B.A Cornell University; M.A. Radcliffe College; Ph.D. Yale University
Rachel JacoffMargaret E. Deffenbaugh and LeRoy T. Carlson Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies
My major interest is medieval Italian literature, especially Dante. I have also worked on medieval women writers and contemporary American poetry.
Much of my work explores the relation between Dante's Commedia and the texts with which it is in dialogue, especially the Bible, the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses. I am particularly interested in the Paradiso. I have edited The Cambridge Companion to Dante, and co-edited The Poets' Dante and The Poetry of Allusion: Virgil and Ovid in Dante's Commedia. I have been a fellow of the Bunting Institute, Villa I Tatti, the Stanford Humanities Center, Bellagio, the Bogliasco Foundation, and a resident of the American Academy in Rome, and received an NEH fellowship and a Guggenheim fellowship.
I taught a Dante course yearly and also taught several courses for the Medieval/Renaissance program on subjects such as Medieval Women Writers and Imagining the Afterlife. I have taught Dante in the Teachers as Scholars program, and was a visiting professor at Cornell University and Stanford University.
I have been a review editor of Speculum, the journal of the Medieval Academy of America, and I served on the editorial board of Dante Studies.
I enjoy reading and rereading, cooking, and the many pleasures of friendship.