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David Bowe

Victoria Maltby Junior Research Fellow
MA (Oxon), MSt, DPhil
Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages (sub faculty of Italian)

David is currently working on representations of female and feminine voices in medieval Italian literature, from the Origins, via the works of Guittone d’Arezzo and the Compiuta Donzella di Firenze amongst others, to Dante’s Beatrix loquax. He is interested in dialogue (especially the tenzone tradition) and dialogism as well as intersections between material culture and poetic imagery. He is the current Postdoctoral mentor for the interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Masters Programme and a Retained Lecturer in Italian at Pembroke College.

He completed a DPhil on dialogic models of conversion and self-representation in medieval Italian poetry in 2014 and has previously held visiting fellowships at the University of Leeds Centre for Dante Studies and Humanities Research Institute, as well as stipendiary and college lectureships at Balliol, Jesus, and St Peter’s Colleges, Oxford. In 2016 he was an Associate Lecturer at the University of York.

David was a founding member and convener of the TORCH Network, Gender and Authority, co-funded by the Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute, which hosts twice termly seminars and other activities. He also convenes the Introductions to Medieval Culture series, aimed at undergraduate and first-year graduate students, and teaches FHS papers on Dante and medieval Italian literature.

Publications
  • 'Versions of a Feminine Voice: The Compiuta Donzella di Firenze', in Italian Studies 73.1, 1-4
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00751634.2018.1402542 This article offers a detailed reading of the surviving sonnets of the poet known as the Compiuta Donzella di Firenze, paying particular attention to her performance of a feminine subject and critical engagement with common lyric tropes. A lack of biographical information about the Compiuta Donzella, the first woman to whom literary texts in the Italian vernacular are attributed, has led to speculation over her identity and ‘authenticity’, or to biographical readings of her texts. Acknowledging the same sorts of playful, ironic, and performative lyric subject and content in the Compiuta Donzella’s work that are commonly ascribed to other lyric voices allows us to appreciate the technical and thematic artifice in her sonnets. Comparative close readings of her surviving texts and some responses to them (by Guittone d’Arezzo, Maestro Rinuccino or Guido Guinizzelli, and an anonymous poet) provides a broader perspective on her work as engaged in active dialogue with the lyric context of thirteenth-century Italy.
  • ‘Dante e la “serena”: lettura sbagliata, “performance” fallita’, Atti del 2014 seminario dantesco 'AlmaDante', ed. by Giuseppe Ledda & Filippo Zanini (Bologna: Petali), pp. 189-201.
    Lo scopo di questo intervento è di identificare e interpretare un momento intertestuale, nel XIX canto del Purgatorio di Dante, in cui il poeta effettua una rivalutazione della propria storia letteraria attraverso l’esperienza del Dante personaggio a guisa di spettatore e lettore.
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  • ‘Text, Artefact and the Creative Process: the Sad Bewildered Quills of Guido Cavalcanti’, MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities, 9, pp. 9-20
    A manuscript presupposes a scribe. In fact, it quite literally presupposes a hand (manus) that writes (scribere), and this is precisely what Guido Cavalcanti (c. 1255-1300) offers us in his tragic yet playful depiction of the act of writing in the sonnet ‘Noi siàn le triste penne 9 isbigottite’ [We are the sad, bewildered quills].
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