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. This work has resulted in the monograph Satura. Varietà per verità in Dante and Gadda (Milan: Mimesis, 2021). 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.


Serena Vandi is Early Career Academics Representative in the Society for Italian Studies (SIS) and Italian Studies Representative in the Early Career Academics Special Interest Group in the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML).



  • 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 has been 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 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.



Satura. Varietà per verità in Dante e Gadda (Milan: Mimesis, 2021)


Articles and book chapters

  • ‘«Dal nero fondo della miniera alla luce». L’antifascismo dantesco di Gadda’, «Per Dante Alighieri (1321-2021)». Fascicolo monografico nella cinquantesima annata di «Italianistica», edited by Giorgio Masi, with the collaboration of Gloria Scarfone, Italianistica, L, n. 1 (2021), 331-342.

  • ‘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), 65-77.

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

Book reviews

  • Review of Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, edited by Saverio Bellomo and Stefano Carrai (Turin: Einaudi, 2019), Textual Cultures, 13.2 (2020), 288-291.

  • Review of Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy. Volume 3, edited by George Corbett, Heather Webb (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2017), Modern Language Review, 115.1 (2020), 188-190.

Conference and workshop organisation

  • Editions, Translations, Transmissions. ‘That Awful Mess’ of Carlo Emilio Gadda [international conference], University of Oxford, 11-12 March 2022.

  • «L’ombra sua torna» 2021: Dante, il novecento e oltre [international conference], Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 19-20-21 April 2021.

  • Un laboratorio per l’ingegnere. A Research Day on Gadda [international research workshop], University of Leeds, 21 May 2018.

  • «L’ombra sua torna»: Dante, the twentieth century and beyond [international conference], University of Leeds, 24-25 March 2017.


Serena Vandi has presented her research at several international conferences: Alma Dante 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 (Bologna, Ravenna), International Medieval Congress 2017, 2019 (Leeds), Chiasmi Brown-Harvard Graduate Student Conference in Italian Studies 2017 (Harvard), SIS Biennial Conference 2017, 2019 (Hull, Edinburgh), SIS Themed Conference 2018 (Sussex), SIS Postgraduate Colloquium 2016 (Leeds).



  • «Com’occhio per lo mare». Dante e la lingua che non c’è [public lecture on Dante’s Commedia, with stage readings of the text], event organised by Bellaria-Igea Marina City Council, in the occasion of the 700th centenary of Dante Alighieri’s death, Bellaria-Igea Marina (RN), 5 June 2021.

  • Dante e Gadda a confronto. Nuove prospettive su Dante e il Novecento [online interview], ‘Connessione Straordinaria’ series, organised by the students and the alumni of the Collegio Superiore of the University of Bologna, 28 May 2021.

  • Una giornata con l’ingegner Gadda [podcast, inteview], ‘Pour Parler Podcast’, 21 May 2018.

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