Karen ní Mheallaigh is primarily a Hellenist. Her research is rooted in ancient fiction and the world of the ancient scientific imagination, where fiction intersects with the technical - especially in the realms of astronomy and technology. She is also fascinated by lost texts, imaginary worlds, and the things that are in texts – the furniture of the imagination. She is the author of two monographs: Reading fiction with Lucian: fakes, freaks and hyperreality (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and The Moon in the Greek and Roman imagination: selenography in myth, literature, science and philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2020). She is co-editing, with Claire Rachel Jackson and Helena Schmedt, a volume of essays that explore Antonius Diogenes' novel, The incredible things beyond Thule, within its broader literary and cultural context. This fragmentary Greek novel claims to be a long-lost text, includes a trip to the Moon (possibly the earliest lunar narrative in European literature), and comprises an intriguing mixture of scholarship and fantasy.
Professor ní Mheallaigh received her PhD in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin. Her research has been supported by a fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK and a Marie Curie fellowship at the Aarhus Institute of Advances Studies (AIAS), Denmark. She has taught previously at the Universities of Liverpool, Swansea and Exeter in the UK. She joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2020.