Professor Simon Gilson
Teaching and research interests
Tel: 024 7657 3095
BA (Leeds), PhD (Cantab)
Simon Gilson studied Italian and French at Leeds University (1986-91) and then took his PhD in Italian at Cambridge University (1992-95). He was lecturer in Italian at Leeds University (1998-99) and came to Warwick in 1999 where he is now Professor of Italian. He has also taught at the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford and at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. At Warwick, he served as Head of Department (2006-09), and as the first Head of Sub-Faculty of Modern Languages, made up of the Departments of French, German, Italian, Hispanic Studies, and the Language Centre (2012-14).
His research covers (1) Dante, especially his scientific, philosophical and theological culture; (2) the Dante commentary tradition, c. 1322-1570; (3) interactions between science and literature (but also philosophy, theology, literature) in late medieval Italy; (4) Dante's critical reception and the cultural, literary and intellectual history of fourteenth-, fifteenth-, and sixteenth-century Italy, especially Tuscany and the Veneto. His interest in literature and science led to an edited volume (with Pierpaolo Antonello) on Science and Literature in Italian Culture From Dante to Calvino (Oxford: Legenda, 2004). His work on Dante's Renaissance reception includes a book Dante and Renaissance Florence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005; paperback 2009), articles on Dante commentary, and a study of the reception of the Convivio from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. He is working on Benedetto Varchi's vernacular commentaries on Aristotle and a monograph on the sixteenth-century reception of Dante in Florence and Venice.
He is the joint Senior Editor of the journal Italian Studies and the General Editor of the monograph series Italian Perspectives published by Legenda.
He is currently involved in one major AHRC-funded research project: 'Dante and Late Medieval Florence: Theology in Poetry, Practice and Society' (see http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125117/dante_and_late_medieval_florence/1701/research_programme) and an ERC project with Marco Sgarbi and David Lines. He was closely involved in a further major AHRC-funded project, 'Vernacular Aristotelianism in Renaissance Italy: c. 1450-c. 1600' (see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/ren/projects/vernaculararistotelianism/). He directed a strand of Mellon-funded workshops 'Reading Publics in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe' (see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/ren/warwicknewberry/mellon-newberry/renaissanceandearlymoderncommunities/readingpublics/).
(1) Medieval Optics and Theories of Light in the Works of Dante (Lewiston, Queenston, and Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000)
(2) Dante and Renaissance Florence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005; paperback edition 2009)
(1) ed. with Pierpaolo Antonello, Science and Literature in Italian Culture from Dante to Calvino (Oxford: Legenda and MHRA, 2004)
(2) ed. with Brian Richardson and Catherine Keen, Theatre, Opera and Performance in Italy from the Fifteenth Century to the Present (Leeds: The Society for Italian Studies, 2004)
(3) ed. with Fabrizio De Donno, Beyond Catholicism. Heresy, Mysticism and Apolocalypse in Italian Culture (New York: Palgrave, 2014)
(1) ‘Dante’s Meteorological Optics: Reflection, Refraction, and the Rainbow’, Italian Studies, 52 (1997), 51-62
(2) ‘Dante and the Science of “Perspective”: A Reappraisal’, Dante Studies, 115 (1997) [published 1999], 185-219; reprinted in Dante the Critical Complex: Dante and Philosophy: Nature, the Cosmos and the Ethical Imperative, ed. by Richard Lansing (London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 305-39
(3) ‘“Dal Centro al Cerchio”: Paradiso XIV. 1-9’, Italian Studies, 54 (1999), 26-33
(4) ‘Light Reflection, Mirror Metaphors, and Optical Framing in Dante’s Comedy: Precedents and Transformations’, Neophilologus, 83 (1999), 241-52
(5) ‘Medieval Science in Dante’s Commedia: Past Approaches and Future Directions’, Reading Medieval Studies, 27 (2001), 39-77
(6) ‘Medieval Magical Lore and Dante’s Commedia: Divination and Demonic Agency’, Dante Studies, 119 (2001) [published 2003], 27-66
(7) ‘Plato, the platonici, and Marsilio Ficino in Cristoforo Landino’s Comento sopra la Comedia’, The Italianist, 23 (2003.i), 5-53
(8) ‘Tradition and Innovation in Cristoforo Landino’s Glosses on Astrology in his Comento sopra la Comedia (1481)’, Italian Studies, 58 (2003), 48-74
(9) 'Science in and between Dante and His Commentators: The Case of Cristoforo Landino's Comento sopra la Comedia di Danthe Alighieri', Annali d'Italianistica, 23 (2005), 31-54
(10) 'Notes on the Presence of Boccaccio in Cristoforo Landino's Comento sopra la Comedia di Danthe Alighieri', Italian Culture, 23 (2005) [published 2006], 1-30
(11) 'Reading the Convivio from Trecento Florence to Dante's Sixteenth-Century Commentators', Italian Studies, 64:2 (2009), 266-95.
(12) '"La divinita' di Dante": The Problematics of Dante's Critical Reception between the Fourteenth and the Sixteenth Centuries', Critica del testo, 14:1 (2011), 581-604.
(13) '"Aristotele fatto volgare" and Dante as "peripatetico" in Sixteenth-Century Dante Commentary', L'Alighieri, 39 (2012), 31-63.
Book chapters/Conference proceedings/Interviews
(1) ‘Rimaneggiamenti danteschi di Aristotele: Gravitas e levitas nella Commedia’, in Le culture di Dante. Studi in onore di Robert Hollander. Atti del quarto Seminario dantesco internazionale, University of Notre Dame (Ind.), USA, 25-27 settembre 2003, ed. by Michelangelo Picone, Theodore J. Cachey Jr. and Margherita Mesirca (Florence: Cesati, 2004), pp. 151-77
(2) ‘Notes on the Presence of Albert the Great in Benvenuto da Imola’s Comentum super Dantis Aldigherij Comoediam’, in Literature and Science in Italian Culture from Dante to Calvino, ed. Antonello and Gilson, pp. 72-92
(3) 'Dante's Reception in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Italy', in Italy's Three Crowns: Reading Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, ed. by Zygmunt G. Baranski and Martin McLaughlin (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2007), pp. 58-72
(4) ‘The Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body in Dante’s Commedia’, in Dante and the Human Body: Eight Essays, ed. by John C. Barnes and Jennifer Petrie (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), pp. 11-42
(5) Interview: 'Historicism, Philology and the Text. An Interview with Teodolinda Barolini', Italian Studies, 63:1 (Spring 2008), 141-52
(6) '"Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe!" (Inferno 7:1) in Dante's commentators, 1322-1570', in Nonsense and Other Senses: Regulated Absurdity in Literature, ed. by Elisabetta Tarantino with the collaboration of Carlo Caruso (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), pp. 25-54
(7) 'Il viaggio nei commenti danteschi (XV e XVI sec.)', in Il viaggio e le arti: Il contesto italiano, ed. by Lucia Bertolini and Annalisa Cipollone (Pescara: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2009), pp. 33-59
(8) 'Modes of Reading in Boccaccio's Esposizioni sopra la Comedia', in The Dante Commentary Tradition: Critical Discourse in the Making. Proceedings of the International Conference, Manchester 1-3 April 2005, ed. by Paola Nasti and Claudia Rossignoli (forthcoming)
(9) 'Divine and Natural Artistry in Dante's Commedia', in Art and Nature in Dante, ed. by John C. Barnes (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014)
(10) 'Reading Florence in Dante's Commentators, 1322-1570', in Se mai continga ... Exile, Politics and Theology in Dante, ed. by Claire E. Honess and Matthew Treherne (Ravenna: Longo, 2014)
PhD students supervised
Gabriella Addivinola: Liminal Writing: Apophatic Tradition and the Form of the Divine Comedy (completed Autumn 2014)
Giacomo Comiati: The reception of Horace in Sixteenth-Century Italy
Matt Coneys: Italian Manuscrips of Mandeville