Dr. Claire French was born in 1924 in the backwoods of Bavaria in South Germany. She was educated by nuns in Italy, and later at high school in Germany. Claire was the first woman in Australia to be awarded a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies (1989). Her thesis studied the gender roles in the Welsh saga collection “Mabinogion” with regard to the role of the Celtic Goddess in Her different aspects. It was published in 2001 in English under the title The Celtic Goddess, Great Queen or Demon Witch, by Floris Books at Edinburgh and in German (2001) by Edition Amalia at Bern, under the title Als die Goettin keltisch wurde (When the Goddess became Celtic).
From 1965 to 1995 Claire worked with the Melbourne Council of Adult Education, initiating new courses in European Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, Spirituality and Celtic Studies. She also contributed lectures and workshops to the C.G. Jung Society of Melbourne – many directly addressing Goddess. In 1993-94, Claire taught a series on GAIA.
During the World War II, Claire had been conscripted to the German paramilitary organization for women working for Tyrolean mountain farmers and later in a military hospital: this year of paramilitary service was conditional for enrolment of women at any German University (educated women were seen as dangerous … the authorities wanted “incubators”). Claire studied modern languages and politics at Innsbruck University in Austria after the war and was conscripted as an interpreter by American and French Army forces. In 1951 Claire embarked for Australia, where she worked as a housemaid, a grape picker, an interpreter and as a secretary at Melbourne University.
Claire married an Australian engineer, had babies, fitted in some academic positions, and found the voice of Goddess emerging within her continuing research, writing and teaching.
Claire has published her memoirs: Meine verkehrte Welt (My upside down World) http://www.amazon.de/Meine-verkehrte-Welt-Bozen-Australien/dp/887283449X and is in the process of translating them into English.