Classical Tradition in Modern Literature; epic poetry; Jane Austen
Ph.D. University of Colorado Boulder Classics
M.S. University of Chicago Classics
B.A. Mt. Holyoke College Classics
I was conceived during the Nuremburg Trials, where my parents were prosecuting attorneys. When I was eleven, my father was assigned to the American Embassy in London, and my parents sent me to British schools, where I started Latin when I was eleven.
I got a PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a dissertation on Apollonius’ Argonautica under the supervision of Joy K. King and (unofficially) Charles Rowan Beye, who was writing his book on Apollonius at the time.
I have enjoyed working in the classical tradition within the ancient world and in modern literature. As a literary detective, I have found Odysseus under a Toad’s mask in Wind in the Willows, the Great Mother in Mary Poppins, and Medea in Fay Weldon’s She Devil. I am finishing my book Jane Austen: Closet Classicist.
I have collaborated with computer coders to create StellarSpeller (a program to help win spelling bees), MedWordMaster (a program teaching medical terminology), and a Latinometer, which measures the Latinity of English prose.
BOOKS and ARTICLES (Greek and Latin Literature):
"Female Choruses in Greek Tragedy." Didaskalia (1998), an on-line classics journal at http://www.didaskalia.net/issues/vol4no1/deforest.html
Apollonius’ Argonautica: A Callimachean Epic. Brill, Mnemosyne Series, 1994.
(ed.) Woman’s Power, Man’s Game: Essays in Honor of Joy King. Wauconda, 1993.
"Gods in Livery." Classical Bulletin, 69 (1989), 71–76.
"The Central Similes of the Cleopatra Ode." Classical World, 82 (1989), 167–73.
"Clytemnestra’s Breast and the Evil Eye." Woman’s Power, Man’s Game.
ARTICLES (Classical Tradition in English Literature):
(With Eric Johnson) "The Density of Latinate Words in the Speeches of Jane Austen’s Characters." Literary and Linguistic Computing. Vol. 16, no. 4 (2001). 389–401.
"Jane Austen: Closet Classicist." Persuasions 22 (2000), 98–104; reprinted SIRS, Knowledge Source (SKS), in its Renaissance product.
"Eighteenth-Century Women and the Languages of Power." Classical and Modern Literature, 12 (1992), 191–207.
"Mary Poppins and the Great Mother." Classical and Modern Literature, 11 (1991), 139–54.
"The Wind in the Willows: A Tale for Two Readers." Classical and Modern Literature, 10 (1989), 81–87; reprinted in Modern British Literature, ed. Laurie Di Mauro (Detroit: St. James Press, 2000), Vol. 1, 577.
"Jane Austen and the Anti-Heroic Tradition." Persuasions, 10 (1988), 11–21.
"Mrs. Elton and the Slave Trade." Persuasions, 9 (1987), 11–13.
"Anna’s Daughter: Mazie Holbrook in Tillie Olsen’s Yonnondio." The Anna Book: Search for Anna in Literary History, edited by Mickey Pearlman, Greenwood Press, 1992, 113–22.
Co-Creator of Latinometer, a web application that measures the Latinity of English prose.
Co-Creator of StellarSpeller, a program for winning spelling bees.
Co-Creator of Cryptographs, syndicated by King Features, published by the Chicago Tribune, et al., 1994–2005.
Co-Creator of MedWordMaster, a program teaching the Greek and Latin roots of Medical terminology.
Co-Creator of African-American Wisdom Cards, Pomegranate Press, 1998.
Co-Creator of Born Today, calendar published by Pomegranate Press, 1999.
(With Paula E. Hartman-Stein) "Spelling Bees and Competitions for Older Adults," in Enhancing Cognitive Fitness in Adults: A Guide to the Use and Development of Community-Based Programs (New York: Springer, 2011), 171–72.
I was interviewed by Michael Rosen, Word of Mouth, BBC Radio 4, April 30, 2007.
My Latinometer was reviewed in Forbes August 12, 2014
Elementary and Advanced Latin & Classical and New Testament Greek
Greek and Roman epic, tragedy, and comedy; study of words (English words derived from Greek and Latin); medical terminology (also words derived from Greek and Latin)