Jessica Wolfe


Greenlaw 417
(919) 962-9895

Director of Comparative Literature


Jessica Wolfe is the author of Humanism, Machinery, and Renaissance Literature, published by Cambridge University Press in 2004. Her second book, Homer and the Question of Strife from Erasmus to Hobbes, is forthcoming from University of Toronto Press (2015). Portions of this book have been published in Renaissance Papers (2003), in Renaissance Quarterly (Winter 2005), and in a special volume of College Literature devoted to the reception of Homer (Fall 2008). Professor Wolfe has published on Spenser's Faerie Queene for the Blackwell Companion to Tudor Literature, ed. Kent Cartwright; on Milton and the epic tradition for the MLA Approaches to Teaching Milton's Paradise Lost, ed. Peter Herman; on Shakespeare in the Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, ed. Arthur Kinney ('Shakespeare and the Classics"), on Erasmus' cosmopolitanism, and on the Elizabethan satirist John Marlston (ELR). She is also a contributor to the Oxford History of Classical Relations to English Literature (OHCREL), for which she has written an article on the reception of Homer in early modern England; other contracted or forthcoming articles will soon appear on poetry and science in the Renaissance, on George Chapman's translations of Homer, on a very odd Latin poem by Thomas Hobbes, and on metempsychosis in the seventeenth century.

Wolfe has begun work as co-editor of Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica for Oxford University Press, volumes 2 and 3 (and possibly 4) of a new Complete Works of Browne under the general editorship of Claire Preston (QM, London); the project was the recipient of a £1.2 million AHRC grant. Over the past year, she has been working on Book 2 of the Pseudodoxia (on minerals and vegetables) and has now moved on to the real and fanciful animals of Book 3: basilisks, ostriches, gryphons, and badgers, among other creatures. Wolfe has been the recipient of fellowships from the Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, and most recently (2014-15), the NEH, which awarded her an eight-month fellowship to conduct research at the Newberry Library and at the Herzog August Bibliothek.

Professor Wolfe's teaching interests include the history of science, the history of the book, the history of classical scholarship in the Renaissance, epic and romance, and continental (especially French, Italian, and Latin) Renaissance literature. She has taught graduate courses on science and poetry in the Renaissance, on classical literature and English humanism, on problems of interpretation in Renaissance humanism, on poetry and politics in Tudor England, and on European literature of the Renaissance from Petrarch to Quevedo. Her next graduate course, co-taught with Tania String (History of Art) will be offered in fall 2014 as "Humanism and the human in Renaissance literature and art". 

In 2002, Wolfe was awarded the William H. Friday award for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Three times since 2002, Wolfe has received the AGES award for graduate mentoring (at both the doctoral and the M.A. level). Wolfe was selected one of three "superlative" undergraduate teachers at Carolina by the senior class of 2001.

Teaching Awards

William H Friday Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2002
Three graduate mentoring awards by the department, most recently in 2012
Favorite faculty award, 2000



Hire Date: 1998

Ph.D., Stanford University

B.A., Bryn Mawr College

Research Groups and Interests

Comparative Literature
Group III - English Literature from 1485 to 1660 (including Milton)