Alley Marie Jordan

Thesis title: Pursuing Happiness: Thomas Jefferson's Key to Modernity, 1776-1826


Alley Marie completed her undergraduate studies in Seattle where she studied Classics and Political Science. She then received her Master's in History from San Diego where she studied the presence of the Roman poet, Virgil, at Thomas Jefferson's Virginia plantation, Monticello. Alley Marie has been interested in Roman poetry on nature and landscapes/gardens since working on a Greek farm during her undergraduate studies. Since then, her love for gardens, nature and landscapes have developed into a PhD on the topic. Her research explores how the Classics (in particular the Augustan poets) directly influeced Jefferson's broader views on landscape and nature during the early American Republic with direct consequences on marginalised identities.

Alley Marie is the co-organizer to the University of Edinburgh's Eighteenth-Century Research Seminars.


PhD, Classics (in progress), University of Edinburgh

MA, History, University of San Diego

BA, Classics, Seattle Pacific University

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member: University of St Andrews Centre for Landscape Studies

Undergraduate teaching

  • Ancient History 2b: Religion, Slavery, Death (Spring 2019)
  • Latin 1a: (Fall 2018)
  • Early Modern Europe: A Connected World (Spring 2018)
  • Making of the United States: (Fall 2017)
  • Modern United States History: (Spring 2017)

Research summary

Alley Marie's research currently focuses on Thomas Jefferson's reception of Epicureanism through poetry on nature during the Augustan Age. In particular, she focuses on the works of Virgil and Horace. Her PhD considers how Epicurean and pastoral ideals contributed to Jefferson's policies on westward expansionism, his ideas on race, and his ideals on the acceptable forms of 'Happiness' for an American. Alley Marie examines how Jefferson used the poets of the early Roman Empire to help shape the early American Empire. Her thesis aims to demonstrate how the Classics contributed to the American identity in less-formal ways than merely political philosophy. 

Alley Marie is interested in classical reception during the 18th century more broadly, in particular how early modern and eighteenth-century ideas on nature and landscape channelled classical poetry. In turn, she is also interested in what classical reception can tell us about the Classics, in addition to their later reception in the post-classical era.

Current research interests

Epicureanism; gardens; landscapes; nature; early America; Enlightenment; classical reception; Horace; Virgil; Lucretius; the sublime