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Dr Paola Nasti – University of Reading

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Dr Paola Nasti

Dr Paola Nasti



I am the current Year Abroad Officer for Italian Studies, having previously served as Programme Director for Italian, Director of Teaching and Learning, Examination Officer and Career Officer.

I am a member of the executive committee of the UK Society for Italian Studies (SIS), and part of the executive board of the Digital Humanities project DanteLab ( I am on the editorial board of international peer-reviewed journals such as The Italianist, and Le tre Corone.


Undergraduate Teaching

I teach all levels of medieval and Renaissance Italian literature and history modules; I also teach Italian cinema, and offer comparative courses on early modern European culture, Latin and Neo-Latin literature, as well as World Cinema. I also contribute to Reading’s Italian language programme (including language for business). In addition I convene a module on independent research writing helping students to prepare for the completion of their short dissertation. Some of my modules include flexible assessment options that allow students to complete academic placement projects in schools and museums.

Select modules:

IT1GEN: Medieval and Renaissance History and Culture (focus on: Boccaccio’ s Decameron, Machiavelli’s the Prince, Vasari’s Lives of the Artists)

 IT305 Dante Alighieri (Divine Comedy) - This module includes options for academic placement projects on: 'Dante for Schools' and 'Dante and the Arts'.

ML3MRL Medieval and Renaissance Love Literature (focus on Petrarch, Italian Petrarchism and Renaissance Women's Writing)

IT205 and ML3CW Italian and World Cinema (focus on: Fellini, Bertolucci, Bellocchio, Antonioni)

 IT2PA: Poetry under attack (Defences of Poetry from Antiquity to Modernity)


 Postgraduate Teaching

At Master level and as part of the M.A. course of the Reading 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 (including apocalyptic texts); ecclesiology and hagiography in vernacular texts. I supervise MA theses on any of the above topics. I have supervised MA theses on Dante and the Bible, Dante and Theology and Dante and the arts.


Supervision of Research Students

 I supervise doctoral and post-doctoral research on all aspects of medieval and Renaissance Italian literature, on medieval intellectual and cultural history, on Italian biblical literature or translations (medieval and modern), as well as on the reception and influence of Dante.

Current candidates

Michael Biasin, Dante and the Confraternities: forms of devotions in the Comedy

Jacopo Buffo, La cultura ebraica e Dante

Previous candidates

 Stefano Santosuosso, Isabella Andreini’s 1601 ‘Rime’: A (dis)close(d) reading of the ‘Sonetti spirituali’, ‘Canzonette morali’ and ‘Egloghe boscherecce’

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

Valentina Calista, La salmodia di David Maria Turoldo: un approcicio interdisciplinare

Stefano Rosignoli, Dante, Beckett and the Problem of Free Will

Michael Sandiland, The metamorphoses of Beatrice


Areas of Interest

My main research interests include:

Dante, especially his philosophical, biblical, theological and religious culture; Dante commentary tradition and Dante's critical reception in early modern Italy; the interaction between religion, philosophy, theology and literature in late medieval Italy; Renaissance religious and spiritual poetry; the Bible and Literature.

Many of my publications focus on Dante's scriptural culture, on his theology of the Church and his representation of holiness, these matters are analysed with a particular attention to the ways in which the biblical intertext was used by Dante to compete with the dominant discourse of his intellectual and political antagonists.

A second area of interest focuses on the models, genre and ideology of both the Convivio and the Monarchia. These are analysed against the grain of late-thirteenth-century mendicant education and preaching practices. My studies cast light on how, from the margins of academia, Dante's closely followed and often challenged the intellectual and writing procedures and arguments of the most learned and innovative scholars of this own age.

An accessible synthesis of my views on many of these issues will soon be available in my chapter 'Dante and religious culture' for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the Divine Comedy, edited by Z.G. Baranski and S. Gilson, and in a chapter on 'Dante and Scriptural Culture' for the Italian Companion to Dante planned by D. Rea and J. Steinberg for Carocci.

Finally much of my work investigates modes of interpretation and hermeneutics both in Dante and in the early commentary tradition of the Commedia. The 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 insights into the complex modalities of late-medieval critical discourse and medieval Christian poetics, as well as into the cultural horizons of mendicant scholarship.


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. (

I am an active member of two current important networks/projects on Dante:

 • Re-reading Dante's Vita Nova. A collaborative project (Cambridge Oxford Leeds Warwick Bristol London Notre Dame Reading). I am a member of a project that aims to re-assess Dante's Vita Nova through a series of events and workshops.

Dante’s Florentine Vernacular Culture, 1280-1301 - I am a member of the specialist board for this project led by colleagues at the Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway, which includes the collaboration of Rome La Sapienza as well as the University of Warwick.


Prizes and Awards

Teaching and Learning Excellence Prize (The University of Reading, 2014)

Best Research Output for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (The University of Reading, 2008)


Forthcoming Publications

 ‘Religious Culture’, in Cambridge Companion to Dante’s Commedia ed. by Z. G. Baranski and S. Gilson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, In Press)

 ‘Purgatorio XVI: la teologia della liberta’ e l’ira buona’, in Lectura Dantis Bononiensis (Bologna: Bononia University Press, In Press) Nasti, P. (2017) Un santo per tutti: la rappresentazione delle stimate e modelli agiografici nella Commedia di Dante. In: Ledda, G. (ed.) Dante poeta religioso e la cultura religiosa medievale. Longo Editore, Ravenna. (In Press)




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Number of items: 15.












This list was generated on Wed Oct 27 23:09:20 2021 UTC.

, 19 (1999), pp. 5-49

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

 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.

  • About Italian Studies at the School of Languages and European Studies

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