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Dr Cecilia Piantanida

Teaching Fellow

Email: Cecilia dot Piantanida at warwick dot ac dot uk

Room 4.15 - Humanities Building
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


I joined Warwick as a Teaching Fellow in Italian in 2021. I studied English and Classics at Durham University as an undergraduate (BA 2007); I hold an MA in Comparative Literature from King's College London (2009) and a doctorate in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford (2014). Before joining Warwick I taught Italian language and literature at Oxford (2014-2017) and Durham University (2017-2021).

Research and Teaching Interests

My research focuses on modern and contemporary Italian literature and culture from comparative and transnational perspectives, in particular:

  • conceptualisations of the past and of individual and cultural origins from the nineteenth century to the present.
  • forms of reception and translation of Greek and Latin classics in Italian poetry, seen in a comparative European and North American perspective.
  • transnational identities and migration in contemporary visual culture and literature in Italian.
  • metaphor studies.

My first monograph, Sappho and Catullus in Twentieth-Century Italian and North American Poetry (Bloomsbury Academic, 2021), studies the interwoven reception of the archaic Greek poet Sappho and her first Latin translator, Catullus, in literary culture from the 1900s to the present. Through its comparative approach, the book reveals the centrality of the ancient poets in the development of modernist and postmodernist poetics across cultures. It also highlights an enduring transnational discourse which employs classical models to define ideas of origins, gender, sexuality, and national identity. Grounded in textual criticism, the analysis employs theories of translation, reception, gender and sexuality to study a wide range of texts, including several unpublished manuscripts. Key case-studies include G. Pascoli, E. Pound, H.D., S. Quasimodo, R. Lowell, R. Copioli and A. Carson. Recently, I contributed an essay on the European reception of Sappho for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Sappho, and with Teresa Franco a volume of essays on Echoing Voices in Italian Literature: Tradition and Translation in the 20th Century (New Castle: Cambridge Scholars, 2018). In 2014 I also published an edition of over thirty autograph translations and poetic rewritings of Sappho by the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli in ‘Pascoli and Sappho: Two Unpublished Manuscripts’ (Filologia italiana, 2013).

I am currently working on a long-term research project, investigating the idea of origins and its representations in literature in Italian from the 1950s to the present. It focuses on the uses of conceptual metaphors of origins – such as the image of roots as a symbol of temporal beginning and spatial belonging – in works by Italian, transnational and migrant writers. Combining cognitive linguistic theories on metaphor with a memory studies approach, I identify and analyse competing conceptual models of personal and cultural origins embedded in various types of narratives, and the worldviews such conceptual models carry with them. The analysis aims to shed light on how competing conceptual models of origins structure representations of time, space, and identity in contemporary writing. Considering Italian culture not only as a key intersecting point of the classical heritage, pre-modern and modern literary formations, but also of postcolonial legacies, complex networks of migration and transnational identities, I address questions of belonging, subjectivity, (trans)nationality and race. Authors considered include: Primo Levi, Giorgio Caproni, Edoardo Sanguineti, Fabrizia Ramondino, Alda Merini, Wu Ming, Massimo Carlotto, Shirin Ramzanali Fazel, Gabriella Ghermandi, Igiaba Scego, Tahar Lamri.
I am also very much invested in pedagogical scholarship and practice related to the teaching and learning of modern languages. My work in this field focuses on transnational and intercultural approaches to teaching Italian language and literature. On this topic I recently published a practice-based article on 'Transnational Perspectives in the Italian Language Class: The Uses of Non-Native Literature to Develop Intercultural Competence' (2020). I am also working on the development and role of creativity in the language class and issues of diversity and inclusion in higher education, including decolonising approaches to teaching and learning modern languages. In July 2021 I participated to the IMLR conference 'Transnationalising the Word: A Decolonising Approach to the Teaching and Learning of Modern Languages' with a paper on 'Hybridity and Transnationalism in the Modern Language Class'.

Administrative Roles

  • Year Abroad Coordinator (2021-2022)



Piantanida, C. (2021), Sappho and Catullus in Twentieth-Century Italian and North American Poetry, Bloomsbury Studies in Classical Reception Series (London: Bloomsbury Academic).

Edited Volumes

Franco, T. and C. Piantanida, eds. (2018), Echoing Voices in Italian Literature: Tradition and Translation in the 20thCentury, New Castle: Cambridge Scholars.

Journal Articles

Piantanida, C. (2014), ‘Le varie facce della luna nella poesia di Giovanni Pascoli: tradizione, mito ed esoterismo,’ Griseldaonline, 14.

Piantanida, C. (2013) [May 2014], ‘Pascoli and Sappho: Two Unpublished Manuscripts,’ Filologia Italiana, 10: 181-214.

Chapters in Books

Piantanida, C. (forthcoming), ‘Translating Eros: The Representation of Sexuality in Contemporary Italian Translations of Sappho (2000-2017),’ in Translation in/of Antiquity: Methods and Practices, Symbolae Osloenses.

Piantanida, C. (2021), ‘Early Modern and Modern German, Italian, and Spanish Sapphos,’ in Kelly, A. and P.J. Finglass (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Sappho, pp. 353-70, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Piantanida, C. (2020), ‘Transnational Perspectives in the Italian Language Class: The Uses of Non-Native Literature to Develop Intercultural Competence,’ in A. B. Almeida, U. Bavendiek and R. Biasini (eds), Literature in language learning: new approaches, pp. 23-31,

Franco, T. and C. Piantanida (2018), ‘Introduction,’ in Franco, T. and C. Piantanida (eds), Echoing Voices in Italian Literature: Tradition and Translation in the 20th Century, pp. x-xviii, New Castle: Cambridge Scholars.

Other Academic Publications

Piantanida, C. (2014), ‘Note al testo in Catullo,’ in Carmina: il libro delle poesie, trans. by Nicola Gardini, Milan: Feltrinelli, passim.

Piantanida, C. (2019), ‘Review of Alberto Comparini (ed.), Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Twentieth-Century Italian Literature (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2018),’ Classical Review, 69.1. 1,810 words.


  • BA Combined Honours in Arts (English and Classics) - Durham University
  • Ma Comparative Literature - King's College London
  • DPhil Medieval and Modern Languages - University of Oxford
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Advice and Feedback Hours

Mondays, 12noon-1pm, H.4.15

Tuesdays, 2-3pm on MS Teams

Teaching 2021-2022

IT107 Modern Italian Language I (Advanced) - module convenor and instructor

IT201 Modern Italian Language II (translation; writing T2)

IT301 Modern Italian Language III (writing) - module convenor

LN307 Propaganda and Persuasion in Modern Europe (module tutor - Italian section)

IT331 Transnational Stories in Italy (module tutor)