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Dr Marta Celati

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowcelati_-_foto_warwick.jpg


R2.31, Ramphal Building,
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


I joined the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at Warwick in October 2018 as Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, working on a research project entitled ‘The ‘Mirror’ of history. Prince and Tyrant in Italian Renaissance Literature, between Political Theory and Historiography'.

Before coming to Warwick, I was Frances Yates Post-doctoral Fellow at the Warburg Institute, with an interdisciplinary project entitled ‘Princely Ideology in Pre-Machiavellian Literature and Art: Giuniano Maio’s De Maiestate’ (January-May 2018). I was Lector in Italian language at the University of Oxford, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages (2018), and I have worked as Part-time Lecturer in Italian Literature at the same Faculty and at Keble College and other Colleges (2014-2019). I also contributed to the MSt module in ‘Classical and vernacular cultures in the Italian Renaissance’ at the University of Oxford. I designed and taught modules on a wide range of topics and authors in Italian Humanism and Renaissance, from the 15th to 16th century. Before moving to UK, I worked as Teaching Fellow at the University of Pisa (Department of Italian Studies), where I taught ‘Medieval and Humanist Philology’, for both BA and MA degrees, and several modules on Medieval and Renaissance authors: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio and fifteenth-century literature. I was also a member of the research project FIRB - Oriente e Occidente nell’Umanesimo europeo: la biblioteca e le lettere di Francesco Filelfo (2012-2017) and I contributed to the research project in Digital Humanities Dante Medieval Archive – DaMA (2010) at the same University.

I completed my Italian doctorate in ‘Medieval and Humanist Philology’ (2013) at the University of Pisa and my thesis provided a complete edition of Poliziano’s Commentary on the Pazzi conspiracy, which was published in 2015. In 2017 I got a PhD in Italian Studies at the University of Oxford, funded by a Clarendon Scholarship, with a thesis on the theme of conspiracy in fifteenth-century Italian literature, which has been recommended for publication at the Oxford University Press.

I have written articles on various authors and topics: the relationship between politics and literature, the classical legacy in Renaissance works, the art of printing in fifteenth-century Italy, and the interaction between literature and visual culture.

Reasearch Project

Project: The ‘Mirror’ of History. Prince and Tyrant in Italian Renaissance Literature, between Political Theory and Historiography 

My research project investigates the process of definition and evolution of the concepts of princely rule and tyranny in Italian Renaissance literature between 1440-1550, focusing on the interplay between politico-theoretical treatises and historical works. My aim is to adopt innovative perspectives of analysis in linking these two literary genres and considering the interrelations between the images of prince and tyrant (seen as opposite, but also related, in the Renaissance). My research investigates a corpus of both Italian and Neo-Latin texts, with an interdisciplinary method across literature, history, and philosophy. I am concentrating on the important cultural centres of Milan and Naples, which have been neglected so far, although they played a pivotal role in the development of Renaissance princely ideology. Moreover, I aim to challenge conventional chronological and geographical boundaries by a new cross-century approach, spanning from the second half of the fifteenth century to the first half of the sixteenth century, and by adopting a cross-geographical angle, focusing on Milan, Naples and their relations with the Italian and European context.

 This project will offer an innovative contribution to scholarship by studying:

 1) The interrelations between the two pivotal and developing concepts of prince and tyrant. Blinded by the figure of the prince and Machiavelli’s oeuvre, modern critics have usually treated the two as independent entities. I will ask: How is each concept based on the definition of the other, as its opposite and specular image? Is the tyrant seen as a despotic ruler or the enemy of the state, and how does this idea evolve? How does the blossoming notion of political realism influence these iconic figures? How do the themes of subversion and internal dissent interconnect with the definition of princely power and tyranny?

 2) The pivotal role of ‘history’ in the theorization of statecraft. I am studying the symbiotic relationship of political theory and historiography (e.g., mirrors for princes and histories) and the hybrid nature of genres: treatises, for instance, are framed in manifold forms (epistles, orations, etc.), and historiography developed in different sub-genres corresponding to diverse approaches to political analysis (e.g. biographical history, chronicles, etc.). 

 3) How the recovery of the classical legacy affected the developing concepts of prince and tyrant. This new analysis investigates: a) the role of a wider-than-usual range of Latin and Greek models, employed as structural, stylistic and conceptual sources, and drawn from the areas of philosophy, historiography, oratory, poetry; b) unexpected practices of re-elaboration of classical images, such as the conflation of republican and princely symbols. These elements will help trace the evolution of an eclectic political ideology that incorporated different components: organicism, an individualistic idea of power, etc.

 4) The gender dimension in this literature. This point has received little attention by scholars, especially for the 15C, but it is worth exploring whether and how the image of the ideal ruler and tyrant changes depending on gender.

Research and teaching interests

  • Italian Renaissance Literature
  • Humanism
  • Neo-Latin Studies
  • Classical tradition
  • Historiography
  • Political thought
  • Relationship between literature and visual culture
  • History of the book
  • Philology

Selected publications

  • Angelo Poliziano, Coniurationis commentarium, con introduzione, traduzione e commento, ed. M. Celati (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2015).
  • Conspiracy Literature in Early Renaissance Italy: Historiography and Princely Ideology, in preparation for Oxford University Press (under contract).
Journal articles and book chapters
  • ‘L’editio princeps fiorentina del Coniurationis commentarium di Angelo Poliziano e il tipografo Niccolò Tedesco: nuove acquisizioni’, Archivum Mentis, 2 (2013), pp. 166-188.
  • ‘La seconda redazione del Coniurationis commentarium di Angelo Poliziano e l’edizione romana di Johannes Bulle’, Humanistica. An International Journal of Early Renaissance Studies, 11, 1-2 (2016), pp. 283-292.
  • ‘Violence and Revenge in Fifteenth-century Political Literature’, Annali d’Italianistica, 35 (2017), pp. 71-88.
  • ‘Renaissance Conspiracies in Nineteenth-century Italian Art: The Rediscovery of History between Literature and Visual Culture’, Comitatus. A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 48 (2017), pp 161-184.
  • ‘Irony, Historiography, and Political Criticism: Alberti’s Porcaria coniuratio’, Albertiana, 22, 2 (2019), Special Issue: Alberti Ludens: In Memory of Cecil Grayson (1920-1998).
  • ‘The Conflict after the Pazzi Conspiracy and Poliziano’s Coniurationis commentarium: Literature, Law and Politics’, in Forum Italicum, Special Issue: The Interplay of Law & Literature in the Italian Tradition, 53 (2019), pp. 327-349.
  • ‘Teoria politica e realtà storica nel De Maiestate di Giuniano Maio: tra letteratura e arte figurativa’, Medioevo e Rinascimento, 32/n.s, 29 (2018), pp. 203-235.
  • 'Angelo Poliziano's Political Orations: The Humanist in government', Modern Language Review, 115, 2 (2020), pp. 318-338.
  • 'La virtù e la storia: il principe nel De maiestate di Giuniano Maio', Archivum Mentis, 8 (2019), pp. 71-102.
  • ‘Filelfo e Carlo Gonzaga: l’Oratio de laudibus illustris Karoli Gonzagae, tra storia, oratoria e teoria politica’, in Francesco Filelfo, Opere storiche e politiche. I. Filelfo e la storia, ed. by G. Albanese, P. Pontari (Firenze: SISMEL, 2017), pp. 127-144.
  • ‘Humanist Epic between Classical Legacy and Contemporary History: Orazio Romano’s Porcaria (1453)’, in Making and Rethinking Renaissance between Greek and Latin in 15-16th century Europe, ed. by S. Harrison and G. Abbamonte (Berlin - New York, Walter de Gruyter, Series Trend in Classics: 2019), pp. 231-249.
  • ‘Imitation and Allusion in Machiavelli’s Istorie Fiorentine, between Contemporary Sources and Classical Models’, in Literary Windows: Imitative Series and Clusters from Classical to Early Modern Literature’, ed. C. Burrow, S. Harrison, M. McLaughlin, E. Tarantino, in press.
  • 'Le epistole e le orazioni politiche di Poliziano', in Actes du Colloque International: Politien, humanist aux sources de la modernité (Université Paris-Sorbonne, 11-13 mai 2015), ed. by H. Casanova Robin, P. Viti (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2019), in press.
  • Rev. Reading and Writing History from Bruni to Windschuttle. Essays in Honour of Gary Ianziti, ed. by Christian Thorsten Callisen, Annali d’Italianistica, 33 (2015), pp. 385-387.
  • Rev. Dante, Opere, vol. II, ed. by M. Santagata, Modern Language Review, 112, 2 (2017), pp. 262-264.
  • Rev. Vernacular Aristotelianism in Italy from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Century, ed. by L. Bianchi, S. Gilson, and J. Kraye, Modern Language Review, 113, 2 (2018), pp. 413-414.
Electronic editions

Editions in the Digital archive DaMA-Dante Medieval Archive (

  • Alcuin of York, Conflictus veris et hiemis; De cuculo
  • Teodulus, Egloga
  • Sedulius Scotus, Sacra Camena; De rosae liliique certamine; Tytirus in silvis (2010)

Main Fellowships, Awards, and Grants

- Leverhulme Research Fellowship, University of Warwick (2018-2021)

- Warburg Institute, Frances A. Yates Post-Doctoral Fellowship (January-May 2018)

- University of Oxford, Clarendon Scholarship (2013-2016)

- St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, Justin Gosling Research Award (2013-2016)

- St Edmund Hall (Oxford), Travel Grant for the XXXV Annual Conference of the American Association of Italian Studies, University of Boulder, Colorado (March 26-28, 2015)

- St Edmund Hall (Oxford), Grant for Research at the Vatican Library, Utrecht University Library (December 2013)

- University of Pisa, Fellowship for Research at the British Library (London), Bodleian Library (Oxford) (April 2012)

- University of Pisa, Fellowship for Research at the Vatican Library, Casanatense Library and Corsiniana Library in Rome; Laurentian Library and State Archive in Florence (May 2011)

- Three-years PhD Scholarship, University of Pisa (2010-2012)

- Grant for the International conference on ‘The age of the city states’. Scuola di alti studi dottorali sulla Civiltà comunale - University of Florence (22-26 June 2009)


  • PhD: Italian Studies, University of Oxford
  • PhD: Medieval and Humanist Philology, University of Pisa
  • M.A.: Italian literature and Language, University of Pisa
  • B.A.: Lettere, University of Pisa