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Professor Simon Gilson

Professor Simon GilsonProfessor

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 73095
Email: S dot Gilson at warwick dot ac dot uk

Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Simon Gilson studied Italian and French at Leeds University (1986-91) and then took his PhD in Italian Literature 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 has served as Head of Italian (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).

Research interests

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 currently 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 the major AHRC-funded research project 'Dante and Late Medieval Florence: Theology in Poetry, Practice and Society' led by the University of Leeds and an ERC project with Marco Sgarbi and David Lines.

He was closely involved with David Lines in the AHRC-funded project, 'Vernacular Aristotelianism in Renaissance Italy: c. 1450-c. 1600'. He directed a strand of Mellon-funded workshops 'Reading Publics in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe' through Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance.

Teaching and supervision

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 Manuscripts and Early Prints of John of Mandeville

John Helps, The Dante Commentary and Translation by Giovanni da Serravalle

Selected publications

  • Dante and Renaissance Florence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005; paperback edition 2009)
  • Ed. with Fabrizio De Donno, Beyond Catholicism. Heresy, Mysticism and Apolocalypse in Italian Culture (New York: Palgrave, 2014)
  • '"Aristotele fatto volgare" and Dante as "peripatetico" in Sixteenth-Century Dante Commentary', L'Alighieri, 39 (2012), 31-63.


  • BA (Leeds)
  • PhD (Cantab)