Dr Serena Vandi

Dr Serena Vandi, B.A. (Bologna), M.A. (Bologna), Ph.D. (Leeds)
Powys Roberts Research Fellow in European Literature,



Research interests: Dante Alighieri; Carlo Emilio Gadda; Medieval and Twentieth-century literature and culture; reception of Dante; intertextuality; comparative literature; stylistics; satire.


Serena Vandi’s research focuses on the Italian modernist writer Carlo Emilio Gadda, particularly on his anti-fascist works and his use of satire. Her project, ‘Gadda: Fascism, Satire and Truth’, has a two-fold aim: firstly, to investigate and reassess Gadda’s relationship with fascism, building on the recent publication of the original uncensored version of his main anti-fascist work, Eros e Priapo; secondly, to investigate the more general relationship between power, satire and truth.

Serena has worked for many years on Dante Alighieri and Gadda, coming to a thorough reassessment of the traditional way of interpreting the relationship between these two cornerstones of Italian literature (Satura: varietà per verità in Dante and Gadda, doctoral thesis in the process of being published). With a comparative approach, she has made use of the category of ‘satura’, in order to identify the relationship between ‘variety’ and ‘truth’ as a fundamental structure in the works of Dante and Gadda, thus offering a reflection on some general matters in literary criticism, in particular on the relationship between the formal structure of the text and its ethical-gnoseological potentiality.



  • Ph.D. in Italian (University of Leeds)

  • Diploma of the Collegio Superiore (University of Bologna)

  • M.A. in Italian Studies (University of Bologna)

  • B.A. in Italian Literature (University of Bologna)


Academic background

Serena Vandi studied in Bologna, where she obtained her B.A. and M.A. in Italian studies and where she was a student of the Collegio Superiore. She then worked as a museum curator, a proofreader, an organizer of language and career events for students at the University of Bologna, and a secondary school teacher of Italian and History.

In 2019, she obtained her Ph.D. in Italian studies at the University of Leeds, with the thesis ‘Satura: varietà per verità in Dante e Gadda’ (‘Satura: Truth through Variety in Dante and Gadda’), which is in the process of being converted into a monograph. At the University of Leeds, as a Ph.D. student and then as a LAHRI Short-Term Postdoctoral Fellow, Serena taught Italian language and literature at all levels, especially Dante and Italian crime fiction, and she worked as a Research Culture intern. She presented her research at many international conferences (Bologna, Leeds, Harvard, Hull, Sussex, Groningen, Edinburgh, Ravenna); she co-organised in Leeds an international conference on Dante (‘L’ombra sua torna’: Dante, the twentieth century and beyond, 2017) and an international research day on Gadda (Un laboratorio per l’ingegnere. A Research Day on Gadda, 2018); she was a member of the ‘Leeds Centre for Dante Studies’ and of the interdisciplinary research group ‘ItaLeeds: Researching Italy from Leeds’.



Dante and 19th and 20th century literature.



  • ‘Dante and Gadda: Outsider Prophets’, in Resistance in Italian Culture from Dante to the 21st Century, edited by Ambra Moroncini, Darrow Schecter, Fabio Vighi (Firenze: Franco Cesati, 2019)

  •  ‘Dante in Gadda: lirismo “ricombinante” ne La Madonna dei Filosofi’, L’Alighieri 45 (2015), 35-70

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