Park (Routledge 2016, pp. 239-58). 
  • “The Motif of the ‘Mutilated Hero’ in Herodotus.” Phoenix 68.1-2 (2014): 47-61.
  • “Apuleius’ Cupid Considered as a Lamia (Metamorphoses 5.17-18).” Illinois Classical Studies 38 (2013): 229-44.
  • “Were Vergil’s Harpies Menstruating?” The Classical Journal 108.4 (2013): 405-18.
  • “Monstrosity or Disability? Ancient Accounts of Accelerated Ageing.” Folklore 123.3 (2012): 355-61.
  • “Rejecting and Embracing the Monstrous in Ancient Greece and Rome.” In The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous, edited by Asa Simon Mittman and Peter J. Dendle (Ashgate Press, UK 2012 pp. 103-31). 

Awards and Accolades

  • Student Centered Teaching and Learning (SCTL) Fellowship, UMass Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development (TEFD), 2015-16
  • UMass Amherst Provost’s Exceptional Merit Award for Teaching, 2014-15
  • Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) Award for Excellence in College Teaching, 2013-14
  • UMass Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts Outstanding Teacher Award, 2012-13

Courses Recently Taught

  • Classics 224: Classical Mythology
  • 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: The Roman Novel (Apuleius, Cupid & Psyche)
  • Greek 126: Intensive Elementary Ancient Greek
  • Greek 452: Herodotus
  • Greek 475: Lucian