Frédérique Woerther

Frédérique Woerther

Every year the School of Advanced Study (SAS) welcomes more than 800 research fellows and associates, this year Frédérique Woerther, an international expert in ancient Greek rhetorical theories and their Medieval Arabic interpretations, was one of them.

By Frédérique Woerther

The visiting fellowship and the chance to spend a month at the School of Advanced Study’s Warburg Institute, represented many opportunities for me. Not only would I meet with colleagues from universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, Warwick, Leeds and University College London, and to present my work to specialists in my field – Ancient Greek Rhetorical theories; Arabic commentaries on Aristotle – it meant being able to exchange ideas with, and receive criticism from some of the best academics in the world who reside and work in Great Britain.

I was certain the benefit from their feedback would be invaluable when I go back to France to continue my research work at the National Centre for Scientific Research, the country’s largest government-run research organisation. Also the Warburg Institute offers resources for my research that are simply not available elsewhere and that might fundamentally alter the direction of my research.

Moreover, for my research interests, the resources provided by the Institute for Classical Studies (IClS) library are second to none. This was particularly welcome, as I would like to start a new project in Ancient Greek Rhetoric and the IClS library, with its close collaboration with the Societies for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and Roman Studies , is one of the best!

During the Fellowship I was invited to deliver a series of public lectures on the latest developments in the history of ancient Greek rhetoric. Entitled ‘Reconstructing Hellenistic rhetoric: the example of Apollodorus of Pergamum and Theodorus of Gadara’, one of them took place at the university of Warwick. I gave another on the theory of oratorical delivery in Aristotle and its interpretation in Averroes’ Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Rhetoric at the universities of Warwick, Leeds, Oxford and Cambridge. The last one was part of the Warburg’s Work in Progress seminar series. That was an hour-long talk on ‘Averroes Middle Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics’ on 25 June.

Among the many projects I am working on is an article for a Book on Averroes, being edited by Professor Peter Adamson currently working at Munich’s LMU (Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München) but who leads the Leverhulme funded ‘Natural Philosophy in the Islamic World’ research project at King’s College London. In addition, I am starting a new project – an edition of the fragments and testimonies of Caecilius of Calè-Actè, a Greek author of the Augustean Period. So my time in London and at SAS was very happy and productive, a state that I hope will continue throughout the Fellowship.

Frédérique Woerther is currently a researcher and Bronze Medal award holder (2014) at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. Her research interests have included a study on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and the Greek rhetorical theories in the Classical and Hellenistic period and, since 2005, the Arabic interpretations of Greek rhetoric and philosophy, especially in al-Farabi and Averroes.