Photo of Yukai Li

Yukai Li

Instructor II

Degrees:A.B. (Princeton), M.St. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Yale)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2524
Office:2A56 Paterson Hall
Office Hours:


I finished my Ph. D. in Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale after studying at Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Magdalen, Oxford. I am a returning Canadian, having also lived in the US, the UK, and China.

Research interests

I work between classical studies, literary theory, and continental philosophy. My current book project is an extensive synthesis and reevaluation of the past century of Homeric scholarship, in particular a radical continuation of the theory of orality. Based on my dissertation, “Being late and being mistaken in the Homeric tradition,” it reconceives the notion of tradition as it relates to the Homeric poems through close readings in the Iliad and Odyssey, Homeric scholarship, and modern literature. I am also working on articles on Hellenistic poetry, painting, and marginality.

2020/2021 Courses


CLCV 2008A  Greek and Roman Epic
CLCV 2902A  History of Ancient Greece I
GREK 1005A  Introduction to Greek I


CLCV 2010A  Greek and Roman Drama
CLCV 2903A  History of Ancient Greece II
GREK 1006A  Introduction to Greek II

Publications and presentations

Under review

A Song to Come: Time and kleos in the Homeric Tradition (book manuscript)

“The ontological problems of pastoral, or, what is missing in Theocritus and how to find it in the Iliad.”


2019: “The distraction of pastoral and Theocritus’ painted world.” Classical Philology 114. 3: 383-405.

2018: “The silence of the muse.” Arethusa 51. 2: 91-115.

Book review

Review of Grethlein, J. 2017. Die Odyssee: Homer und die Kunst des Erzählens. München. Journal of Hellenic Studies 139: 233-234.

Selected recent presentations

2020: “Ekphrasis and the ontological problem of pastoral” (Classical Association of the Middle West and South)

2018: “Repeating difference and Homeric identity” (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

“The cyclops and the child: fiction and distraction in Theocritus and French painting” (University of Guelph)

2017: “The will of Zeus and the time of the Iliad” (Society for Classical Studies)