My project considers the intellectual and religious contexts of Italian epic in the sixteenth century. I focus on works by Iacopo Sannazaro, Girolamo Fracastoro, Torquato Tasso and Lucrezia Marinella as examples of the experimental new genre of Christian Epic. These texts predicate heroism on internal qualities rather than on martial valor. Despite its importance for Italian and European literatures, the tradition of Italian Christian epic has received very little scholarly attention. The movement toward more complex depictions of protagonists' interiority is crucial in understanding the shift from romance epics to the birth of the modern novel. The impact of this tradition resonates throughout seventeenth-century European literature, for example, in John Milton's complex psychological portrayal of Satan in Paradise Lost or in Miguel de Cervantes' Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda.
Torquato Tasso, "Il Messaggiero."
Siger of Brabant, Quaestiones in Tertium de Anima
Early modern conceptions of genre (particularly epic and lyric)
Chivalric Epic (Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso)
Early modern visual arts & literary representations
Adaptations of classical culture during the Italian Counter-Reformation
Interactions between Italian and Spanish culture in the 16th and 17th centuries
Conceptions of heroism in Italian film, particularly during Facism
Dante and Medieval Philosophy (particularly theories of the intellect)
Digital Humanities Projects
This project proposes to digitize all Christian epics written in Italy from the late fifteenth to the mid-seventeenth century. The goal would be to encode all these epics and create a searchable online database. Another aspect of this project includes the translation of these epics from Latin and Italian into English as the database will feature facing-page translation.
This project proposes to create a searchable, digital version of Torquato Tasso's reflections on poetic theory. It includes the Discorsi dell'arte poetica, the Discorsi del poema eroico and the incomplete Giudicio sovra la "Gerusalemme" riformata. Ideally, this project will alllow researchers to select a given aspect of Tasso's poetic theory and see how it changes between these three treatises.