Filippo Gianferrari
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Literature Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 627
  • Office Hours Wednesday 1:00-2:00 pm (or by appointment)
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • Rm. 627, Humanities Building 1 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Middle Ages, Italian Studies, Renaissance Studies
  • Courses LIT 114 C: Dante's Comedy, LIT 185 B: Viaggio a Firenze, LIT 114 E: One Way ticket to Hell... and Back! Exploring Dante's Inferno, LIT 114 F: Finding Dante: A Reader's Guide to Getting Out of Hell, LIT 081 H Literature & Pandemic: The World at the End of the World Pre- and Early-modern Pandemics, LIT 185 O I Need a Hero: Ariosto and the (Un)Epic Renaissance, LIT 164 G The Question of Auschwitz: Literature and Annihilation, LIT 185M Primo Levi’s Il sistema periodico & Other Italian Jewish Authors of the Holocaust, LIT 246 Dante: A Marginal Intellectuals (Graduate Seminar)

Summary of Expertise

Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature, History, and Culture; History of Education (Middle Ages and Renaissance); Paleography and History of the Book.

Research Interests

Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature, History, and Culture; History of Education (Middle Ages and Renaissance); Paleography and History of the Book; Classical Literature; ; Primo Levi and Holocaust Literature.

Biography, Education and Training

I am originally from Modena, Italy. I have received a BA and MA in Letteratura italiana from the Università degli studi di Bologna, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Notre Dame. After completing my Ph.D., I taught at Vassar College and Smith College. I have been part of the Literature Department at UCSC since 2019. I work on le Tre Corone and lay education in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. I am interested in the ways literature and education (particularly literacy) intersect with and inform each other. I have published mostly on the topic of Dante’s intellectual formation and I am currently writing a book provisionally titled “Training the Reader: Dante and the Rise of Vernacular Literacy.” The book investigates Dante's debts to his earliest school readings and his critical stance toward contemporary education.



Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, Medieval Studies, August 2017

M.A., University of Notre Dame, Romance Languages and Literatures, May 2011

M.A., magna cum laude, Università di Bologna, European Literatures and Civilizations, October 2008

B.A., Università di Bologna, Literature, October 2006



Honors, Awards and Grants


       University of California

            Writing Fellows (2022-2023)

University of California Humanities Institute Junior Manuscript Workshop (Spring 2022)

Hellman Fellowship (Summer 2021)

The Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship (Fall 2020)

Committee of Research Grant (Spring 2020; Spring 2021)

  Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship (Academic year 2019-20 - fellowship declined to assume position at UCSC) Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (Academic Year 2016-17) Mellon/Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Fellowship (Paleography School, Summer 2015) University of Notre Dame



Selected Publications

Articles and Notes

“A ‘Whirlwind of Eloquence:’ Sources for a Moral Reading of Ulysses’s ‘turbo’ (Inf. XXVI, 137),” Italian Studies 76.1 (2021): 1–17, DOI: 10.1080/00751634.2020.1855875.

“Stranded on Purgatory Island: A Dantean Reflection on the Disaster of Isolation (and Why We Are Not in Hell),” Le Tre Corone 8 (2021): 147–149. Republished with permission from Breaking Ground,

“‘Poca favilla, gran fiamma seconda’ (Par. i, 34): un proverbio d’autorità,” Le Tre Corone 7 (2020): 133–58.

Pro patria mori: From the Disticha Catonis to Dante’s Cato,” Dante Studies 135 (2017): 1–30.

“Did Dante Know the Ilias latina? Textual Echoes in the Prologue to the Purgatorio,” Dante Notes (November 2017).

“Pride and Tyranny: An Unnoted Parallel between Purgatorio 12 and Policraticus 8.20–21,” Dante Notes (May 2016).

Essays in Edited Volumes

Donne e divisioni: The Educational Core of the Vita nova,” in Reading the Vita Nova, ed. Zygmunt G. Barański, David Bowe, Heather Webb (forthcoming, Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press).

“Gli auctores scolastici nella formazione classica del poeta,” in ‘Nostra maggior musa.’ I maestri della letteratura classica nella ‘Commedia’ di Dante, ed. John Butcher (forthcoming, Città di Castello: Nuova Phromos, November 2021).

“Cato (and His Distichs) Between Brunetto and Dante: Uses and Misuses of a Patriotic Icon,” in Reconsidering Dante and Brunetto Latini (and Bono Giamboni), ed. Zygmunt G. Barański, Theodore J. Cachey, and Luca Lombardo (Rome: Salerno, 2019), 173–191.

Ritornerò profeta: The Epistle of St. James and the Crowning of Dante’s patience,” in Ethics, Politics, and Law in Dante, ed. Giulia Gaimari and Catherine Keen (London: UCL Press, 2019), 94–110.

Dante scolaro: alcune note sul Catone dantesco e i Disticha Catonis,” in Atti del secondo seminario dantesco AlmaDante. Università di Bologna, 28-29 maggio 2014, ed. Giuseppe Ledda (Bologna: Aspasia, 2017), 85–97.

“L’immagine riflessa: il Dante di Sacchini tra vita e poesia,” in Bruno Sacchini, Piccarda c’est moi. Nella selva del vissuto dantesco (Florence: Società Fiorentina Editrice, 2013), 83–96.

Dictionary Entries

“Gargarizzazione, Gargozzo, Gemello, Gialligno, Gladiatore, Gladiatorio, Gladiatura, Gombuto, (and 50 more).” In Pietro Beltrami and Paolo Squillacioti. Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini. (Rome: Centro Nazionale di Ricerca, 2013). A selection of these entries is also published in “Scelta di voci del Tesoro della Lingua Italiana delle Origini (diciassettesima serie),” Bollettino dell’Opera del Vocabolario Italiano 18 (2013): 7–13.

Book Reviews

“Roberto Rea and Justin Steinberg ed., Dante (Rome: Carocci, 2020). Pp. 409.” Annali d’Italianistica 39 (2021).

“Elena Lombardi. Imagining the Woman Reader in the Age of Dante (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). Pp. 279.” L’Alighieri (forthcoming 2021).

“Igor Candido. Boccaccio umanista. Studi su Boccaccio e Apuleio. Ravenna: Longo, 2014. Pp. 165.” Annali d’Italianistica 33 (2015): 418–20.

“George Corbett. Dante and Epicurus. A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual Fulfilment. Oxford: Legenda, 2013. Pp. 202.” Annali d'Italianistica 32 (2014): 593-95.

In Progress

Training the Reader: Dante and the Rise of Vernacular Literacy.

“Plange, miser:” Why is Beatrice Angry at Henry of Settimello? (to be submitted to Dante Notes, Spring 2022).

“The Element Dante in Primo Levi’s Il Sistema periodico: From Fascist Education to Comic Resilience” 

Selected Presentations


"Dante&Boccaccio VS Education: A Lesson in Cross-cultural Pastoral" (UCSC, Center For Cultural Studies, Annual Lecture Series)

“Pastoral Syncretism: The Ecloga Theoduli From Dante’s Purgatorio to Boccaccio’s Olympia” (Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Dublin, Ireland 2022)

“‘Sum miser et miseri nullus miserans misereretur:’Arrigo da Settimello tra Dante e l’elegia latina” (Congresso Internazionale Dantesco, Ravenna, Italy, September 2021)

“Dante: il limite della legge e il mistero della giustizia” (Lecture delivered at the Universidad Finis Terrae, Santiago, Chile, August 2021)

“The Element Dante in Primo Levi’s ‘Il Sistema periodico’” (Biannual Meeting of the California Italian Studies Conference, UC Davies, March 2021)

“Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Dante, Aesop & The Latin Fable” (Symposium of the Dante Society of America, University of Saint Louis, September 2020)

“The Vernacular and the Contested Territories of Learning: England, Italy, and France,” Panel Organizer and Presenter (Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, UC Berkeley, March 2020)


INTERVIEWS “Lessons from Dante in a time of Covid,” UCSC NewsCenter (January 2021),

Selected Recordings

“Dante 700 anni dalla morte: il poeta pop che piace ai ragazzi e spopola all’estero,” Euro News (March 2021),



Teaching Interests

Medieval Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature and Culture; Paleography and Book History; Primo Levi and Holocaust Literature; Pandemic and Literature; Translation Theory.