Lillian Doherty received her BA from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. Before coming to the University of Maryland, she taught at George Mason University and Howard University. She has taught at Maryland since 1984, attaining the rank of Assistant Professor in 1987, that of Associate Professor in 1993, and that of Professor in 2007. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Paris I (2010) and the University of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India (2011). In 2011 she began a term as chair of the Classics Department at Maryland.
Dr. Doherty does research in a number of related areas: Homeric and Hesiodic poetry; women in classical antiquity, especially representations of women in literature; and the interpretation and reception of classical mythology. She has published a book and a number of articles on Homer. Siren Songs: Gender, Audiences, and Narrators in the Odyssey was published by the University of Michigan Press in 1995. It combines narratological, audience-oriented, and feminist approaches to illuminate the gender dynamics of storytelling in the epic. "Sirens, Muses and Female Narrators in the Odyssey" appeared in the 1995 collection The Distaff Side: Representing the Female in Homer's Odyssey, edited by Beth Cohen (Oxford University Press.) Other articles on Homer include "The Internal and Implied Audiences of Odyssey 11" (Arethusa, 1991), "Gender and Internal Audiences in the Odyssey" (American Journal of Philology, 1992), and "The Narrative 'Openings' in the Odyssey" (Arethusa, 2002). In 2008, Dr. Doherty published an edited volume, Oxford Readings in Homer’s Odyssey, bringing together influential articles by a variety of scholars. She is currently editing a collection of papers on Approaches to Teaching the Odyssey for the Modern Language Association.
In 2001, Dr. Doherty published Gender and the Interpretation of Classical Myth (Duckworth), an overview and feminist critique of the major schools of myth interpretation at the turn of the twenty-first century. She has also worked on the Catalogue of Women, a fragmentary poem attributed to Hesiod. Her paper on "Putting the Women Back into the Catalogue of Women" was published in Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought, edited by Miriam Leonard and Vanda Zajko (Oxford University Press, 2006). A related article, "Nausicaa and Tyro: Idylls of Courtship in the Phaiakian Episode of the Odyssey and the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women," appeared in the Canadian journal Phoenix in 2008.
Dr. Doherty has also taught and written on the reception of ancient Greek literature and myth in Europe and America. She explored the relationship between the Odyssey and Joyce's Ulysses in an article on "Joyce's Penelope and Homer's," which appeared in Classical and Modern Literature in 1990. Her article on “The Figure of Penelope in Twentieth-Century Poetry by American Women” appeared in the collection American Women and Classical Myths (Baylor University Press, 2008), edited by her colleague, Gregory A. Staley. She has given talks on Derek Walcott’s Omeros, on Jeanette Winterson’s Weight, and on the reception of Homer in H.D.'s Helen in Egypt, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. In 2010, Dr. Doherty's article on Samuel Butler’s The Authoress of the Odyssey (“La «maternite» de l’Odyssée: Fortunes d’un fantasme victorien”) appeared in the French journal Clio. With Bruce King, she recently co-edited Thinking the Greeks: A Volume in Honour of James M. Redfield (Routledge, 2018).
Dr. Doherty has taught a wide range of courses at the University of Maryland, from elementary Greek and Latin to graduate-level Greek literature courses. A favorite of hers is Classics 320, Women in Classical Antiquity. She has also frequently taught Classics 170, Greek and Roman Mythology, Classics 375, Ancient Comedy, and Classics 470, Approaches to Greek Myth.
From her undergraduate days, Professor Doherty has been fluent in French; she spent her junior year in Paris, where she studied Homeric and Biblical Greek as well as French language and literature. Her first publication was the American translation of Jacqueline de Romilly's Précis de littérature grecque (A Short History of Greek Literature, University of Chicago Press, 1985). In recent years she has led an annual one-week study tour to Paris that focuses on the classical tradition in French literature, art, architecture, and historical thought.
Dr. Doherty is an affiliate of the Women's Studies Program and of the Comparative Literature Program at Maryland. She is a long-time member of the Women's Classical Caucus and was the founding coordinator of its mentoring program. She served on the Nominating Committee of the Society for Classical Studies from 2016 to 2019 and on the Education Committee and the Committee on Professional Matters of the Society when it was known as the American Philological Association. From 2008 to 2014 she served as Associate Editor for Greek of the American Journal of Philology.