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Kate Driscoll

Assistant Professor of Romance Studies
Romance Studies
205 Language Center, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708
205 Language Center, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708
Office hours Fall 2023: Monday, 3–5 pm.  


Kate Driscoll is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University. A multidisciplinary scholar of early modern Italy, Europe, and their global contacts and contexts, her research areas include literary and critical theory, women’s and gender studies, cultural and performance history, and musicology.

Her first book, Tasso among the Muses: Reading and Writing Women in Early Modern Italy (manuscript in progress), is a study of collaboration and collectivity. This work challenges the Romantic construct of “Tasso, the errant madman”—as he has been mythologized by authors from Goethe and Byron, to Baudelaire—by readjusting the focus onto Tasso’s contemporary contexts and the literary communities that shape individual poets and their socially oriented literary production. The book engages with critical discourses of early modern sociability in recasting the image of Tasso from a rootless drifter to a strategic networker of intellectual and artistic communities. Emphasizing previously overlooked examples of collaboration in the history of the book and literary sociability, this research emphasizes the collective nature of Tasso’s writings that locates him within overlapping circles (e.g., courts, academies, and private salons), which welcomed the itinerant poet and fostered participation by women writers, patrons, and performers. 

Dr. Driscoll is the author of "'La donna di poche parole' from Page to Stage: Envoicing Enchantment in Epic Poetry and Early Opera" (The Italianist, 41.1) and "Italian Chivalric Epic Poetry and Female Readers," published as part of Routledge Renaissance World. She is a co-author, along with Michela Ardizzoni and Carmela Scala, of "Building Space for Belonging: The Critical Race, Diasporas, and Migrations Caucus (CRDM)" (Forum Italicum, special issue on Critical Issues in Transnational Italian Studies, 2023). 

Her forthcoming essay, "Curse, Wail, Hiss, Roar: The Limits of Lament in Ariosto's Rodomonte" is scheduled to appear in the Spring 2024 issue of I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance.

Her other publications are scheduled to appear in collections dedicated to the representations of female ambassadors in Torquato Tasso and Vivaldi, the history of premodern masculinity, and women readers in early modern Italy.

Before arriving at Duke, Dr. Driscoll was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Colorado College and a postdoctoral research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin’s Cluster of Excellence, “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective.” 

Her research has been supported by the Renaissance Society of America, American Council of Learned Societies, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Modern Language Association, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, German Excellence Initiative, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

She is a co-editor of the Italian Studies Channel on the New Books Network. Her conversations with authors can be found here.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Romance Studies · 2022 - Present Romance Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

University of California, Berkeley · 2020 Ph.D.
New York University · 2013 M.A.
New York University · 2011 B.Mus.