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Jesse Lundquist

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Trained as a historical linguist, by nature a lover of literature, I specialize in Indo-European languages and cultures, especially the earliest poetic traditions in Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and the Anatolian branch. I’ve earned degrees in Latin & Linguistics (Manchester) and Indo-European Studies (UCLA, 2017), have been a Fellow in Classics (Harvard) and a Junior Research Fellow in Comparative Philology (Wolfson College, Oxford), and plan to keep pursuing these paths, linguistics and literature, at Princeton.

In my scholarship I have worked to clarify how poetic traditions, especially in Ancient Greek and Vedic Sanskrit, reshaped their inherited morphology to work within metrical systems (e.g., the epic hexameter). My research has sometimes revised our picture of the Proto-Indo-European parent language, in particular the derivational morphology of nouns. More often, I hope, my work has shed light on otherwise peculiar or crabbily obscure forms in the oldest texts. In recent years I re-examined the grammatical traditions of Greece and ancient India to better sort out how accents, in particular nominal accents, arrived in and were transformed under scholars working in these two traditions. Dry bones though these matters may appear to be, I appreciate the tussle of ideas—how the grammarians passed on archaic accents, in the case of Homeric accentuation, even when they had difficulty understanding why these accents had arisen at all; such was the force of the poetic tradition. My research into these problems, mostly undertaken while at Oxford University, I published in a series of papers in 2021. I continue to work on the nature of the reconstructed Indo-European accent, foremost how the accent (tied to the morphology) transformed in Greek and in Sanskrit, as well as what system we should reconstruct for Proto-Indo-European (see my co-authored paper with Anthony Yates of UCLA; much work remains forthcoming in this domain).

I am currently drawing my studies of Ancient Greek morphology into a monograph, which will survey how certain nominal stem-classes were reshaped within the hexameter tradition of Greek epic. I also have ongoing projects where I study the earliest literary traditions within this linguistic family, asking whether and to what extent we can reconstruct meters, myths, and phraseology for the proto-language. Anyone with interest in any of these topics should feel free to get in touch!

Beyond the strictly scholarly, I devote most of my time to my family. Before joining the faculty at Princeton I lived knee-deep in sustainable homesteading for years at my family farm in western Maine. I keep a connection with that world: to celebrate the rural, back-to-the-land life I cofounded a literary journal rooted in western Maine (Rustica). Here in New Jersey I bike regularly and keep a hand in general outdoorsmanship.