Modern literature and philology

Modern literature and philology

Research activity in Modern literature and philology

This PhD programme aims to develop students’ competences in three important fields: literature, philology and linguistics, with particular reference (as far as literary and philological studies are concerned) to the Western tradition from the Middle Ages to the present. The integration of these three areas – quite a unique endeavour within the Italian and international context – means that students will be able to rely on a consolidated research tradition while exploring new methods and research issues.

In the field of Italian literature, the research is focused on various periods, from its origins to the present, with special attention paid to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque age. This area is characterised by its being open to a comparative approach, as well as a constant discussion of the most important theoretical and methodological acquisitions; it will welcome projects focused on the relationship between text and image (for example the art of memory, emblems and illustrated editions), in which traditional methods of textual analysis interact with various critical methodologies, such as the history of the book and manuscript, reception theory, paratextual analysis and iconology.

In the field of European literature and culture, research is focused on Elizabethan theatre, and in particular on Shakespearean philology and criticism, as well as the most important authors of English romanticism and European modernism (Joyce, Woolf, Proust, Beckett). Apart from the literary traditions expressed by different European countries, literature is studied as a global phenomenon, in its interactions with the figurative arts, music, and contemporary figures of intertextuality and intermediality. Among the discussed themes, an important place will be given to problems of literary translation within the field of theatre, both ancient and modern, as well as to issues of female identity and writing.

Philological research is focused mainly on the Latin and Romance Middle Age tradition, with special reference to the theory and practice of textual criticism, variant reading also in stylistic terms, and the history of the discipline. PhD students will be actively engaged in current research projects regarding tradition, critical edition and the lexicographic study of vernacular texts (in collaboration with the Edizione Nazionale degli antichi volgarizzamenti and the Opera del Vocabolario italiano); lyric poetry in the Trecento; translation of the Italian sirventeses.

The linguistic studies are carried out in line with research approaches which favour the typological description of linguistic varieties. Among these are the Italian dialects, presently “endangered”, which are analysed in diachronic terms as present in the writings of past epochs, and according to a consolidated tradition based on an indissoluble complementarity of philological and linguistic competences. Such a focus on theoretical aspects is accompanied by an application of experimental methods, as well as computational analysis, aimed to reveal the statistic regularities underlying the stochastic distribution of linguistic facts. The following sectors will be developed in particular: experimental phonetics and phonology (acoustic-articulatory and prosodic features of certain languages and dialects); semantics (with special attention to verbal systems); morphosyntax; computational linguistics.

The PhD programme is supported by the activities of two laboratories, which are provided with computer equipment and open to research students: the Centre for Data Processing of Texts and Images in Literary Tradition – Centro di Elaborazione Informatica di Testi e Immagini nella Tradizione Letteraria (CTL), and the Linguistic laboratory: Laboratorio di Linguistica “Giovanni Nencioni”

Thanks to an extended network of international relationships, PhD students will have the opportunity to spend various research periods in Paris, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and Collège de France, in New York, at New York University, in Cambridge (Mass.), at Harvard University, in Los Angeles at UCLA, in London, at the Warburg Institute and in other centers targeted to the individual student’s needs.

Available scholarships for autumn session: 5