Professor E Lombardi

Elena Lombardi
The Paget Toynbee Lecturer in Italian Medieval Studies
Fellow of Balliol College
Tutor at St. Peter’s College and Jesus College


Academic background

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 explores the interrelations between the notions of syntax and desire in medieval theology (Augustine), grammar (Modistae) and poetry (Dante). Her second book 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.


Italian medieval Literature, especially Dante, early Italian poetry, Petrarca.



The Wings of the Doves. Love and Desire in Dante and Medieval Culture. Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 2012

The Syntax of Desire. Language and Love in Augustine, the Modistae, Dante. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

Co-edited books

Dantean Dialogues. Engaging with the Legacy of Amilcare Iannucci, E. Lombardi and M. Kilgour eds. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming

Desire in Dante and the Middle Ages. E. Lombardi, M. Gragnolati, F. Southerden and T. Kay eds. Oxford: Legenda, 2012

Articles and Chapters in Books

‘Inferno 5’ in Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana, C. Rossignoli and R. Wilson eds. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, forthcoming

‘ “Che libido fe’ licito in sua legge”. Lust and Law, Reason and Passion in Dante’ in Dantesque Dialogues. Engaging with the Legacy of Amilcare Iannucci, M. Kilgour and E. Lombardi eds. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming

‘ “Per aver pace coi seguaci sui” civil, religious and erotic peace in Inferno 5’ in War and Peace in Dante, J. Barnes ed. Dublin: Dublin Dante Series, forthcoming

‘Dante and Augustine’ in Reviewing Dante’s Theology, M. Treherne and C. Honess eds. Oxford: Peter Lang, forthcoming

‘Plurilingualism sub specie aeternitatis. Language/s in Dante’s Commedia’ in Dante’s Plurilingualism. Authority, Vulgarization, Subjectivity, M. Gragnolati, S. Fortuna and J. Trabant eds. Oxford: Legenda, 2010, 133-147.

‘ “I desire therefore I am”. Petrarch’s Canzoniere between the medieval and modern notion of desire’ in Early Medievalism. The Interplay between Scholarly Reflection and Artistic Production, A. Montoya, S. van Romburgh, W. van Anrooij eds. Leiden: Brill, 2010, 19-43

‘Of Bikes and Men. The Crossing of three Narratives in Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves’ Studies in European Cinema 6 (2009): 113-26

‘Scar narrative – sore narrative. The liquidation of realism in D’Annunzio’s Giovanni Episcopo and l’Innocente’ Quaderni di Italianistica 27 (2006): 107-38

‘Traduzione e riscrittura: da Folchetto al Notaio’ The Italianist 24 (2004): 5-19

‘The Grammar of Vision in Guido Cavalcanti’ in Guido Cavalcanti tra i suoi lettori, M.L. Ardizzone ed. Florence: Cadmo, 2003, 83-92

‘Per l’edizione critica delle Lettere scritte dall’Inghilterra’ Studi di Filologia Italiana, 53 (1995): 249-344

Lettere scritte dall’Inghilterra in Ugo Foscolo, Opere, II. Turin: Einuadi-Gallimard, 1995), 447-502

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