Professor King received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University in 1978. She holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Classics. King teaches seminars on Greek tragedy and epic and the Classical tradition for which she utilizes feminist theory and cultural criticism. Her main interest is in why and how a writer manipulates myth and important cultural texts for ideological purposes. She also teaches for Women’s Studies. King is currently working on "The Infanticidal Imagination" a cross-cultural analysis of murderous mothers (and filicidal fathers) in classical Greek and modern American cultures.
In 1987 King published Achilles: Paradigms of the War Hero from Homer to the Middle Ages. She edited and contributed to Homer (1994), a collection of essays on the influence of Homer from the Middle Ages to the 1990's. Her most recent book is Ancient Epic, an introduction to the epic tradition that analyses the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Apollonios’s Argonautika, Vergil’s Aeneid, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2009). Professor King has also published essays on the classical tradition that focus on such diverse twentieth-century authors as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Leslie Marmon Silko, Marguerite Yourcenar, Ahdaf Soueif and Edward Said.
She has served on the editorial board of Viator, a journal of Medieval and Renaissance literature. She has also been a member of the Committee on the Status of Women and Minorities in the American Philological Association. Professor King received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993.