J. Clare Woods


Clare’s interest in Classical Studies began at an early age, with a fascination for mythology. She started learning Latin at the age of 11, and Greek in the course of her B.A. in Classics at King’s College London. For her Masters degree she broadened her interests to include late ancient and medieval texts, manuscripts and culture. Her Ph.D., funded by the British Academy, and directed by Carlotta Dionisotti (KCL), was awarded in 1997. For this project Clare prepared a critical edition of part of the Latin sermon collection compiled in the 820s by Hrabanus Maurus (abbot of Fulda) for Archbishop Haistulf of Mainz. Her edition of the whole collection will be published by Brepols in their Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis series.

Clare’s research interests centre on Carolingian literature and culture. In addition to her work on homiletics, she participates in the Festus Lexicon Project, contributing chiefly to those aspects of the Project concerned with Paul the Deacon’s epitome of the lexicon. She is also interested in the Carolingian cult of Mary, and in examining more closely the spread and development of Marian cult from the late eighth through the ninth century. A new project will look at intellectual networks, teacher-student relationships, and the culture of gift-giving. In recent years, through teaching involving digital games and virtual reality, and through a working group, Experiencing Virtual Worlds, sponsored by Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute, she has also begun to explore ways in which the pre-modern is represented in new media.

After a Frances Yates Long-term Fellowship at the Warburg Institute, and nearly three years working as a Lecturer in the Classics Department at University College Dublin, Clare moved further west to take up a position, in 1999, in the Department of Classical Studies at Duke. She teaches courses at both undergraduate and graduate level in Latin literature of just about all periods (from Plautus to Petrarch), mythology, the city of Rome, Latin palaeography, and late ancient and medieval intellectual culture.

Images from Sicily 2009,  and the Amalfi Coast 2010