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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 in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He has also taught at the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford and at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. Professor Gilson has been involved in a number of major collaborative funded research projects in the fields of medieval and Renaissance studies. He is joint Senior Editor of the journal Italian Studies and the General Editor of the monograph series 'Italian Perspectives' (Legenda). He has been an elected council member of the Dante Society of America, Harvard (2005-07) and is an nominated honorary member of the Italian Dante Society in Florence (2008-).

At Warwick, he is currently Chair of the Arts Faculty, having previously 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). He was the Warwick lead for the Modern Languages 2014 REF submission.

Research interests

His research covers:

  1. Dante, especially his scientific, philosophical and theological culture
  2. 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.
  5. the history of reading, vernacularization, and translation in sixteenth-century Italy
  6. Petrarch commentary and exegesis in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy

His interests 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 most recent edited volume (with Fabrizio De Donno) is Beyond Catholicism: Heresy, Mysticism and Apocalpyse in Italian Culture (New York: Palgrave, 2014).  His work on Dante's Renaissance reception includes a book Dante and Renaissance Florence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005; paperback 2009), several articles on Dante commentary, and a study of the reception of the Convivio from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. He has worked extensively on sixteenth-century Italian vernacular culture, including Benedetto Varchi's vernacular commentaries on Aristotle and vernacular translations of Boccaccio's Latin works. He is completing a book on the reception of Dante in sixteenth-century Florence and Venice entitled Criticizing the Divine Poet: Editing, Interpreting and Reading Dante in late Renaissance Italy. With Zygmunt Baranski he is editing the Cambridge Companion to the Divine Comedy. 

He is currently leading a strand on the sites of Dante's theological learning as part of a major AHRC-funded research project 'Dante and Late Medieval Florence: Theology in Poetry, Practice and Society'.

He was closely involved with David Lines in the AHRC-funded project, 'Vernacular Aristotelianism in Renaissance Italy: c. 1450-c. 1600'. a project which is continuing with an major ERC funded project (a collaboration between Warwick and Ca' Foscari).

He directed (2011-12) 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)