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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Michael Fontaine

Michael Fontaine is a professor in Cornell's Department of Classics and acting dean of the University Faculty. His scholarly specialization is Latin and Greek philology and the literature of the late Roman Republic. He regularly offers lively courses on Greek mythology and literature, including CAU seminars on Homer’s Odyssey and (in summer 2016) a seminar on “The Greatest Hits of Greek Tragedy.”  

Michael earned an undergraduate degree in classics from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and a PhD in classics from Brown University. He is also an alumnus of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and serves on the advisory board of the Paideia Institute. In 2016 he returned to Italy as the Paideia Professor in Rome, teaching exceptional college students to converse in Latin amid the monuments and ruins of the eternal city.  

Michael has published a book on jokes, wordplay, and textual criticism in the comedies of Plautus, Funny Words in Plautine Comedy (Oxford University Press, 2010), and is a coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Comedy (Oxford University Press, 2012). He lives in Ithaca with his wife, Alyssa, and two children.