Paolo De Ventura
Colleges, School and Institutes
My formation began in Italy (degree in History of the Italian Language from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, under the guidance of Luca Serianni; diploma in Library Sciences from the Vatican Library), and continued in the USA (graduate courses on Linguistics and Literary Theory at Duquesne and Cornell University). I spent nine years at Harvard University, studying, researching and teaching (excellence in teaching award, 1998-1999-2000), and attaining my M.A. and Ph.D, under the guidance of Prof. Fido and Prof. Pertile, my maestro in the field of Dante studies. I have been working in the Department of Italian Studies at Birmingham since 2004.
My main area of research has revolved around Dante’s Comedy and its Medieval, French, Occitan and Latin context, using a linguistic and philological approach as a privileged standpoint for literary criticism. I am particularly interested in the peculiarity of Medieval language, with its dramatic and performative elements embedded within the written page. In my first book, I focused on the close relationship between Dante’s text and the notion of drama and orality typical of the time, using a textual analysis based on diachronic and pragmatic linguistics. Within this perspective, rather than the initiator of the Italian literature, Dante appears as the arrival point of a number of varied and complex traditions. In this context, performance, music and dramatic representations were intrinsic to vernacular “literature”, which was still developing and not yet classifiable as “national”. I am currently working on the significance of the Old French and Provençal tradition as subtexts for the early Italian literary works, with special attention to the character of Merlin. Another strand of my current research focuses on the Dantean motifs in the Rossetti family, and on the language of 19th-century Italian writers (in particular, I provided a critical text for the Standard National Edition of the complete works of Luigi Capuana).
Willingness to take PhD students
Paolo De Ventura's main area of research has revolved around Dante’s Comedy and its Medieval, French, Occitan and Latin context, using a linguistic and philological approach as a privileged standpoint for literary criticism. He is particularly interested in the peculiarity of Medieval language, with its dramatic and performative elements embedded within the written page.
At present, Dr De Ventura is supervising the research of three PhD students in the areas of linguistics and Medieval Studies.