Luca Mazzocchi

My research focuses predominantly on 20th-century Italian literature. I have just defended my PhD thesis on the Modernist writer Carlo Emilio Gadda (1893-1973), especially known for the novels Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana (1957), translated in English by William Weaver as That Awful Mess on via Merulana (1965), and La cognizione del dolore (1963), recently retranslated by Richard Dixon, for Penguin Classics, with the title The Experience of Pain (2017). My interests also include satire theory; the relationship between science and literature, especially in the work of Italo Calvino; 20th-century textual criticism and Authorial philology. I’m currently teaching Italian language at the Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. Since the academic year 2020-21, I have also been giving lectures on Italian literature for the entire first-year cohort as part of Paper IV – Modern Italian Narrative & Cinema (Primo Levi, Natalia Ginzburg).

My PhD thesis, titled ‘ “An abyss of beauty and scandal”: A study of Carlo Emilio Gadda’s L’Adalgisa’, provides the first monographic study of the collection of narrative-satirical writings on Milan titled L’Adalgisa – Disegni milanesi [Adalgisa – Milanese drawings] whcih Gadda published, in Florence, in 1944. The thesis examines L’Adalgisa through a variety of perspectives and with a close focus on multiple critical issues posed by the book, paying particular attention to how we can understand the satire practiced therein. My PhD has been fully funded by the Wolfson Post-Graduate Scholarship in the Humanities.

As reflected in my thesis, my research specialty mainly lies in Gadda studies. Together with Serena Vandi, in March 2022 I co-organised an international conference on Gadda titled Editions, translations, transmissions: ‘That Awful Mess’ of Carlo Emilio Gadda, which brought together forty Gadda scholars and was funded by a large number of funding bodies, including the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML), the Society for Italian Studies (SIS), and the Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. Following the successful outcome of the conference and the establishment of the project ‘Gadda Transmissions’, Dr Vandi and I have been editing a special issue for the journal Strumenti critici (to be published in September 2023) and have sent a proposal for a bilingual volume which has already been accepted by a publisher. We are also producing a podcast series titled ‘Gadda Transmissions’, where Gadda is presented to a public of non-specialist readers, with a focus on some issues of contemporary interest found in his works. To follow our Gadda project, you can just have a look at our Twitter or website.

Throughout the PhD, I have also written on Italo Calvino and taught other 20th-century Italian authors, including Natalia Ginzburg, Primo Levi,  and Elsa Morante.

In 2020-21, I was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Milan, looking at some Gadda’s manuscripts kept in the Archivio Storico Civico and Biblioteca Trivulziana. For an introduction to the manuscripts of L’Adalgisa you can have a look at this short presentation (in Italian), which I made for the Youtube channel Filologia d’autore. The philological formation I acquired in Italy with a BA in Classics (2015) and an MA in Modern Italian Philology (2017) at the University of Pavia, and the expertise I have working in archives, represent a crucial aspect of my research profile. In 2021, I was invited by Paola Italia to be one of the three translators of the English edition of the Italian handbook of Authorial philology which she wrote together with Giulia Raboni (Che cos’è la filologia d’autore, Rome: Carocci, 2010). The English edition is titled What is Authorial Philology? (Cambridge: OPB, 2021), and is now fully accessible online.

I am very interested in cinema, radio, and other audiovisual forms of communication, as well as in how scholars convey the results of their research to non-specialist audiences. This interest in engaging with the dissemination of research lies at the core of the project ‘Gadda Transmissions’ I am now developing with Serena Vandi. In 2019-20, while doing my PhD, I completed an annual course in film screenwriting at the Scuola Civica di Cinema ‘Luchino Visconti’ of Milan. In November 2021, I completed a course on Podcasting for Public Engagement covering academic podcasting from idea-stage to post-production, organised by the Humanities Researcher and Training Programme of the University of Oxford. 

Before starting my PhD, I also completed a Master of Studies in Modern languages (2018) at Oxford, fully funded by the Heath Harrison and The Queen’s College Graduate Studentship.


2023: DPhil [PhD] – University of Oxford | Exeter College.

2018: MSt – University of Oxford | The Queen’s College.

2017: Laurea magistrale [MA] – Università degli Studi di Pavia | Almo Collegio BorromeoScuola Universitaria Superiore – Institute for Advanced Study IUSS.

2015: Laurea triennale [BA] – Università degli Studi di Pavia | Almo Collegio BorromeoScuola Universitaria Superiore – Institute for Advanced Study IUSS.

Main research interests

Modern & contemporary Italian literature. Carlo Emilio Gadda. Satire. Relationship science-literature. Archives, manuscripts & authorial philology. Practises of dissemination & public engagement in research.  


Edited volumes

- Gadda Transmissions: Carlo Emilio Gadda across boundaries, languages, and systems, ed. by Luca Mazzocchi and Serena Vandi (Oxford: Legenda). Forthcoming in 2023. Book proposal accepted.

- Nuovi dialoghi gaddiani (Gadda Transmissions), journal special issue ed. by Luca Mazzocchi and Serena Vandi, Strumenti critici, XXXVIII (2023), 3. Forthcoming. Manuscript sent to the journal editorial team.

Peer-reviewed journal articles | Book chapters

- ‘“Li ammirai stupefatto da ragazzo”: Le note dell’Adalgisa’, journal special issue Nuovi dialoghi gaddiani (Gadda Transmissions), ed. by Luca Mazzocchi and Serena Vandi, Strumenti critici, XXXVIII (2023), 3. Forthcoming.

- ‘“Quasicché a propria volta l’autore si tuffi”: Voce narrante e satira nell’Adalgisa’, in Carlo Emilio Gadda. Un seminario, ed. by Valentino Baldi and Cristina Savettieri (Milan: Mimesis, 2022), pp. 135-158.

- ‘Per Quattro figlie ebbe e ciascuna regina dell’Adalgisa: Genesi e primo abbozzo inedito’, Strumenti critici, XXXIV (2019), 1, 107-126.

Conference papers

- ‘“Occhi al cielo”: Note sulla luna nel secondo Calvino’, in Letteratura e Scienze, Atti delle sessioni parallele del XXIII Congresso dell’ADI (Associazione degli Italianisti), Pisa, 12-14 Settembre 2019, ed. by Alberto Casadei, Francesca Fedi, Annalisa Nacinovich and Andrea Torre (Rome: ADI, 2021), pp. 1-22.

Glossary entries

- ‘Azimutale’, ‘Cèleuma’, ‘Centauro-saetta’, ‘Mauriziato’ and ‘Scarligare’, in Gaddabolario. Duecentodiciannove parole dell’Ingegnere, ed. by Paola Italia (Rome: Carocci, 2022), pp. 26-27, 44-45, 45-46, 100-101 and 133.


- Ch. 2, ‘Methods’, in What Is Authorial Philology?, ed. by Paola Italia, Giulia Raboni, et al. (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2021), pp. 29-69 [English translation from the Italian: ch. 2, ‘Metodi’, in Paola Italia and Giulia Raboni, Che cos’è la filologia d’autore (Rome: Carocci, 2010), pp. 38-71].

Book reviews

Review of Gadda: interpreti a confronto, ed. by Federica Pedriali (Florence: Cesati, 2020), Modern Language Review, 118, 1 (2023), pp. 145-146.

Non-academic publications

- ‘Carlo Emilio Gadda, fifty years after his death’, Electra, 21. Published also in Portuguese as: ‘Carlo Emilio Gadda: no cinquentenário da sua morte’, in the Portuguese edition of Electra, 21.



-  ‘That most protean literary something: Introducing satire’, as part of the 2022-2023 Medieval and Modern Languages Graduate Lecture Series (7 Feb. 2023).

- Prelims Paper IV: Modern Italian Narrative and Cinema. Lectures 1-4: Primo Levi (MT 2020, 2021, 2022); Natalia Ginzburg (MT 2021, 2022).

- FHS Paper XI: Modern Prescribed Authors. Tutor at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, for the author Elsa Morante (MT 2021 and HT 2021).


- Final Year Essay. 

- Second Year Prose.

Conference presentations

3-5.07.2023. ‘“La tristezza delle cose lontane”: Distanza e prossimità nella satira, rileggendo i “disegni milanesi” di Gadda’. Prossimità e distanza, XIII Convegno dottorale, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Macroarea di Lettere e Filosofia. 

15-17.03.2022. ‘The variants of L’Adalgisa: Genetic perspectives on a collection of “Disegni milanesi” by Carlo Emilio Gadda’, in the panel titled ‘Genetic criticism and scholarly editing: Methodological issues’. Genesis 2022 – Creative revision: exercises in comparative genetic criticism, Jesus College, Oxford.

10-12.03.2022. ‘Making a difference: On the satire of L’Adalgisa’, in the panel titled: ‘Psychology, laughter, satire’. Editions, translations, transmissions: ‘That Awful Mess’ of Carlo Emilio Gadda – An international conference, St Hugh’s College and Exeter College, Oxford.

12-14.09.2019. ‘“Occhi al cielo’: Note per un “lunario calviniano”’, in the panel titled: ‘Italo Calvino e il dialogo tra letteratura e scienze’. Letteratura e scienze, XXIII Congresso dell’ADI (Associazione degli Italianisti), Università di Pisa.

26-28.06.2019. ‘Per Quattro figlie ebbe e ciascuna regina: Ricognizioni genetiche e note critiche su un “disegno milanese”’, in the panel titled ‘Satire, Satura, Revelation: Perspectives on Carlo Emilio Gadda’. 2019 Society for Italian Studies Biennal Conference, University of Edinburgh.

Conference organisation (with conference grants awarded)

10-12.03.2022. Editions, translations, transmissions. ‘That Awful Mess’ of Carlo Emilio Gadda – An international conference, St Hugh’s College and Exeter College, Oxford. Funded by the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML), the Society for Italian Studies (SIS), and the Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages.

24.06.2019. Bodies and embodiment. The 2019 Oxford Medieval and Modern Languages Graduate Network Conference, featuring a key-note talk by Prof. Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham), University of Oxford. Funded by the Oxford Medieval and Modern Languages Graduate Network.

Public talks and dissemination of research

In production. Podcast series titled ‘Gadda Transmissions’. Dialogues with experts on interdisciplinary topics inspired by Carlo Emilio Gadda’s work. Co-organised with Dr Serena Vandi.

24.10.2022. Invited talk to the Subject Family Dinner at Exeter College, University of Oxford. Talk title: ‘That awful mess of Carlo Emilio Gadda’.

9.05.2020. Episode ‘Luca Mazzocchi parla dell’Adalgisa di Gadda’ for the Youtube channel Filologia d’autore, as part of the series Storie d’autore.

Roles at the Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages

2019-2020. Sub-Faculty of Italian Research Seminar Committee of Oxford, Secretary.

2018-2019. Sub-Faculty of Italian Research Seminar Committee of Oxford, Coordinator for the Modern Area.

2018-2019. Oxford Medieval and Modern Languages Graduate Network, Academic Events Officer. 

2018-2019. Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages of Oxford, PhD Cohort Representative.

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