Brown Fellow and Tutor in Classics

Gail Trimble

  • I am Associate Professor in Classical Languages and Literature, Faculty of Classics.

  • I specialise in Latin poetry and literary form.

  • I am currently completing a commentary on Catullus 64, an influential and perplexing miniature epic from the last years of the Roman Republic.

  • Before coming to Trinity I studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and held a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge.

  • I have recently taken part in two episodes of 'In Our Time’ on BBC Radio 4, discussing Catullus and Ovid.

Gail Trimble


At Trinity I do most of the undergraduate tutorial teaching in Latin language and literature; on the Greek side, I sometimes also teach the papers on Hellenistic Poetry and the Iliad. As the Tutorial Fellow in Classics I have overall oversight of language and literature teaching, and I liaise with my colleagues in Ancient History and Philosophy to arrange teaching in those areas.

For the Classics Faculty I give lectures on various topics in Latin literature and approaches to the study of Classics, and I am involved in teaching classes on Latin textual criticism and the Epic link paper for the Joint School in Classics and English. I supervise graduate students working on Latin literature and its reception.


I work primarily on Latin poetry, with particular interests in Catullus, Ovid, Virgil and Horace. Much of my work is concerned with formal aspects of literary texts: the research questions that I address often involve voice or subjectivity, intertextuality, mode and genre, referentiality, and related ways in which a text negotiates its relationships with its readers and with reality. I am also interested in the ways in which classical texts have been read and interpreted in the past, not least by their earliest Greek and Roman readers.

I am currently completing a commentary on Catullus 64, with newly edited text, to appear in the Cambridge University Press series Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries (the ‘orange’ series). This has received support via a Research Fellowship (Early Career) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Following a successful international conference in September 2015 on metalepsis in classical literature, a volume that I co-edited with Sebastian Matzner, Metalepsis: Ancient Texts, New Perspectives, was recently published by Oxford University Press. I am working on an article about the gods in Ovid’s exile poetry, and my next major project will be concerned with the distinctive personal names (‘Lycidas’, ‘Corydon’ etc.) of pastoral literature.

Titian’s ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’
Titian’s ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’

Selected Publications

‘Narrative and lyric levels in Catullus’, in S. Matzner and G.C. Trimble eds. Metalepsis: Ancient Texts, New Perspectives (OUP 2020) 119-45

Further notes on the text and interpretation of Catullus’, Paideia 74 (2019) 215-34 [with S.J. Heyworth]

‘Echoes and reflections in Catullus’ long poems’, in S. Frangoulidis, S.J. Harrison and T. Papanghelis eds. Intratextuality and Latin Literature, Trends in Classics Supplementary Volumes 69 (de Gruyter 2018) 35-53

‘Catullus 64 and the prophetic voice in Virgil’s fourth Eclogue’, in D.P. Nelis and J. Farrell eds. Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic (OUP 2013) 263-77

‘Catullus and “comment in English”: the tradition of the expurgated commentary before Fordyce’, in S.J. Harrison and C. Stray eds. Expurgating the Classics (Bloomsbury 2012) 143-62

‘Catullus 64: the perfect epyllion?’, in M. Baumbach and S. Bär eds. Brill’s Companion to Greek and Latin Epyllion and Its Reception (Brill 2012) 55-79

Thesea fide: heroic faith and faithlessness in Ovid’s exile poetry’, in L. Langerwerf and C. Ryan eds. Zero to Hero, Hero to Zero: in search of the classical hero (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2010) 73-95

Dr Trimble

Modern classicists have much more sophisticated critical tools for dealing with the literary and political contexts of ancient poetry than they do for approaching what it has to say about emotional reality