Beth Harper is a literary scholar who works across Classical and Renaissance European Literature and, premodern Chinese Literature and Thought. Her manuscript entitled The Lost Children of European Tragedy constitutes a wide-ranging study of the figure of the child (specifically, the lost or dead child) in the tragic tradition from classical antiquity to the early-modern period. Bringing together poststructuralist and feminist critiques about ideology, issues of psychoanalysis, and an interest in form and aesthetics, it argues for a new paradigm of tragedy and tragic desire. Beth’s next project will explore rural and pastoral motifs in European and Chinese lyric. Beginning with Horace and Tao Yuanming, the project will radiate out to include other representative lyric poets of the European and Chinese lyrical traditions in order to consider how lyric’s reflection on the human and natural worlds figures differently on opposite sides of Eurasia. In contrast to her tragedy book which explores filiation between works within one tradition, this project will compare precisely that elite canonical poetry that did not travel beyond its own cultural sphere.



Publications and Works in Progress

2020.  “Do not allow an empty goblet to face the moon”: wine cups, male identity and immortality in Li Bai 李白 701-762and Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770), forthcoming in “Contact Zones: Fur/Flesh/Fabric/Fieldstone” postmedieval 11.1.

2019. “Theories of Tragedy: Transcultural Hauntings in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Ji Junxiang’s The Orphan of Zhao”, forthcoming in Comparative Literature: East & West.  

2019. “A disease that’s in my flesh which I must needs call mine’’: Lear, Macbeth and the Fear of Futurity", forthcoming in English Studies.

“The early modern (non) reception of the Zhuangzi 莊子 text”. Under review at The Journal of East West Thought.

 “Cross-cultural Encounters of the Lyric: Horace (BCE 65-8) and Tao Yuanming (CE 365-427). In Preparation.

2017. “‘And men ne’er spend their fury on a child’ – Killing Children in Shakespeare’s Early Histories”, Shakespeare, 13.3: 193-209.



Occasional Essay

“Truth, Happiness, and Understanding: Applying Traditional Chinese Thought to the Modern World”, in China Hands Magazine



Last updated: 26 February 2019