Maria Gaki looks at camera

Philology graduate student Maria Gaki was awarded the Graduate School Dean's Dissertation Completion Fellowship for the 2020/2021 academic year. Gaki's dissertation is about the role of sound – particularly sweet sound, called euphony – in the ancient literary theory of the Hellenistic period. The most important source for the study of euphony is the treatise On Poems of an ancient Greek Epicurean philosopher, Philodemus. This treatise is a work of early literary criticism on poetry. Philodemus who wrote his work in the 1st century B.C., criticizes the theories of some earlier literary critics of the 3rd and 2nd century B.C., the euphonists. These critics dismissed the importance of the poetic content and argued that a poem should be judged primarily on the sound of the words, which should be selected and arranged properly to achieve a euphonious effect and “tickle the hearing”.

Gaki is the fifth Classics graduate student since 2014 to win this award. Other awardees include Christopher Miller, Christopher Motz, Kathleen Kidder, and Emily Egan.