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Dr Paola Nasti – University of Reading

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Dr Paola Nasti

Name:
Dr Paola Nasti
Job Title:
Associate Professor
Dr Paola Nasti

Contact

Responsibilities

I am the Italian Year Abroad Officer and departmental Careers Officer.  I am the co-organiser of the Post-Graduate Training Consortium in Italian Studies (comprising the Italian Departments of Reading, UCL, RHUL, Oxford and Cambridge) and part of the executive committee of the UK Society for Italian Studies (SIS). I am a member of the executive committee of the Digital Humanities project DanteLab (http://dantelab.dartmouth.edu).

Areas of Interest

My current research covers four major areas. Many of my publications focus on Dante's theology of the Church and  his representation of sainthood, these matters are analysed with a particular attention to the ways in which the biblical intertext was used by Dante and some of his intellectual and political antagonists; this mode of reading has led me to read the Monarchia as the poet's response to the Augustinian Friars' intense campaign in the early 1300s in favour of papal primacy, and has allowed me to establish the depth of influence of Bonaventurean notions of caritas on Dante's representation of the Church in the Commedia. The latter point is fundamental for understanding Dante's celebration of brautmistik and his eroticization of the mystery of the stigmata. A second area of interest focuses on the Convivio, its models, its genre and its ideology. In the long essay that I have sent you, I analyse the contamination between the exegesis of the sapiential books and Aristotele's Ethics within mendicant education and preaching in late-thirteenth-century Florence, and the significance of these didactic practices for the study of problematic philosophical arguments in the Convivio and in the Monarchia. My interest in teaching and hermeneutic traditions has more recently steered me to explore the similarities between the Convivio and the Dominican Friar Nicholas Trevet's famous commentary on Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, published in the late Duecento or early Trecento. My forthcoming article shows how Dante's intellectual and writing practices closely follow those of the most learned and innovative scholars of this own age. Finally much of my work investigates modes of interpretation and hermeneutics both in Dante and in the early commentary tradition of the Commedia. The recent collection of essays I have co-edited is a timely contribution to the study of the Dante commentaries and is the first such study in the Anglophone world. In this field my interest is once again focussed on the work of a mendicant friar: the Carmelite Guido da Pisa, whose work, the Expositiones et glose, offers invaluable insight into the complex modalities of late-medieval critcal discourse and medieval Christian poetics, as well as into the cultural horizons of mendicant scholarship.

Further research on Dante's indebtedness to Franciscan, Dominican and Augustinian masters, as well as mendicant responses to Dante - including the unexplored Carmelite cult of the poet - will complement the studies in which I am currently engaged, to form the core of a monograph on Dante and mendicant intellectual, ecclesial and spiritual culture (provisional title: Discenti and Maestri: Dante amongst the Friars, (2016).

 

Undergraduate Teaching

Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Boccaccio and Dante)

Dante Alighieri (Divine Comedy) - This module includes options for academic placements

Petrarch and Italian Petrarchism

Renaissance Women's Writing

Italian Cinema

 

Postgraduate Teaching

Within the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies and the GCMS I offer options on Dante's Divine Comedy, Dante's minor works; Dante's intellectual formation; Italian poetry of the origins; the Bible in vernacular literature; ecclesiology and hagiography in vernacular texts.

 

Supervision of Research Students

I am happy to supervise students' postdoctoral research on any aspect of Medieval Italian literature, on intellectual and cultural history and on Italian biblical literature or translation (medieval and modern).

 

Current PhD students

Valentina Calista, Turoldo's biblical poetry.

Micahel MacDermott, 1800s Romanesco and Trasteverino Translations of the Gospel According to Matthew. 

Stefano Rosignoli, Beckett, Joyce and Dante.

Stefano Santosuosso, Isabella Andreini's Rime, between orality and writing, theatre and academies, Italy and France.

 

Past PhD students

Micahel Sandilands, Dante and Beatrice from the Vita Nova to the Comedy.

 

Forthcoming Publications:

"The Bloodless Saint: Francis' stigmata in the Comedia", Le Tre Corone (2014) 

"Boezio redidivus: intellectual crossovers between Dante and Nicholas Trevet", Convivio: a Radical Text. Proceedings of the International Symposium, Gottingen, April 2013, late 2014.

"Dante's Monarchia: epistemology and power", in a new companion on Dante's works edited by Notre Dame University Press, 2016.

"The bride's song: a biblical language of praise from the Laude Cortonesi to Vittoria Colonna" (2015).

Projects

A classicizing friar in Italy. The lore of Nicholas Trevet in 14th and 15th century Italy.

Nicholas Trevet, a Dominican friar and doctor from Oxford, was the most influential early 14th century commentator of pivotal classic texts: from Boethius to Livius and from Virgil to Seneca (tragicus). Trevet was also the most contemporary commentator of Augustine. His commentaries were widely read (as testified by the impressive manuscript tradition) and studied in both lay and religious circles. In particular, his commentary on Boethius was translated in a variety of Italian vernaculars and references to him are clear in the works of humanist writers.

The impact of his work as a commentator has remained largely unexplored, this is mainly due to the fact that onlysome of his work has only recently been edited and printed. But it is also partly justified by the difficulty that scholarship has had in classifying and understanding the pivotal role of mendicant theologians for the revival of classical studies. Following the seminal work of B. Smalley, contemporary scholars have investigated the influence of Trevet on Chaucer and Gower (A. Minnis). But with the meaningful except of Deane and Kristeller little or nothing has been done for the Italian late medieval period and/or the early humanism. Given the renewed interest in intellectual networks and relationships in medieval Italian schools and Renaissance academies research in this field of work is in my view timely.

My project aims at investigating the ways in which Trevet's work was received in different cultural and intellectual contexts and discourses, from the philosophical to the lyrical, from the theoretical to the creative in XIVth century Italy. In particular I shall like to focus on the unaccounted reception of Trevet in Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio and the late XIV century Florentine and Tuscan culture. As mentioned Trevet's work on Seneca and Livius has been published over the last decades. His essential commentary on Boethius has not bee edited yet. A diplomatic edition of the text could be included in my project depending on funding and interest raised. The project would have a digital interface.

Research groups / Centres

I am a member of the Reading Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, the University of Reading's Centre for Film Aesthetics and Culture, and the research cluster on Language, Text and Power. (http://www.reading.ac.uk/languagetextpower/ltp-home.aspx)

Publications

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, 19 (1999), pp. 5-49

'La memoria del Canticum e la Vita Nuova: una nota preliminare', The Italianist, 18 (1998), pp. 14-27

 Postgraduate supervision:

I am currently co-supervising a PhD on Dante, Beckett and Joice, and I am happy to supervise postgraduate studies on Dante as well as on any aspect of Medieval and early Renaissance Italian Literature (from the Scuola Siciliana, and Guittone d'Arezzo to Petrarch and the development of metric and book forms like the sonnet and the Canzoniere). Enquiries are also welcome concerning postgraduate research on teh relationship between the Bible and Italian Literature (from the middle ages to the 20th century), apolcalyptic narratives, Franciscan traditions, monastic and mystical medieval texts.

Conferences and Seminars

2010 University of Bristol, Poetry, Theology and the Song of Songs. Invited paper on the Song of Sngs, Dante and representations of martyrdom, 17 November 2010

2010 Venice SIS Conference, Mysticism and Religion in Italian Culture. I presented a paper on the representation of the stigmata in Paradiso XI, May 2010

2009 Centro Dantesco dei Frati Minori Conventuali, La Bibba di Dante. Invited public lecture on Dante and wisdom literature, 7 November 2009

2008 Università Statale di Milano, Esperiment Danteschi. I delivered an invited public Lectura Dantis on Inferno III and IV,27 February 2008

2005 British Academy funded Conference. The Dante Commentary Tradition: Critical Discourse in the Making, 3-5 April 2005, Manchester. I have co-organised this event and been awarded by the British Academy a scholarship for International Conferences.

2005 University of Cambridge, Italian Seminar Series, I gave a paper entitled 'Echoes of the Song of Songs in Italian vernacular poetry'

2003 Robinson College, University of Cambridge, International conference: "Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry". I gave a paper entitled: 'Of this and the other world, meditations on Dante's ecclesiology', 12–14 December 2003

2001 University of Manchester, EPOCC Seminars. I have contributed an invited paper on 'Sweetness and modesty: the construction of Dante's sacred poetry', 12 November 2001

2001 University College Dublin for the Dante Series on 'Dante and the Church' I gave a paper entitled 'Images of the Church in the Heaven of the Sun', 12 February 2001.

2001 University College Dublin for the 'Research Seminars in Italian Studies', I contributed a paper on 'The voice of desire: Poetry and resurrection in Paradiso XIV', 14 February 2001.

2000 University College London, 'UCL-Reading Italian Studies Seminar', I delivered a paper on 'Le fonti salomoniche di Dante', 23 February 2000.

1997 University College London, Roundtable: 'Reading Dante in Context'. I gave a paper entitled: 'Il Salomone dantesco: ricezione ed appropriazione', 3 March 2001.

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