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Dott.ssa Sara Boezio

Sara Boezio_photo

Dr. Sara Boezio, Ph.D.

Email: S dot Boezio at warwick dot ac dot uk

Italian Section, School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Humanities Building, University Road

University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

Sara Boezio LinkedIn 


  • Ph.D., University of Warwick
  • Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK [now Advance HE]
  • Postgraduate Award in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of Warwick
  • Hons M.A., Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa – Honours Degree
  • M.A., University of Pisa
  • M.A. Visiting, École Normale Supérieure, Lyon
  • M.A. Visiting, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
  • Hons B.A., Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa – Honours Degree
  • B.A., University of Pisa


Dr. Sara Boezio is MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

She has recently completed her Ph.D. in Italian Studies at the University of Warwick and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now ‘Advance HE’), UK.

She is interested in the late nineteenth-century history of ideas. Her studies are informed by an interdisciplinary approach which incorporates History, Literature, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences. Her current research focuses on cultural criticism produced in fin-de-siècle Italy, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK.

Her comparative interests have led her to conduct research in Italy, in France (at the Université Paris 4 Sorbonne and the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, as well as at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and at the E.N.S. in Lyon with which she was affiliated), in the UK, in Canada (at the University of Toronto) and in the US (at CUNY – New York and at Harvard University).

She obtained both her B.A. and M.A. with honours in Italian Literature and Modern Philology from the University of Pisa and her Honours Degree from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa.

Her M.A. dissertation, L’attività critica e saggistica di Federico De Roberto da ‘Arabeschi’ al Corriere della Sera, was awarded first-class honours as well as the national Galilei-Carducci prize for best M.A. dissertation on Post-Unification Italy.

At the Scuola Normale in Pisa she also specialized in Philology and Early Modern Literature. Her interest in the Renaissance concerned modern Latin and Italian vernacular literature, particularly with reference to the word-image relationship and the connection between poetry and the visual arts, which resulted in a dissertation on a group of sonnets, devoted to the portrait of Laura Battiferri, authored by the painter-poet Bronzino, Benedetto Varchi, Lasca as well as by other Florence-based poets who were part of the Medici entourage: Un commento al Bronzino lirico: sonetti sul ritratto di Laura Battiferri degli Ammannati – con un’appendice sulle rime di Michelangelo e Cellini.

A separate strand of her research concerns Cognitive Poetics and Cognitive Narratology, which fall within the larger field of Cognitive Literary Studies that are based on the fruitful cross-fertilization between the Humanities and Cognitive Science, about which she has edited an academic journal special issue and published several articles.

Together with her academic and teaching activity, she has also developed considerable working experience in the corporate world, where she has applied her transferable skills acquired both as a researcher as a teacher. She has held roles in Think Tanks as a researcher, with a focus on international geo-political scenarios, and as a Project Manager in charge of devising training courses for Top & Senior Managers in the business of Executive Education Programmes.

She has served as an Editorial Associate in the publishing house Bompiani (RCS, Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera Media Group, Milan), where she has been in charge of both fiction and non-fiction titles.

Research interests

  • Fin-de-siècle European literary cultures; history of ideas; cultural criticism; cultural history
  • 19th-century printed media culture; history of the periodical press
  • 19th-century nation-building discourse; Risorgimento
  • Decadentism; mysticism; religious studies; secularization
  • Gothic literature; fantastic, supernatural, marvellous narratives
  • Apocalyptic narrative in late 19th- and early 20th-century
  • History of Science; Health Humanities; history of psychology and psychopathology; mental health; narrative medicine
  • Literary theory; philosophical literature
  • Cognitive Literary Studies; Cognitive Poetics; Cognitive Narratology; embodied simulation; theory of mind; conceptual metaphors; conceptual blending
  • Poetry written by visual artists in Early Modern Italy; word-and-image relationship; ekphrasis
Ph.D. Thesis:
Italy and the European Fin de Siècle: The Century’s Turn in the Printed Media of the 1890s-1900s


The thesis examines the self-definition of the end of the nineteenth century as ‘fin de siècle’ and as an epochal turning point. It investigates the circumstances that generated new time perceptions and representations in this timespan, with particular reference to late-nineteenth century Italy. The study provides an analysis of essays, treatises, literary works, conference presentations, speeches, and articles of the periodical press, which discussed and thematized the main features of the nineteenth century and of the early years of the twentieth century. While analogous works were produced elsewhere in Europe and overseas, where they have been recognized as a genre, equivalent works that were composed in Italy have never been addressed as a corpus. The thesis responds to the need of such a scrutiny and it explores the Italian end-of-the-century economy of ‘discursive fields’ (Foucault) and conceptual ‘constellations’ (Benjamin).

The research has been inspired and informed by the approach suggested by the history of concepts (Begriffsgeschichte), Koselleck’s studies, and Stephen Kern’s research. A comparative and an interdisciplinary perspective have been jointly adopted. The former has served to ascertain cross-currents in cultural discourses between Italy and other European countries, namely France, the UK, Germany, Sweden, alongside Russia and the US. The interdisciplinary perspective has proved necessary to reflect the cross-fertilization between forms of knowledge typical of the fin-de-siècle cultural production and has allowed the investigation of the disciplinary variety of the works herein examined addressing Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History, Psychology (namely with regard to Sante De Sanctis’s I Sogni and his research on the unconscious, in connection with Freud’s psychoanalytical studies), and Literature (with specific reference to D’Annunzio’s Sogno d’un mattino di primavera and with regard to the Italian reception of Tolstoy’s Resurrection, Zola’s Fécondité, and Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken).


She taught on the following modules:

  • IT326 ‘Renaissance, Imitation, and Parody’ – Reading group (Literature Module)
  • IT401 ‘Essay Writing’ – Advanced module for Finalists (Language Module)
  • IT105 ‘Working Italian’ – Italian for Beginners (Language Module)
  • IT327 ‘Love, Desire and Poetry in Dante and the Italian Middle Ages’ – Reading group (Literature Module)

Awards and Grants

Honours and Awards

  • National Prize ‘Premio Galilei-Carducci’ for best Master’s Dissertation on Post-Unification Italy:

L’attività critica e saggistica di Federico De Roberto da ‘Arabeschi’ al Corriere della Sera

  • B.A. and M.A., University of Pisa (both 110/110 cum laude)
  • Honours Degree, Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (70/70 cum laude)

Academic Grants and Fellowships (selection)

  • MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) Postdoctoral Research Scholarship Award
  • Fully funded Ph.D. Chancellor’s Scholarship, University of Warwick
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) travel grant to present a research paper at the 2018 MLA Annual Convention (New York, January 4-7, 2018)
  • Callum MacDonald Memorial Bursary (University of Warwick, 2016-17) – Award for best archival historical research
  • HRF (Humanities Research Fund) conference travel grant (2016-2017) for presenting a research paper
  • CADRE (Centre for Arts Doctoral Research Excellence, University of Warwick) grant for CADRE Peer Development Exchange workshop: Meshing Disciplines: Where the Humanities and Science collide. An exploration of Cognitive Science (May 17, 2016)
  • HRC (Humanities Research Fund) conference travel grants (2015-2016) to take part as a speaker in the SIS conference 2016 (Trinity College Dublin, April 29-30, 2016) and in the conference ‘Bramosia dell’ignoto’ (Italian Cultural Institute in Prague, April 13-15, 2016)
  • Canadian Society for Italian Studies travel grant for taking part in the Canadian Society for Italian Studies conference 2015 (Sorrento, June 19-21, 2015)
  • UK-USA Humanities Research Centre Transatlantic Fellowship for a research period in Boston (Harvard University), New York, and Toronto (April-May 2015)
  • SIS (Society for Italian Studies) conference travel grant to take part as a speaker in the VIII Annual Graduate Conference in Italian Studies at the University College Cork (February 28, 2015)
  • Winner of ‘Borsa di sviluppo e merito: corso di aggiornamento e formazione Leader del futuro’ (Development Scholarship for academic merit) – The European House – Ambrosetti (2013-14)
  • Fully funded Visiting student Scholarship – École Normale Supérieure in Lyon (2012-13)
  • Fully funded Visiting student Scholarship – École Normale Supérieure in Paris (2011-12)
  • Grant for residential international summer school in Renaissance Studies – University of Cambridge (2010)
  • Winner of a fully funded (full tuition, lodging, board and stipend) five-year scholarship for B.A. and M.A. – Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (2008-2013)
  • Winner of the international competition for entering the Honours School I.U.S.S. (Pavia) and the colleges Collegio Ghislieri, Collegio Santa Caterina, and Collegio Nuovo in Pavia (September 2008)
  • ‘Alfiere del Lavoro’ National Award for best academic performance – Presidenza della Repubblica Italiana, Palazzo del Quirinale (October 2008)

Joint grants

- HRC (Humanities Research Centre)

- RSSP (Research Student Skills Programme)

- SMLC (School of Modern Languages and Cultures).

  • Society for Italian Studies grant for the organisation of the conference Milan: Crossroad of Cultures (Milan, September 22-23, 2016) co-organised with Giulia Brecciaroli, Maria Belova (both based at the University of Warwick), and Marco Bellardi (University of Birmingham)

Conferences and Sessions Organised

  • International Conference: Literary Journalism in Times of Crisis and Transition, 1870-1970 (University of Warwick, November 26, 2016) co-organised with Giulia Brecciaroli (University of Warwick)
  • International conference: Milan: Crossroad of Cultures (Milan, September 22-23, 2016) co-organised with Marco Bellardi (University of Birmingham), Giulia Brecciaroli (University of Warwick), and Maria Belova (University of Warwick); in collaboration with Dr. Sara Sullam, Dr. Stefano Ghidinelli, and Prof. Giovanna Rosa (Università degli Studi di Milano)
  • Session: Times of Crisis and Transformation in fin-de-siècle and early-20th-century Italy at the SIS (Society for Italian Studies) Interim Conference, ‘Turning Points. Cultures of Transition, Transformation and Transmission in Italy’ (Trinity College Dublin, April 29-30, 2016)
  • Session: Fin de siècle: the crisis of the century at the Canadian Society for Italian Studies Annual conference (Sorrento, June 19-21, 2015)
  • Postgraduate Conference: Representation in the Arts – Millburn House Symposium (University of Warwick, May 27, 2015) co-organised with Barbara Ottmann (Film Studies), Zoe Shacklock (Film Studies), James Taylor (Film Studies), and Liz Turner (Theatre Studies)

Selected Publications (Peer-reviewed)

The book introduction is freely accessible here.

- Sinestesie. Rivista di Studi sulle Letterature e le arti europee, Special Issue on ‘Sentieri della modernità da Leopardi a Pasolini’, 13 (2015), pp. 415-419

- Osservatorio bibliografico della Letteratura italiana Otto-Novecentesca, V: 20 (2015), pp. 138-140

Edited Special Issue

Conference Papers

Workshops (selection)

Professional Service and Editorial Activity

  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Bullettin of the Scuola Normale Superiore Alumni Association, 2011-2018
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the academic journal Italianistica (Pisa-Roma: Fabrizio Serra editore), 2011-2015
  • Editorial Associate in the publishing house Bompiani (RCS, Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera Media Group, Milan), 2011-2012

Learned Society Memberships

  • SIS – Society for Italian Studies (UK), Member
  • Higher Education Academy, UK (now Advance HE), Associate Fellow
  • MLA – Modern Language Association, Member
  • AAIS – American Association for Italian Studies, Member
  • AATI – American Association of Teachers of Italian, Member
  • CAIS – Canadian Association for Italian Studies, Member
  • NCIS – Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, Member
  • ESPRit – European Society for Periodical Research (Founding Member)
  • ENS Alumni – Association des anciens élèves et des amis de l’École Normale Supérieure (Ulm, Paris & Lyon), Alumna
  • SNS Alumni – Associazione Normalisti, Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Alumna & Former Member of the Executive Board


    Boezio_chapter in Poetics of Decadence


    Conference organised

    Milan Crossroad of Cultures flyer Boezio

    Literary Journalism Conference Boezio

    Conference organised

    federico-de-roberto-le-deuil-des-illusions_Revue des etudes italiannes

    La carta veloce