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Dr Maude Vanhaelen


Associate Professor

Tel: +44 (0) 2476 150638


Room: H4.15
Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


Maude Vanhaelen is holding a joint post in the Departments of Classics and Italian Studies.

She studied Classics at the University of Brussels (1995-1999). She later completed a Master of Studies in Classics at the University of Oxford and then took a Ph.D. at the University of Brussels (2001-2005). Before joining Warwick she spent two years of research, first as a Post-doctoral Fellow in Classics at the University of Oxford (2005-2006), then as a Deborah Loeb Brice Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence (2006-2007). From October 2017 she will undertake a research project on Plato and His Readers in 16th-century Italy funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Research interests

Dr Vanhaelen's research focuses on the reception of philosophy in the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. She has published the critical edition and translation of Ficino’s Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides in the I Tatti Renaissance Library series (ITRL), and she has written a number of articles on the reception of Platonism in Renaissance Italy. She has co-edited a volume on the reception of the Pythagorean doctrine of the harmony of the spheres in Renaissance Europe. She is currently undertaking a Leverhulme-funded project on Plato in sixteenth-century Italy, by looking at all translations and commentaries on Plato in Latin and in the vernacular published in Italy between 1500 and 1600. She is particularly interested in the political reappropriation of Platonism in 16th-century Italy and the importance of Neoplatonic demonology for 16th-century philosophy, theology and magic.

Dr Vanhaelen's approach is to study the historical and ideological context in which ancient texts were translated and interpreted, with a view to determine what distinguished Renaissance receptions from ancient and medieval appropriations of Antiquity (for instance, Proclus, St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas). In addition to editing and translating hitherto unexplored texts only available in manuscripts and early printed books, she examines the contexts in which these texts were produced and received—the exchange of letters between humanists, the constitution of private libraries and the theological debates of the time, both within and outside the universities, among members of the clergy and laity alike. She also explores the impact of sources that lie outside the doctrinal canon traditionally ascribed to Renaissance philosophy, such as Neoplatonic demonology.

Teaching and supervision

PhD students supervised

Dr Rocco di Dio, Marsilio Ficino's notebooks (Italian, Classics, CSR)

Dr Aileen Das, Galen's commentary on Plato's Timaeus (Classics)

Mr Ovanes Akopyan, Controversies on Astrology in Renaissance Italy (CSR)

Mr Simone Mollea, The concept of humanitas in Antiquity (Classics)

Administrative roles

  • Exams Secretary (Italian)
  • Erasmus Coordinator (Classics)
  • Dissertation Coordinator (Classics)
  • Co-Convenor of the Italian Research Seminar Series (Italian)
  • Open Days (Italian)

Selected publications

  • (2017), with Jacomien Prins, eds., Sing Aloud Harmonious Spheres: Renaissance Conceptions of Cosmic Harmony (Abingdon: Routledge), 300 Pages (see link here)
  • (2017) "Cosmic Harmony, Demons, and the Mnemonic Power of Music in Renaissance Florence: The Case of Marsilio Ficino", in J. Prins and M. Vanhaelen, eds., Sing Aloud Harmonious Spheres'. Renaissance Conceptions of the Pythagorean Music of the Spheres (Abingdon: Routledge), pp. 101-122.
  • (2017), with Dario Brancato "Francesco Cattani da Diacceto and Boethius: A Neoplatonic Reading of the Consolatio in 16th-century Florence", Accademia XXVII (2015 [2017]), pp. 53-91 (see link here)
  • (2016) "What is the Best Method to Study Philosophy? Sebastiano Erizzo (1525-1585) and the ‘revival’ of Plato in 16th-century Venice’, Italian Studies 71/3, pp. 1-24. Pre-proof version here; PDF version here
  • (2016) 'Platonism in Sixteenth-Century Padua: Two Unpublished Letters from Sebastiano Erizzo to Camilla Erculiani', Bruniana&Campanelliana 22/1, pp. 137-147. Article PDF on request; pre-proof version here
  • (2012) Marsilio Ficino, Commentary on Plato’s Parmenides. A Critical Edition with English Translation and Notes, 2 vols, The I Tatti Renaissance Library, Harvard University Press (
  • (2012) ‘Cose di Platone fatte Toscane: Language and Ideology in two vernacular translations of Plato printed by Francesco Priscianese’, Modern Language Review 107, pp. 1102-1120. Article PDF (PDF Document)
  • (2010-2011) 'L’entreprise de traduction et d’exégèse de Ficin dans les années 1486-89: Démons et prophétie à l’aube de l’ère savonarolienne’, Hvmanistica 4-5, pp. 1-17. Article PDF (PDF Document)


  • BA (Brussels)
  • MSt (Oxford)
  • PhD (Brussels)


Undergraduate modules

Introduction to Italian Culture
Magic and Marvels in Renaissance Italy
Renaissance Imitation and Parody
Receptions of Antiquity: East and West Humanism and Early Modern Texts Greek Literary Texts

Postgraduate modules

MA in the Culture of the European Renaissance, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance