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Dr Paula James

Paula James photo

Profile summary

Research interests

Current work:

Reception of Classical imagery in the art of the nineteenth-century labour movement.
I am internationally known for my work on Apuleius Latin prose narrative, The Golden Ass and contributing to the Blackwell Companion to the Ancient Novel.

Reception of Classical Texts: Pygmalion's Ivory Maiden: Beautiful and Baneful Synthetic Women in 20th-century Cinema.

Books (authored):

Ovid’s Myth of Pygmalion on Screen: In Pursuit of the Perfect Woman, Continuum Publishing, London 201)ISBN 9781441184665. (paperback with Bloomsbury, Spring 2013)

The Role of the Parrot in Selected Texts from Ovid to Jean Rhys, coedited with Julia Courtney and author of two chapters on parrots in Latin Literature and the parrot Coco in Wide Sargasso Sea. Edwin Mellen Press, Lampeter, November 2006.)

Teach Yourself Roman Civilisation. 195pp. Hodder and Stoughton. London 1999.

Unity in Diversity: a study of Apuleius' Metamorphoses. 272pp. Altertums Wissenschaftliche Texte und Studien. Olms, Hildesheim.1987.

Chapters in Books

'Kiss Me Deadly (1955) the Myth of Pandora and Prometheus in Aldrich's cinematic subversion of Spillane.' in Monica Cyrino (ed.), Oysters and Snails: Screening Love and Sex in the Ancient World. Forthcoming 2013, Palgrave MacMillan (Media, Film and Theater Studies).

Paula James & A. Ravenhill-Johnson (eds.) Emblems of Hope: essays in the art and ideology of Trade Union imagery, 1850-1925. Paula James has been leader on this research project and has edited the volume, contributing two chapters. Spring 2013, Anthem Press.

‘Crossing classical thresholds: Gods, Monsters and Hellmouths in the Whedon Universe,’ in Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture, D.Lowe, K.Shahabudin, edd. (2009) Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 237-260.

‘Ritualistic Behaviour in The Wicker Man: A classical and carnivalesque perspective on the true nature of sacrifice’ in The Quest for the Wicker Man: History Folklore and Pagan Perspectives B.Franks, S.Harper, J. Murray, L.Stevenson, edd. Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2006.

‘To Baldly Go: a Last Look at Lucius and his Counter Humiliation Strategies’ with Maeve O’Brien in Lectiones Scrupulosae (essays on text and interpretation in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses) Ancient Narrative, suppl. 6. W.H.Keulen, R.R.Nauta, S.Panayotakis edd. Groningen 2006.

‘What Lies Beneath: Fluid Subtexts in Ovid’s Metamorphoses,’ 1-20, in Metamorphic Reflections: Essays presented to Ben Hijmans on his 75th birthday. M.Zimmerman, R.Van der Paardt, edd. Peeters, Leuwen 2004.

‘Keeping Apuleius in the Picture: A dialogue between Buñuel’s Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and the Metamorphoses of Apuleius’, 185-207, in Ancient Narrative. Vol. 1. Groningen. 2000-2001.

‘From Prologue to Story: Metaphor and Narrative Construction in the Opening of the Metamorphoses’, 256-266, in Companion to the Prologue to Apuleius' Metamorphoses. A.Kahane, A.Laird edd. Oxford University Press. 2001.

‘The Language of Dissent’, 277-304, in Experiencing Rome:Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire. J.Huskinson ed. Routledge London & New York. 2000.

‘Prudentius' Psychomachia: The Christian Arena and the Politics of Display’, 70-94 in Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity. (Routledge Classical Monographs) R.Miles ed. Routledge, London & New York. 1999.

‘Quasi Homo: Distortion and Contortion in Seneca's Apocolocyntosis’ with Susanna Morton Braund, 285-312 in Arethusa vol.31.3. Vile Bodies: Roman Satire and Corporeal Discourse. B.K.Gold, S.Morton-Braund edd. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 1998.

‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Levis Amor in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius', ‘35-50 in Aspects of Apuleius' Golden Ass (Vol.2) Cupid and Psyche. M.Zimmerman, H.Hoffman edd. Egbert Forsten, Groningen. 1998.

‘Taceat Superata Vetustas: Living Legends in Claudian's In Rufinum 1’, 151-176 in The Propaganda Of Power: The Role of Panegyric in Late Antiquity. (Mnemosyne Suppl.) Mary Whitby ed. Leiden Brill, Boston, Cologne.1998.


Articles in refereed journals:

‘Crises of Identity in Ovid's Metamorphoses’, 17-25, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 33 1986

‘Cupid at Work and at Play’, 113-122, Groningen Colloquia on the Novel Vol.1 1988.

‘Pentheus Anguigena: Sins of the Father’, 81-93, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 38 1991-1993.

‘Fool's Gold: Renaming the Ass’, 155-172, Groningen Colloquia on the Novel Vol IV.1991

‘Kicking the Habit: the Significance of Consuetudo in interpreting the Fable of Cupid and Psyche’, 152-168, Ramus vol.30.No.2. 2001.

‘She’s All That: Ovid’s Ivory Statue and the Legacy of Pygmalion on Film’, 63-86, The Classical Bulletin. Vol.79. No.1. 2003.

‘Making the Most of Marsyas’, 75-104, with Andrew Feldherr, Arethusa. vol. 37. 2004.

‘Real and Metaphorical Speaking Birds in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius’, in The Novel as Metaphor and Metaphor in the Novel (Ancient Narrative Series) S.J.Harrison, M.Paschalis, S.Frangoulidis edd. Groningen 2004.

Conference Publications:

‘Inheritors of the Shield: an Homeric Mise en Abyme’, 196-217, in The Reception of Classical Texts and Images. (Part Two: From Medieval to Modern Reception) L.Hardwick, S.Ireland edd. Open University 1996.



Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Classical Reception Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Arts
Gender in the Humanities Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Greek and Latin Texts ClusterClusterFaculty of Arts
The Arts and their Audiences Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Arts


Classical Drama at a Distance: Teaching Performance Reception in an Online Environment (2018)
Bakogianni, Anastasia and James, Paula
Classical World, 112(1) (pp. 707-725)

Book Review: Literature and Identity in The Golden Ass of Apuleius (2014)
James, Paula
Ancient Narrative, 11 (pp. 229-236)

How classical is Ariadne's parrot? Southall's painting and its literary registers (2010)
James, P.
Ramus, 39(1) (pp. 53-72)

Paideia at Play: Learning and Wit in Apuleius - Reviewed by Paula James (2009)
James, Paula
Ancient Narrative, 8, (pp. 167-179)

R.May. Apuleius and drama: The Ass on stage (2007-07-20)
James, Paula
Ancient Narrative, 6

Making the most of Marsyas (2004-01)
Feldherr, Andrew and James, Paula
Arethusa, 37(1) (pp. 75-104)

She's All That: Ovid's ivory statue and the legacy of Pygmalion on film (2003)
James, Paula
Classical Bulletin, 79(1) (pp. 63-91)

Kicking the Habit:the Significance of Consuetudo in interpreting the Fable of Cupid and Psyche (2001)
James, Paula
Ramus, 30(2) (pp. 152-168)

The Art and Ideology of the Trade Union Emblem, 1850-1925 (2013-06)
Ravenhill-Johnson, Annie and James, Paula
ISBN : 9780857285300 | Publisher : Anthem Press | Published : London

Ovid's Myth of Pygmalion on Screen: In Pursuit of the Perfect Woman (2011-10-06)
James, Paula
Continuum Studies in Classical Reception
ISBN : 9781441184665 | Publisher : Continuum | Published : London

Hercules as a Symbol of Labour: A Nineteenth-century Class-conflicted Hero (2015)
James, Paula
In: Stead, Henry and Hall, Edith eds. Greek and Roman classics in the British struggle for social reform. Bloomsbury Studies in Classical Reception (pp. 138-154)
ISBN : 978-1-4725-8426-7 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London, New York

Kiss Me Deadly (1955): Pandora and Prometheus in Robert Aldrich's cinematic subversion of Spillane (2013-01-30)
James, P.
In: Cyrino, Monica S. ed. Screening Love and Sex in the Ancient World (pp. 25-38)
ISBN : 978-1-137-29959-8 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK

Crossing classical thresholds: Gods, monsters and Hell dimensions in the Whedon universe (2009-01)
James, Paula
In: Lowe, Dunstan and Shahabudin, Kim eds. Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture (pp. 237-260)
ISBN : 9781443801201 | Publisher : Cambridge Scholars Publishing | Published : Cambridge, UK

To baldly go: a last look at Lucius and his counter-humiliation strategies (2006-05)
James, Paula and O'Brien, Maeve
In: Keulen, W.H.; Nauta, R.R. and Panayotakis, S. eds. Lectiones Scrupulosae: Essays on the Text and Interpretation of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses in Honour of Maaike Zimmerman. Ancient Narrative Series (Supplement) (pp. 234-251)
ISBN : 9077922164 | Publisher : Barkhuis Publishing | Published : Groningen, Netherlands

Ritualistic behaviour in THE WICKER MAN: a classical and carnivalesque perspective on the 'true nature of sacrifice' (2006)
James, Paula
In: Franks, Benjamin; Harper, Stephen; Murray, Jonathan and Stevenson, Lesley eds. The Quest for the Wicker Man: history, folklore and Pagan perspectives (pp. 44-55)
ISBN : 1905222181 | Publisher : Luath Press | Published : Edinburgh

Real and metaphorical mimicking birds in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius (2005)
James, Paula
In: Harrison, Stephen; Paschalis, Michael and Frangoulidis, Stavros eds. Metaphor in the Ancient Novel. Ancient narrative (Suppementu) (pp. 210-224)
ISBN : 9077922032 | Publisher : Barkhuis Publishing | Published : Netherlands

What lies beneath: fluid subtexts in Ovid's Metamorphoses (2004)
James, Paula
In: Zimmerman, Maaike and Van der Paardt, Rudi eds. Metamorphic Reflections: essays presented to Ben Hijmans on his 75th birthday (pp. 1-19)
ISBN : 90 429 1504 8 | Publisher : Peeters | Published : Leuwen

Keeping Apuleius in the Picture: a dialogue between Apuleius' Metamorphoses and the Luis Bunuel's Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (2002)
James, Paula
In: Zimmerman de Graaf, M and Van Der Paard t, R eds. Ancient Narrative (pp. 185-207)
ISBN : 9080739014 | Publisher : Roelf Barkhuis | Published : Groningen

From prologue to story: metaphor and narrative construction in the opening of the Metamorphoses (2001-12-13)
James, Paula
In: Kahane, Ahuvia and Laird, Andrew eds. Companion to the prologue to Apuleius' Metamorphoses (pp. 256-266)
ISBN : 198152388 | Publisher : Oxford University press | Published : Oxford

The Role of the Parrot in Selected Texts from Ovid to Jean Rhys: Telling a Story from an Alternative Viewpoint (2006-11)
Courtney, Julia and James, Paula eds.
ISBN : 0 7734 5574 4 | Publisher : Edwin Mellen Press | Published : Lampeter