Francesca Southerden

Fellow & Tutor in Italian; Associate Professor of Italian
Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages

My main area of research is in medieval Italian literature, with a particular focus on the relationship between language and desire, and between subjectivity and poetic space.

I am currently working on a book entitled Dante and Petrarch in the Garden of Language: Towards a Relational Poetics. It posits the Garden of Eden as a privileged site to investigate Dante and Petrarch’s thinking about language and desire, both in the poets’ extensive reimagining of it in the universe of their vernacular poetry and in their meditations on language in their Latin works. I am author of Landscapes of Desire in the Poetry of Vittorio Sereni (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) and co-editor, with Manuele Gragnolati, Tristan Kay, and Elena Lombardi, of Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages (Oxford: Legenda, 2012).

Recent essays and articles I have published include: ‘Between Autobiograph and Apocalypse: The Double Subject of Polemic in Petrarch’s Liber sine nomine and Rerum vulgarium fragmenta’, in Polemic: Language as Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Discourse, ed. by Almut Suerbaum and others (London: Ashgate, 2015); ”The Ghost of a Garden: Seeds of Discourse and Desire in Petrarch’s Triumphus Mortis II’, Le tre corone. Rivista di studi su Dante, Petrarca, e Boccaccio (I, 2014); ‘Desire as a Dead Letter: A Reading of Petrarch’s RVF 125’, in Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages (op. cit.)

I am Associate Professor of Italian at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Somerville College. I previously held the post of Assistant Professor of Italian at Wellesley College, MA (2010-2016).

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