Jessica Wolfe

Phone:   (919) 962-9895
Office:   Greenlaw 417
Curriculum Vitae:   File WOLFE CV 2017.docx
Hire Date:   1 998


Professor, English and Comparative Literature

Affiliated faculty, Romance Studies (French and Italian)

Affiliated faculty, Classics

Affiliated faculty, Medieval and Early Modern Studies



Ph.D., Stanford University

B.A., Bryn Mawr College


Jessica Wolfe is the author of two books: Humanism, Machinery, and Renaissance Literature, published by Cambridge University Press in 2004 and Homer and the Question of Strife from Erasmus to Hobbes, published by University of Toronto Press in 2015:

Professor Wolfe has also published numerous essays and articles on authors and subjects including Edmund Spenser, Desiderius Erasmus, John Milton, George Chapman, the reception of Homer and of Hesiod in the Renaissance, and Renaissance flea circuses. In January 2018, she will begin serving as articles editor of the journal Renaissance Quarterly, the world's pre-eminent interdisciplinary journal of Renaissance studies.

With Kevin Killeen, Wolfe is editing 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 (Queen Mary, London). Over the past several years, she has been working on Book 2 of the Pseudodoxia (on minerals and vegetables), on the real and fanciful animals of Book 3 (basilisks, unicorns, gryphons, and badgers), and on Books 4 and 6, whose subjects range from human physiology and anthropology to geography and biblical chronology. Research stemming from this editorial project includes essays and articles on glow-worms, on seventeenth-century ideas about the transmigration of souls, on the early history of biomineralization, on mathematical error in the Renaissance, and on hermeneutic debates over how and whether to interpret what is omitted from texts, especially scriptural texts.

Wolfe has been the recipient of fellowships from the Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, and (in 2014-15), the NEH, which awarded her an eight-month fellowship to conduct research at the Newberry Library and at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Germany. During the 2017-18 academic year she will hold the O.B. Hardison Jr. fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where she will be in residence from October until the following July. At the Folger, she will be undertaking a biography of the Renaissance poet, translator, and playwright George Chapman (ca. 1559-1634). 

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, on art and literature in the Renaissance, and on European literature of the Renaissance from Petrarch to Quevedo. 

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