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Name: Robin Diver

PhD: Classics

Thesis Title: 'Wonderful Stories for Kids': Rape and Sexual Violence in Children’s Anthologies of Greek Myth


Thesis Description:

This thesis builds on my previous work at Masters level to examine children’s anthologies of Greek mythology from 1808 to the present and analyse authorial strategies for retelling sexual violence. Anthologies of children’s Greek myths (e.g. Hawthorne, Coats) are published regularly, receive reviews stressing their importance to children’s education and are sometimes taught in schools. Their creation, however, necessitates reconciliation between the sexual violence prevalent in myth and the didactic aim of children’s tales.

My thesis will engage with the increasing body of research in the new field of classical receptions in children’s literature, particularly the Our Mythical Childhood project. It will explore both text and illustration, drawing on sociological research concerning the establishment of power structures and feminist research on sexual violence to interrogate the meaning present in these children’s texts. As well as contributing to growing discourse on classical literary reception, my thesis will have a wider relevance in that it will examine those elements challenging to the popular view of Greek myth as didactic. Anthologies of Greek myth are the first classical sexual violence many children will encounter, possibly even the first sexual violence they will read about, making them perhaps influential on general modern views about rape. My thesis raises questions about enjoyment of disturbing material, why children read books, the value of classics to them and if and how material needs to be adapted for audience.



Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Philip Burton, University of Birmingham

Professor Helen Lovatt, University of Nottingham


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

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Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

Positions Held:

  • Publicity Officer at UoB PG Rosetta Journal: October 2016-present.

  • Secretary at UoB MAC (Modern and Contemporary Forum): October 2017-present.

  • Book Reviews Editor at UoB PG Rosetta Journal: October 2017-present.

  • PhD SHAC 1st Year Student Rep: November 2017-present.

Conferences Organised:

  • CAHA Colloquium - Bridges Over Barriers: Interdisciplinarity in Research; 2 May 2018, University of Birmingham.
  • M3C Research Festival; 24 May 2018, Maple House, Birmingham. (Research Relay Organiser).

Conference Papers Delivered:

  • Mythology and Education: History and Practice; 27 October 2017, Cambridge. Conference paper delivered - 'Educating Hades?: A death god civilised'.
  • Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History (AMPAH); 17 March 2018, London. Conference paper delivered - 'Fleeing Rape: A Children's Tale? - Adaptations of Daphne'.
  • Echoes: A Symposium on Classic-Modern Relations; 11 April 2018, Birmingham. Conference paper delivered - 'Fleeing Rape: For Kids! - Or: Receptions of Daphne in Anthologies'.

Papers Delivered at Forums:

  • Rosetta Forum, University of Birmingham; October 2017. 'Educating Hades?: A death god civilised'.
  • Modern and Contemporary Forum (MAC); October 2017. 'Educating Hades?: A death god civilised'.
  • Rosetta Forum, University of Birmingham, 14 November 2017. 'Midlands 3 Cities Funding: And guidelines for funding applications in general'. 

Other Research Interests:

  • Food studies in classics; how ancient and early Christian attitudes to food have shaped modern ones.

  • Euripidean drama.

  • The adaptation of female mythological and classical figures in reception.

  • Women in classical Greece.

  • Animal studies in classics.
  • Disability studies.



University email address:


Twitter: @RobinDiver22

Other Social Media: <add URL>

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