Keynote Speakers:

Prof Elena Lombardi, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford

Prof Suzanne Aspden, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford


Prof Ankhi Mukherjee, Faculty of English, University of Oxford

The Organisers:

Adele Bardazzi (Christ Church, University of Oxford), Dr David Bowe (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford), Natalya Din-Kariuki (Balliol College, University of Oxford), Julia Caterina Hartley (Christ Church, University of Oxford)

About the Speakers:

Elena Lombardi received her Laurea from the University of Pavia, with a thesis on the critical edition of Ugo Foscolo’s Lettere dall’Inghilterra, and her Ph.D. from New York University with a dissertation on Dante and the medieval theory of language. Before joining Oxford she was assistant professor in Italian Studies at McGill University (Montréal) and Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Bristol. Her main area of research is Dante and the Middle Ages. Her first book, The Syntax of Desire (Toronto, 2007), explores the interrelations between the notions of syntax and desire in medieval theology (Augustine), grammar (Modistae) and poetry (Dante). Her second book, The Wings of the Doves (McGill Queens, 2012), explores concepts of love and desire in the Middle Ages with focus on the episode of Francesca in Inferno 5. She has also published on early Italian poetry (the Sicilian School. Guido Cavalcanti, Petrarca). Other areas of interest are idea of the book in the Middle Ages, and the theme of intertextuality in the Renaissance epic-chivalric poem.

Suzanne Aspden has a D.Phil. from Oxford and has held research positions at Cambridge and in the U.S.  She taught at the University of Southampton (2003-2005) before returning to Oxford in 2005. She has broadcast extensively on BBC Radio and Television on Handel and on opera in 18th-century Britain, as well as acting as BBC Radio 3’s official blogger on Handel during their year-long anniversary celebrations in 2009.  Suzanne is co-editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal.  She is also co-editing a volume of essays on Francesco Cavalli’s Erismena with Michael Burden. Her research centres on 18th-century opera and dramatic music, and on the ways in which this music facilitates the expression of identity, whether national, personal, or dramatic. Her publications manifest these interests in varying ways; her recent monograph, The Rival Sirens: Performance and Identity on Handel’s Operatic Stage (Cambridge, 2013) brings them together.  Her next book, on music and national identity in 18th-century Britain, will offer another approach to these themes.

Ankhi Mukherjee’s first monograph, Aesthetic Hysteria: The Great Neurosis in Victorian Melodrama and Contemporary Fiction (Routledge, 2007), drew largely on Victorian literature and culture. Her second book,  What Is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (Stanford, 2013) asks how classics emanate from postcolonial histories and societies. Exploring definitive trends in twentieth- and twenty-first century English and Anglophone literature, she examines the relevance of the question of the classic for the global politics of identifying and perpetuating so-called core texts. She is currently working on an interdisciplinary project that examines the institution of psychoanalysis and its vexed relationship with race and the urban poor in the context of three global cities: Mumbai, London, and New York. She ha also co-edited, with Laura Marcus, a Blackwell Companion to PsychoanalysisLiterature, and Culture, and is currently editing After Lacan, a collection of essays on the intellectual and cultural legacies of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press).

About the Organisers:

Adele Bardazzi gained a first class honours degree in English and Italian at Royal Holloway University of London in 2013 (also winning the Harrison Award for that year). She went on to study at Christ Church, University of Oxford for a D.Phil. in Medieval and Modern Languages under the supervision of Prof. Emmanuela Tandello. Her doctoral research explores the multiple tensions between absence and presence in the poetry of Eugenio Montale and aims to explore the nature of some of his ‘care ombre’ [beloved shadows]. More specifically, she is interested in the many absent-present female figures in Montale’s poetry and, more broadly, in the figure of the feminine poetic beloved in lyric poetry. Other interests include feminist and queer theory, and the thought of Michel Foucault, to which one of her undergraduate dissertations was devoted.

David Bowe completed his D.Phil. in ‘dialogic models of conversion and self-representation in medieval Italian poetry’ at St Hilda’s College, Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Manuele Gragnolati in June 2014. Since then he has held a visiting post-doctoral fellowship at the Humanities Research Institute of the University of Leeds and a stipendiary lectureship at Balliol College, Oxford. His current project focusses on the representation of women’s voice (real and fictitious) in the literature of late medieval Italy, with a particular focus on the mode of the tenzone (poetic dialogue) as locus for gendered ‘speech’. Recent publications include ‘Text, Artefact and the Creative Process: ‘The Sad, Bewildered Quills’ of Guido Cavalcanti’, in MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities, Vol 9 (2015). From October 2015, he will be a Victoria Maltby Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford.

Natalya Din-Kariuki read for a B.A. in English Language and Literature at Wadham College, before completing a Master of Studies in English Literature (1550-1700) at Balliol College. She is now in the second year of doctoral research in English Literature. Her interests include the literary and intellectual history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, rhetorical theory, contemporary African literature, and various strands of critical theory. The focus of her doctoral thesis is the role of testimony – and its ethical, aesthetic, and epistemological aspects – in early modern travel writing on the Ottoman Empire.

Julia Caterina Hartley is a final year D.Phil. candidate at the University of Oxford, writing a thesis entitled ‘Literary vocation in Dante and Proust’, under the supervision of Manuele Gragnolati and Jennifer Yee. The idea to further explore the intersection between gender identity and artistic authority came to her through Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, when she realised that while the novel is famous for its male fictional artists (Bergotte, Elstir and Vinteuil), its passages concerned with female characters’ relationship with the arts offer a fertile ground for study. After completing her D.Phil. she therefore hopes to further explore the relationship between discourses on aesthetics and on gender and sexuality in La Recherche and other 19th and turn of the century literary works and artistic manifestoes. Her reading of Proust’s fictional character Odette in dialogue with Baudelaire’s essay ‘Le peintre de la vie moderne’ will be coming out next year in French Studies.

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