Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Alex Tadel

I am a first-year PhD candidate, supervised by Prof Ingrid de SmetLink opens in a new window and Dr Elena Giusti.Link opens in a new window My PhD examines the writings of fifteenth-century Venetian women humanists as a landmark in the development of early modern female authorship, delineating how these women defined themselves vis-a-vis the male-dominated spheres of classical literature and Renaissance humanism. Venetian women’s participation in the elite circle of humanist epistolarity contrasts with more usual forms of women’s production in fifteenth-century Italy, such as the continuation of medieval devotional writing in Florence. Providing a comprehensive account of epistolary writings by fifteenth-century Venetian Neo-Latinists, I will examine the edited letterbooks of Isotta Nogarola, Cassandra Fedele and Laura Cereta and visit archives to uncover manuscript letters. The highly literary humanist letter is often analysed as a vehicle for authorial self-presentation. Given the scarcity of Quattrocento women humanists, their self-presentation may be examined through a gendered lens, focusing on the dynamic between the lone female voice and the male-dominated classical tradition.

This research feeds into the growing interest in the ways in which groups portrayed as subordinate in the classical texts engage with the classical tradition. Bridging Neo-Latin, classical reception, early modern and gender studies, my interdisciplinary project will be impactful for several reasons. The focus on Neo-Latin exchanges with leading male humanists, rather than on better researched vernacular writing, will add to the developing reassessment of early modern women’s role in the highest literary spheres. The examination of fifteenth-century women will broaden our conceptualisation of the humanist relationship to the classics, a narrative from which women continue to be excluded. Finally, an insight into patterns of female engagement with the classical that emerge in the Quattrocentocould facilitate analysis of later women Neo-Latinists.

My PhD is fully funded by the UKRI AHRCLink opens in a new window Doctoral Training Partnership.


Keria: Studia Latina et Graeca · Isotta Nogarola: Elegija v slavo cianskega podeželja · December 2022

Non-specialist audiences:

Pop Matters · The Eternal Rome in Mobster Show Suburra: Blood on RomeLink opens in a new window · March 2022

The Public Domain Review · Reading Like a Roman: Vergilius Vaticanus and the Puzzle of Ancient Book CultureLink opens in a new window · June 2021

3AM Magazine · Retelling the Minotaur Myth for the Age of IsolationLink opens in a new window · November 2020

Sententiae Antiquae · Ancient Greek Abstract ArtLink opens in a new window · November 2020


Institute of Classical Studies Postgraduate Seminar · Unable to function as drama: Reimagining Orestes with Theatre of the Absurd · March 2021

Public Engagement & Impact

Ashmolean Museum · Tour Guide · Oxford · January 2020 – March 2020

Cambridge Latin Play 2018 · Director · Cambridge · September 2018 – November 2018


Slovene Philanthropy · Volunteer Teacher · Ljubljana, Slovenia · May 2021 – October 2022

Bluebridge Education Group · Teaching Assistant · Cambridge · March 2019


University of Oxford · MSt Greek and Latin Languages and Literature · 2019 - 2020 · Distinction

University of Cambridge · BA Classics · 2016 - 2019 · II.i